Portakabin Group completes building installation phase for £5.6m Primary School contract


Off-site construction specialist, the Portakabin Group, has craned the final modules into position on site at Pyrford Primary School near Woking for a new £5.6 million building to accommodate 480 children.

The project is replacing an existing facility which is beyond repair. It is the first of six schools in the Surrey and Kent region being rebuilt under the Government’s Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) by the Portakabin Group in contracts worth in the region of £28 million.

Each scheme is being designed in line with stringent Department for Education teaching standards to create outstanding learning environments and will be delivered using Yorkon advanced off-site construction solutions.

The structure for the new Pyrford Primary School has been manufactured off site in York using the latest modular technology.  It was craned into position on site in Woking in just seven days during the school holidays.  A large 500-tonne crane was used to lift the steel building modules, weighing up to 20 tonnes, from an adjacent cricket field and over trees.

The use of off-site construction is halving the programme time for completion and occupation ready for the start of the 2016/17 academic year. The original school building will then be demolished.  The approach has avoided any interruption to teaching on this constrained rural site which is immediately adjacent to the existing school.

Kathryn Krynicki, Head Teacher at Pyrford Primary School said, “We were delighted and excited to return from the school holidays to see our new building already in place. This is another key milestone in the project and in the history of the school.  Our current facilities are beyond repair so we are really looking forward to having a brand new, purpose-designed school which will transform the learning environment for our children and our staff.”

Pupils and teachers will benefit from a completely new school, with high levels of natural light and increased access and space for outdoor play and learning.

Designed by architects Surface to Air, the two-storey school will have 16 bright classrooms with dual aspect natural light and a double-height multi-purpose hall.  Two teaching wings are organised around an internal central ‘street’ with atrium light wells. This feature at the heart of the school will provide good passive supervision, informal group learning space and break-out zones.

Externally the building is being finished in a materials palette of brickwork, neutral white render, and panelised metal in white, dark grey and subtle blues to complement the rural surroundings.

The Portakabin Group was announced as preferred bidder for six infant and primary school projects in Surrey and Kent.  The contracts for the Department for Education are worth in the region of £28 million and will be completed by winter 2017.

For further information about Yorkon off-site building solutions from the Portakabin Group for primary and secondary education, call 0845 2000 123, email info@yorkon.co.uk or visit www.yorkon.co.uk.


Area Sq to design and fit-out Fuze HQ function for UK operation

Following a three-way pitch, Fuze, a fast-growing provider of cloud-based business communications, has selected Area Sq to design and fit out its new UK headquarters.

The new office project signals a move by Fuze to build on its rapid growth by expanding its UK and European operation. The UK office will be a blueprint for all future Fuze workspaces, including its five offices across Europe and US operation in Boston and will reflect the company ethos of supporting new, innovative ways of working.

Area Sq, the commercial interior design and fit-out specialists, will transform the 7,500 sq ft floor plate into an agile-working space that will house up to 70 people. The new Reading HQ will house a full UK business operation, acting as a base for developers, sales and pre-sales teams, technical consultants and research and development staff, among others.

The young and forward-thinking business tasked Area Sq with creating a space that aligns closely with the Fuze technology offering – a workspace that enables smarter, better, more simple ways of communicating and collaborating, and caters to all the needs of Fuze’s eclectic mix of employees.
The collaborative workspace will feature an array of areas, carefully designed to assist the diverse spectrum of work-based activities. Divided into desk-based, desk-sharing, and collaborative non-desk working environments, the office will also boast an impressive boardroom and an open breakout area. The workspace will encourage teams to unite, converse, share ideas and embark on exciting new projects in a comfortable, productive and creative environment.

Tasked with the challenge of making the most out of the real estate and maximising the effectiveness of the square footage, Area Sq will also have to ensure that the space reflects the brand’s identity and culture. Colours from the company logo will be carefully integrated into the design in order to mirror the brand image. The fresh open space resembles a New York loft-style premises; therefore the materials chosen will complement the building’s exposed surfaces, as well as visually communicate the ‘look’ and ‘feel’ of the brand.

Sharon Francis, Head of Office Experience at Fuze, said: “The way people want to work is changing and the traditional office is no longer relevant to today’s workforce. Office experiences need to be created that are built around the employees, creating flexible work spaces that build teams, spark conversations and create the best ideas.

“Area Sq clearly demonstrated a deep-seated understanding about Fuze and our own vision for the new office concept. The presentation they delivered matched and reiterated our key objectives and, what’s more, it was clear the team had really got under the skin of the brand. Fuze is a young company and, ultimately, the quality of design in their impressive portfolio reassured us that Area Sq would create a work environment that caters for a younger, more tech-savvy generation.

“We’re confident that their passion, experience and expertise in transforming offices into places where people actually want to be will help us create an environment that will best support our people.”

