Cardiff West Community High School replaces two ageing education establishments with inspiring learning facilities for secondary-school and college students, providing a valuable hub for the local community. The three new buildings are structured around a public plaza, encouraging social integration in a welcoming communal space. The client’s aim was to fulfil the increasing demand for school space while maximising value for money, requiring a cost-effective solution that could be delivered to time and budget whilst meeting target occupant needs. The new vibrant
community school consists of three blocks: the main building, a post-16 facility and a multi-purpose sports hall. These two-storey buildings are closely linked to create a ‘one-school’ ethos.
Designed to achieve BREAAM Excellent rating – £31 million funding from Cardiff Council and the Welsh government has enabled the development of a range of premium learning areas, including a science demonstration laboratory, maths and English break-out zones, computer suites, music practice rooms, a tiered-seating hall and a library with reading pods.
DESIGN & VISION
Offering external curriculum opportunities through integrating all users’ needs – a total of 13,654m2 floor space was designed in consultation with the school’s students and staff, as well as the local community. The buildings were also designed for ultimate climate protection, natural light and ventilation, with an open-plan structure, wide corridors and large windows. Offering superior fire-resistance, optimal acoustics and impact performance, the highly durable corridors are designed for large groups of people.
EOS designed and supplied a steel framing infill system (SFS) with parapets for the three buildings, as well as 250mm deep studs, which are being increasingly specified for educational facilities. The studs enable flat external sheathing and a fully enveloped structural frame, allowing a secure weather seal. The fully enveloped columns also have no internal drylining returns that could be damaged or present health and safety risks. EOS designed the system to offer strong construction design management (CDM) considerations.
Due to the architectural aesthetic, some structural cross bracing was concealed in the SFS zone. To overcome this, EOS employed a cross bracing avoidance method. Using BIM technology, EOS assessed the precise position of the bracing, then effected a notch detail and accurately sized steel angles to redress the cut SFS.
Inflexible term dates made it vital that the installation was completed by the precise deadline. EOS phased the delivery of the steel framing system, providing a pre-engineered system to allow rapid installation.
To ensure quality standards throughout the process, EOS provided onsite technical assistance and inspections, as well as training and toolbox talks, maintaining a high level of skills across all contractors. Cardiff West Community High School was delivered on time and within budget.