Construction of a new 13,000 square metre school at Garth Hill College in Bracknell, replacing the existing school building and facilities.

A One School Pathfinder project (part of the Building Schools for the Future Programme), to replace existing school building and facilities, in order to accommodate 1,550 pupils at Garth Hill College in Bracknell.

The existing school remained operational during the construction of the new teaching blocks, after which the school was decanted into the new development and the former building demolished to make way for the completion of the new sports facilities.

Our team challenged the pre-determined contract, managed a disruptive change procedure and dealt with a difficult FF&E process.

The new school needed to be delivered for the start of the 2010 academic year, with the second phase of the works, which included the demolition of the existing buildings and construction of the new sports facilities, needing to be completed by the spring of 2011.

Despite not being appointed until January 2009, our pro-active and collaborative working style enabled the firm to seamlessly join the existing team and play a major role in negotiating the contract with the framework contractor; enabling a start on site in February 2009.

The negotiations included bringing the contract sum within the client’s limited budget and agreeing the process for the installation of the FF&E, AV & ICT as well as the decant from the existing school.

Whilst the works on site commenced on time, it soon became apparent that the client’s FF&E consultant was not performing and would not be capable of delivering the necessary information in the detail required or on time to enable the contractor to successfully co-ordinate with his detailed design. Four months into the contract a new FF&E consultant was appointed and whilst they were able to produce the required information a significant delay had been caused. McBains Cooper, acting as employer’s agent, negotiated with the contractor to ensure that the critical completion date was met ensuring the school still opened in time for the start of the 2010 academic year. This negotiation included the early release of areas to enable the client fit out to commence sooner than had originally been envisaged.

Whilst the contractor bought into the deal to ensure the completion date was maintained, it became clear several months before completion was due that they were struggling on site in several areas, particularly the M&E services. Our team set out and agreed with the contractor the process to complete, snag and handover areas and drove this process hard and brought in in-house expertise to assist this process in terms of architecture, building surveying and M&E engineering.

Practical completion was finally achieved on the agreed date and this enabled the client to finish the FF&E and decant process and have the school open on time in September 2010.

In order to achieve the completion dates it became apparent, during the 12 months rectification period, that the contractor had not carried out all works to the required standard and we were able to call upon our in-house expertise, especially in terms of M&E and structural engineering, to successfully assist in resolving issues which the contractor claimed were not his responsibility.

The school, which opened its doors to pupils in September 2010, was officially opened by HRH Princess Anne in March 2011. The success of the project is borne out in the overall learning environment created and the wide range of facilities available within the school which has resulted in continuing improvement in pupils’ attendance, behaviour and ultimately examination results.

Bracknell Forest Council
Services Provided:
Employer's Agent
£30 million

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