“We are delighted to be trusted with such an exciting project,” said Gary Chandler, MD of Area Sq Regions. “Fuze recognise that a communication shift is occurring in the business landscape. Similarly, Area Sq have identified a reform in the way employees converse and interact in the workplace. As such, we possess a shared mind-set about the nature of communication, and the way technology and space impacts our working relationships – and this insight will inform the design of the space.”


Foremans awarded £1.6M contract to use recycled building modules to expand top secondary school


Foremans Relocatable Building Systems, a member of the Portakabin Group and the UK’s largest supplier of refurbished Portakabin buildings, has been awarded a £1.6 million contract to build a purpose-designed sixth form centre at Higham Lane School in Nuneaton.

Higham Lane is the joint highest-performing state-funded secondary school in Warwickshire, and has performed within the top 100 of all secondary schools in England.  The new building, which is now under construction by Foremans, will allow the school to provide a high quality, direct, post-16 progression route for its students for the first time, maintaining standards and outcomes far above national levels.

The sixth form centre will be built by Foremans using 52 recycled and refurbished steel-framed modules. The two-storey building will be delivered in less than six months from receipt of order to be open in time for the school’s first intake of sixth form students in September this year. Cranage of the refurbished modular structure is being timed for the school holidays to minimise any disruption to teaching.

This is Foremans’ 11th school project with education construction consultants Surveyors to Education who are designers and contract administrators for the scheme.

The building will feature large amounts of glazing for a high level of natural light, with brick cladding to complement neighbouring facilities, and areas of bright red rainscreen cladding to reflect the school’s colours.

Commenting on the project, Ben Elliott, Director of Corporate Services at Higham Lane School said, “There is a shortage of quality sixth form provision in our area and feedback from students has indicated a strong preference to stay on and study for A-levels at Higham Lane School.”

“The Foremans pre-owned approach offers us significant benefits – it is very cost effective and the building will look brand new once it is completed. It is giving us more certainty to have the new sixth form up and running by September because the majority of fitting out takes place off site. Knowing that Foremans is a member of the Portakabin Group gave us even greater peace of mind along with their excellent relationship with Surveyors to Education.”

Martin Hier, Director at Surveyors to Education said, “The school wants this to be a statement building which will also blend in well with existing facilities. It is designed to meet the specific requirements of sixth form learning, which includes teaching spaces to accommodate smaller groups.”

“We have a strong and long-standing relationship with the Foremans team and enjoy pushing the boundaries on each new education scheme we collaborate on. We take a standard building solution and enhance it to meet the school’s requirements – whether that is for aesthetics or as here, specific classroom sizes.”

“We would definitely recommend recycled modular buildings to other schools and colleges. The approach is very sustainable because we are re-using an existing building structure – which is still in perfect condition, and at the same time we can reduce lead times and carbon emissions. Foremans modular buildings are also really flexible so layouts can be reconfigured to meet changing local needs.”

The Higham Lane sixth form centre will accommodate up to 300 16-19 year-old students and will have 17 seminar rooms, an art room, two science laboratories, and common room with café area.

Foremans’ 10 previous projects with Surveyors to Education have included a two-storey school complex at Billingbrook School in Northampton and a single-storey community college building with five classrooms and an IT hub at Winstanley College in Wigan.

For further information about refurbished Portakabin buildings, visit www.foremansbuildings.co.uk, email info@foremansbuildings.co.uk, or call 01964 544344.





Trailflex improves grip for steep golf club path

Trailflex, the highly flexible porous paving system from Langford Direct Ltd., has recently been specified at Heysham Golf Course to improve safety for its members.

The Lancashire golf club worked with Langford Direct Ltd. to apply the material to an extremely steep embankment leading to the club’s driving range, which is regularly used by its members on a daily basis.

Created using recycled car tyres, Trailflex proved to be the ideal solution for the golf club’s requirements to stabilise a steep pathway, adding extra grip for pedestrians and golf trolleys.

Golf Course Manager, David Hutchinson, commented, “The main pathway leading to the driving range is set on a very steep slope and can be very slippery and unstable, especially when wet. Trailflex was the most suitable material to prevent this as the rubber surface creates a sturdy and comfortable surface to walk on.”

He continued, “It was important to us that the material was of a specific thickness to stabilise the ground, and improve the grip of the surface for our members, especially those with golf trolleys. Having this new surface has made the walkway much safer and more stable and I would definitely recommend Trailflex for any new scheme whatever the requirements.”

Trailflex has proved to be an ideal paving solution for a wide range of public applications due to its highly porous and flexible qualities. The rubber and stone mix material is intelligently designed to flex to 90° without damaging the performance or appearance of the surface and is particularly suitable for applications to public footpaths, cycle routes and car parks where tree root intrusion is present. Trailflex will simply adapt to the contours of the terrain and will flex to allow the movement of the roots in search of moisture, whilst maintaining a solid and attractive surface.

