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Sector: Education
Service: Cost Consultancy | Project Management | Principal Designers

Fulfilling a vision to rebuild St Bonaventures Primary School 

The Governors of St Bonaventure’s school had a vision to rebuild the whole of the existing 1960’s school which was no longer fit for purpose both in design and condition. The school had been designed for 210 pupils when first constructed and had since been extended, largely by the introduction of prefabricated classrooms, to accommodate 420 pupils. A scheme was developed in the early part of the new century which would see the school rebuilt in phases as the school continued to operate on a very restricted site and funding was achieved to begin. A planning application was approved for the whole scheme, and two initial phases constructed.

The challenge

The financial landscape changed and the level of funding available was significantly reduced. The Board of Governors secured funding in 2012 to complete the replacement of the existing school buildings however they obtained significantly less than was required to complete the original design. It was therefore necessary to undertake a complete re-evaluation of the design to allow completion of the works within the available budget which required the overall anticipated cost be reduced by over 20%.

The solution 

As Project Managers and Cost Consultants Hookway led the re-evaluation and value engineering of the proposals and helped produce an affordable design. To achieve this the practice liaised with the Governors and the design team to re-evaluate the brief to focus the budget on the essential requirements. One particular element was the removal of the steel frame and the construction with load bearing blockwork. We evaluated and recommended that a Design and Build contract was the most effective contract solution. We then prepared and issued contracts under the JCT Design & Build Contract for this work. We provided detailed reports on the Contractor’s Proposals and assessed alternative contractor’s proposals provided at tender stage. We then helped develop a strategy for procurement which saw an enabling works contract for demolition being implemented whilst Phase 1 of the rebuild was tendered. Thus keeping the overall scheme on programme.

The second phase was developed whilst Phase 1 was under construction, this required carefully monitoring of both the Phase 1 contract costs and the proposals for Phase 2 to ensure that the works remained on budget.

Rigorous cost evaluation of the design proposals led to Phase 2 being constructed with a timber frame, as the cost profiles no longer favored blockwork. Procurement of Phase 2 was developed with a twin strategy, the first to negotiate the second phase with the on-site contractor whilst at the same time developing a traditional tender package. In the event the contract was awarded to the Phase 1 contractor as an extension to the original contract.

The result 

The works were completed on time and on budget thanks in no small part to the flexibility and rigor of the cost management. 

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“Tom's advice and guidance, were as usual exemplary and he helped trouble-shoot any practical problems that arose to get the work completed on time and in budget. ”

“The new building has been open for over a year and teachers and pupils are still excited about it. It is so well designed in terms of light, space and ventilation that it is a joy to work in. The projecting roof at each end creates fantastic covered play space.”

“We were excited to hear that we had secured the necessary funds to refurbish our tired building and, with the excellent support of Hookway, we now have a school that is fit for the twenty-first century! ”