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Building Products March 2018

EDUCATION NEW SKOOL CONSTRUCTION The education build sector has come on leaps and bounds due to design innovation and offsite construction techniques. Here, Declan McCloskey, director at Western Building Systems, discusses how the early integration of building products can effectively enhance learning when it comes to school, university and college buildings. Modern school buildings are incredibly different to their historical counterparts. Rapid developments in technology mean that hub rooms, Mac suites, ICT labs, biometric devices, IP networks for voice, data and images and much more are becoming the norm when it comes to facilitating everyday learning activities. As such, our education design teams have come up with innovative ways of designing spaces that bring together state-of-the-art building products with leading edge technology and construction techniques for enhanced learning that extends outside the classroom into common areas and the outside landscape. Early design integration We have seen a real shift when it comes to the spec required for modern school design, construction and fit-out. Clients are no longer just looking to instil learning in the classroom – learning 68 BUILDING PRODUCTS | MARCH 2018 opportunities now need to be pervasive throughout the building and, with technology advancing so quickly, a learning infrastructure needs to be provided across the entire campus. Key considerations include: greater wireless possibilities; control of student traffic through carefully considered exit and entrance points and break-out areas; acoustic control and the use of quiet spaces for relaxation and reading as well as the specialist teaching requirements for subjects like science, technology, music and computer science. Beyond integrated white boards, projectors and speaker systems, we now receive requests for classroom furniture with the capability to house integrated computers and tablets, ventilation systems that optimise the use of fresh air to improve learning, glazing systems that enhance natural daylight while reducing glare and electronic window, door and access control systems that provide enhanced security for students. Modern school buildings are so much more than the traditional buildings of old, making use of fully integrated systems to ensure that they are interactive, responsive and stimulating for students. Off-site construction Recent trends in education building have shown modular building techniques to be at an all-time high. But what is it that makes this particular type of build so popular? Modular construction makes


Building Products March 2018
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