Schools are perfectly placed to put environmental policies

into practice Comment by RICHARD AYLEN, Technical Manager, Junckers Ltd

In July the UK Government announced a £4.8bn increase in school funding over a three-year period from 2021. For 2020-21 a further £1bn will be spent on building refurbishments and upgrades in fifty schools - welcome news in a sector that has been underfunded for many years. In times of crisis it is perhaps easy to lose

sight of long term objectives and if we are about to embark on increased construction and refurbishment activity in the education sector, it is important to be sure that this happens in the most sustainable way with buildings designed to the highest environmental and technical standards. One of the Government’s policies is to achieve net zero carbon buildings and this puts pressure on manufacturers, designers and construction companies to work in new ways - something that does not always come easily. The education sector is perfectly positioned to lead the way in putting

environmental policies into practice. Schools are fully integrated into their local communities; they have a strong national voice and are in the enviable position of directly influencing the next generation of

decision makers. Schools can take the lead by making environmentally sound decisions

when choosing building materials, making decisions about energy use, waste and sustainability. There is an opportunity to inform and involve students in the environmental issues that are being considered during the design process of their own new school/extension/refurbishment. The task may appear intimidating, but architects are now actively engaging low carbon and environmentally sound building design. The Architects Declare and RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge campaigns are testament to this. To illustrate how this may work in practice I can provide an example

from my own industry - manufacture of solid hardwood sports and activity floors. Solid hardwood is a sustainable, low carbon product that places virtually no burden upon landfill. The electricity for our factory is generated from wood waste arising from production so we make no demands upon the local national grid, in fact, we supply it with the surplus we generate. For schools looking for a new sports hall floor the technical standards are

clearly defined by the ESFA. The floor must comply with EN 14904 category A3 or A4, a “sprung” floor by common definition. This applies to any floor used part or full time for PE, dance, drama and sports and is mandatory. You can no longer have vinyl glued to screed as your main sports hall floor surface! To meet the Government’s new funding requirements, materials,

including flooring, for new buildings and refurbishments must meet environmental targets. There are a number of ways to assess the product’s credentials. Look for EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations), which focuses upon embodied and operational carbon; FSC® and PEFC™ certification to show the timber is responsibly sourced, and certification to prove the product contributes to clean and safe indoor environment. By specifying correctly, your school will be part of a new standard, and part of a more sustainable future.


riton Construction has secured a contract through competitive tender to provide a £1.95

million extension to allow Bolton Muslim Girls School to increase its intake capacity. The best performing school in the district

announced that it plans to take an extra 150 pupils, raising its capacity to 750 over the next five years. It secured planning consent in December 2019 for the extension which includes the redevelopment of two floors in an adjacent mill building on Swan Lane. It will enable the school to add design and technology, domestic sciences and drama to its curriculum. Working alongside AA Projects Ltd, which is

undertaking Project Management, Contract Administration, Cost Consultancy and Principal Designer roles, Triton Construction is currently on site converting the top two floors of the mill building to provide 8,600 sq ft of new classroom space with a communal hall and toilet block. A new plant room will be situated on the upper floor. The brief also includes the construction of a four-storey steel framed stair and lift core to provide access to the new levels. Paul Halloran, Director at Triton Construction

said, “We are pleased to secure this contract to help improve facilities in line with the school’s plans to increase intake capacity. The ground and first floors of the mill building have existing business tenants and so we will continue to work within a live environment, through the start of the academic year until


planned handover in late 2020. We are collaborating with all parties on a continued basis to apply value engineering at all stages in the project.”

u September 2020

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