An ambitious brief to clad seven new-build schools in Telford, has confirmed for me the versatility and capability of insulated render in education projects.
Aliva UK supplied nearly 10,000m² of insulated render in a range of colours for Telford Wrekin Council’s initiative to create schools fit for the 21st Century. The project required us to work to a prescribed palette of materials and branding guidelines for main contractor Shepherd Construction. Key to delivering the project on time and on budget was specialist contractor JML.
Insulated render: a no-brainer
The Telford schools' branding guidelines specified facing brick, insulated render or metal cladding. Why choose insulated render over the other two? For me, it was a no-brainer. Aliva’s brief was for bespoke finishes that could be installed quickly over large areas, while meeting the requirement for high-energy efficiency in new-build educational environments. With local authorities working to tight budgets, insulated render is not only a cost effective choice; it is also eco-friendly, easily installed and available in a huge array of colours and textures. It looks great across the whole spectrum of the Telford schools project, and importantly, it allowed the installers to keep to a tight schedule of delivery deadlines.
We recommended TermoK8 Minerale, an insulated render that conforms to the need for a European Class A fire rating and U-Value thermal properties. It starts with an insulation layer of mineral wool, which is fixed to the building with adhesive or mechanical pins. Layered on top of that is the render, which is usually added in two layers to achieve a profile of 6-7mm. Last but not least, the finish is added – anything from a crisp textured facade, to a clay or acrylic brick slips finish.
The insulated render we used on Telford schools has both 30 year and 60 year durability, allowing high system performance over a greater life cycle. The Termok8 Meccanico system is a rail fixed insulated render system that can be used on both lightweight steel frame and masonry structures. It has the added reassurance of BR135 classification, which allows its application over 18m in height.
We hold British Board of Agrement (BBA) certificates for the insulated render itself – giving reassurance on quality and safety. The certification allows the systems to be used on a wide variety of building types, both high and low-rise structures. The system has also been awarded the Fraunhofer Institut fur Bauphysik certification for algae and fungal resistant coatings.
Fresh and inviting for millennial students
The appearance of education buildings is all-important too. Long-gone are the days when students were expected to work in drab seats of learning. The Telford schools will look fresh and inviting for many thousands of them, for years to come.
Stephen Clendenning of architects FaulknerBrowns said: “Using insulated render across all seven schools enabled us to achieve a high quality, contemporary aesthetic, combined with a consistency of performance and detailing. By varying the colours and proportions of the render in each of the schools, we were also able to create a unique appearance for each of the schemes.”
Ercall Wood Technology College – state-of-the-art home to 900 students – is just one of the schools in Telford that is benefiting from stunning insulated render finishes. The others are:
- Burton Borough School, Newport
- Holy Trinity Academy, Priorslee
- Telford Park School, Stirchley
- Telford Priory School, Telford
- Charlton School, Wellington
- Lawley Primary School, Lawley
Ideal for refurbishment too
Insulated render is not just worth considering for new-build projects. There is no doubt that it can also transform existing buildings, and it is an economical choice for local authorities tasked with refurbishing older schools. These may be structurally sound with interior layouts that still work – but urgently need a facelift and reduced energy costs.
Insulated render is one of the most efficient and effective ways of improving a building’s thermal performance, capable of reducing heating costs by as much as 40%. It can be installed quickly during term-time without moving students and it immediately transforms the look of their environment.
It can be designed to suit current or improved building regulation requirements for thermal values of external walls.
Aliva UK’s refurbishment projects for social housing in Salford, Greater Manchester showed that such upgrades don’t just have an impact on the buildings, but also on the residents, who take renewed pride in their homes and the local area. High-rise blocks that had seen better days now have a new lease of life, and so do the local communities.
Whether it is for a new-build or a refurbishment, insulated render is well worth considering for education construction projects.