Sep 25, 2017 Last Updated 11:00 PM, Sep 10, 2017

Education facility turns a corner

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More space for students and staff at Beths Grammar School in Bexley, South East London - recent winners of the London Evening Standard Academic Excellence Award - has been innovatively created, thanks to a new and contemporary £1.1m renovation project delivered by Horizon Construction and Ingleton Wood LLP architects.

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The new facilities include a brand new and ultra-modern reception with full height glazing, which uses aluminium solar shading fixed to external structural steel to reduce solar gain. The solar shade system was designed and manufactured by Dales Fabrications Limited using its brand new 260mm elliptical extruded blade. The Shadex 260 helped keep build costs down since it only required supports at 5m centres. It was specified in combination with a low maintenance curved Aluminium Fascia Soffit and Meridian wall coping system, both manufactured by Dales.

The development of the new entrance and administration centre required the demolition of the existing caretaker’s house and relocation of the vehicular access with the provision of new visitor parking. The new entrance block is single storey, with an enhanced raised roof line to the front reception and full height glazed curtain walling to provide a much improved focal point for the school’s main entrance.

With such a large expanse of glass it was important to keep solar gain to a minimum and architects, Ingleton Wood LLP, chose Dales 260 Shadex solar shade blade because it is self supporting up to 5m centres – making it ideal for the apex of the very large over-hanging canopy above the new main entrance. The largest span unsupported was 4.8m.

Andrew Marchant, Building Surveyor at Ingleton Wood LLP, said: “We assisted the school in securing £1.1m of funding from the Education Funding Agency (EFA) prior to providing a multidisciplinary service from inception through to completion, and we are absolutely thrilled with the result. Not only have we helped to create additional space at Beths Grammar School to accommodate more students, but through creative design we’ve constructed a centralised hub for the administrative support and senior management team. In addition, the new main entrance and reception correct the safeguarding issues that surrounded the location and accessibility of the existing school reception.”

Steve Hart, Senior Contracts Manager at Horizon Construction – the main contractor on the project – comments: “We have worked successfully with Dales Fabrications and Ingleton Wood LLP on this project and we’re very pleased with the result.”

Equally delighted with the outcome is Andy Dyer, Facilities Manager at Beths Grammar School. He said: “I’m very pleased with the designer’s interpretation of the school’s design brief from the outset and the management of the project throughout. The design is very appealing and creates a striking impression on all callers to the site. The detailing of the frontage with tall glass is particularly pleasing and creates the idea of a voluminous and welcoming area for the Reception Foyer while sitting on a small footprint.

“Staff and students alike have passed numerous comments on the design, layout and ease of use of the building, and the improved service being offered with the grouping of staff into one space. Visitors have also been very complementary about the design saying it creates an air of professionalism and is a positive departure from the traditional reception area very often found in schools.”

Dales Fabrications designed and manufactured the aluminium Solar Shades using the Dales Shadex 260 blade, as well as the low maintenance aluminium Fascia Soffits and Meridian Wall Coping system around the roof edge. The Aluminium Fascia Soffit was manufactured to a true curve above the entrance, for an all-important finishing touch to the roof edge. Dales products were expertly fitted to a high quality standard by their Preferred Fixers: Specialised Fixings of Ipswich. All the aluminium products were given an architectural polyester powder coating in RAL 7011 Matt.

Curved complexity

Karl Prosser, Managing Director at Dales Fabrications, said: “We are pleased to have provided a sustainable aluminium eaves solution to the aesthetically impressive new facility at the school, using our new elliptical 260mm blades over the entrance. We designed the blade so that it only requires supports at 5m centres and are pleased that this installation makes use of that benefit.

“We are equally pleased that the solar shades were combined with our Aluminium Fascia Soffit and Meridian wall copings system to give a one stop shop for the eaves area. We were particularly pleased and grateful for the kind assistance that Specialised Fixings and in particular, their general manager, Rob McTiernan gave us with the project as it progressed. We are delighted once again to be part of a construction team that provided another school’s project on time and on budget.”

Robert McTiernan, General Manager of Specialised Fixings, Ipswich – the company that worked closely alongside Dales Fabrications to install bespoke fittings at Beths Grammar School – said: “It’s always a pleasure to work with the team at Dales Fabrications on projects such as this.

“Dales bespoke products have certainly delivered the ‘wow’ factor for the school’s brand new reception building. It looks fantastic! And although this particular project proved to be quite challenging, given the complexities of the curved fascia detail, Dales strived to offer a first class customer support service at each and every stage of the project.”

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