JUNE 2018 | BUILDING PRODUCTS 55
construction of the new facilities. The off-site
approach avoided any interruptions to teaching
and the children, despite the site constraints. 28
steel-framed modules were installed in just four
days and McAvoy restricted working times to
maintain access and accommodate the children’s
arrival at and departure from school.
Designing for special education needs
As West Hill is a school for children with special
needs and located near the M25 motorway
network and under a flight path, the building
specification demanded outstanding acoustics.
McAvoy developed a twin modular wall system
and a specially-designed off-site roof solution to
achieve the enhanced acoustics. The building was
The client perspective
Giorgia diSarno, project manager at Surrey
County Council, said: “On this project, offsite
construction allowed us to develop a
bespoke building with the benefits of better
quality control in a factory environment.
It was essential to reduce time on-site to
avoid disruption to the school. A shorter
construction period on-site is hugely
beneficial to any school but particularly to
special needs children.
“The finished building is great and was
designed according to the special needs
nature of the school. Classrooms are light,
airy and welcoming.”
Judy Nettleton, head teacher at West Hill
School, said: “The off-site solution generated
massive time savings which were invaluable
from an educational perspective.”
also required to be mechanically ventilated and
this equipment had to meet the noise sensitivities
of the children.
Other design features of the building to address
the needs of learning and additional needs included:
• Wider corridors to help children with mobility
or balance issues.
• Hygiene rooms equipped with a hoist to assist
children in wheelchairs.
• Provision for hoists in two classrooms and
for further hoists to be installed around the
• Ease of access between the new building and
the existing facilities, and to the external
The building has created a covered and
controlled link between the main building and
the existing teaching block, and a new courtyard
provides a secure play area where a sensory garden
will be developed.
There is tremendous
and the latest digital