The porous material is also fully SUDS compliant with the ability to accept up to 50,000 litres of water per square metre per hour. As a result, Trailflex guarantees the fast and efficient drainage of rainwater, to prevent excessive surface water build up. The Trailflex system has full 360° attenuation, providing storm water management that allows rainwater to percolate naturally back to the water table to recharge ground water levels. The tight rubber and stone mix used to create Trailflex requires virtually no maintenance and is clog free to ensure the drainage system remains fully efficient.

Trailflex is a one-part cold pour system and can be laid extremely quickly on new or existing landscapes using minimal equipment. This is particularly beneficial for sites that prohibit heavy machinery or must preserve the original terrain. Once applied surfaces and areas can be reopened and used within 16 hours to keep public and business disruptions to a minimum.

Further information on Trailflex is available from Langford Direct Ltd. on 0161 2121617, by emailing: info@trailflex.co.uk or by visiting the company’s website at www.trailflex.co.uk


Novus helps write new chapter for former Town Hall

Property maintenance specialist, Novus Property Solutions, has recently completed work converting a Grade II* listed former town hall into a modern academy building in Stoke-on-Trent.

The grant-aided refurbishment project, which involved a complete reimagining of the space to turn the former town hall into a new sixth form centre for Haywood Academy, was overseen by a team from Novus’ Stoke office over approximately 16 weeks.

Located in the heart of the Burslem conservation area, all works had to be carried out to a conservation standard and were closely monitored throughout the process by Stoke-On-Trent City Council’s conservation officers. Historic repairs, restoration and refurbishment, including works to the timber sash windows, fabric repairs and stone work repairs were carried out in order to preserve the character of the building.

While the exterior was carefully restored and preserved, the interior of the former town hall has been refitted to create a space perfectly suited to a modern academy. The team installed a new infill floor to the existing mezzanine, glass partitioning, new internal walls, sanitaryware appliances and new light fittings as part of the project.

Novus bid manager, Matt Harnett, said: “Working around the constraints of a listed building is challenging at the best of times, but when you add a conservation area into the mix, the parameters become even tighter. The team like a challenge and all worked hard to balance the restoration of the original building around the installation of new elements of the design to create the new academy building, which is now light and welcoming.”

For more information about Novus Property Solutions please visit www.novussolutions.co.uk


Portakabin Hire announces £22M investment in new fleet


Portakabin Hire has announced a £22 million investment in new modular buildings available for hire. This is in response to the rising demand for accommodation for interim use in both the commercial and public sectors and will make the Group’s hire fleet among the newest in the UK. It will also give customers the benefit of even shorter lead times.

The £10 million first phase of the investment has already been completed and included £3 million for new double classrooms which are already helping schools and LEAs to address the urgent shortfall in teaching accommodation for primary education across the UK. The second phase of new modular buildings will be manufactured and in stock before the end of this year.

Commenting on the initiative, Robert Snook, Director and General Manager of Portakabin Hire said, “We have ambitious plans to grow the business and our continued investment in new buildings is central to that and will help us meet the increased demand for interim accommodation solutions across the UK.”

“This latest investment will enable us to offer an even better quality hire fleet that is the most modern in the UK. Our customers will also benefit from faster lead times for buildings for short-term use and with no front loading of costs to pay for manufacturing. We offer a flat rate hire cost so our customers have no capital outlay, allowing buildings to be funded cost effectively out of revenue budgets.”

In addition to the fleet expansion, Portakabin has an ongoing programme of investment in its Hire Centre estate. This will enable it to service the needs of local organisations and businesses more effectively, and the requirements of major projects nationwide. New initiatives include a new Hire Centre in Coventry, the relocation of the Crawley Hire Centre to a much larger site at Lingfield as well as new covered workshops and stores buildings in Merseyside and in Oldham.

With the widest Hire and Visitor Centre network in the UK, Portakabin Hire is well placed to meet the most challenging timescales – 80 per cent of its buildings are delivered within 14 days and some within just 24 hours.

The business also commits to visiting every customer within 24 hours of initial contact if requested, to providing a 24-hour service, seven days a week and to completing every project on time and on budget.

Portakabin Hire can deliver both specially-designed projects and standardised accommodation solutions, on sites with restricted or difficult access, with much less disruption than site-based construction and with less impact on the environment. Applications are diverse and include open plan office accommodation, security buildings, canteens, training suites, schools, shower and changing rooms, health clinics and decant ward buildings.

These facilities can be supplied and installed just days from receipt of order complete with energy-efficient comfort heating and cooling, heat recovery ventilation, specialist furniture and fittings, security and fire prevention systems, integrated data communications, access ramps, and entrance canopies. Modular buildings can also be clad, and easily extended, reconfigured or relocated to meet an organisation’s changing needs.

For further information about modular buildings for interim and emergency applications, visit www.portanews.co.uk, email information@portakabin.co.uk or call 0845 401 0010.




Evolution5 expands operations in London with new office opening


Construction consultancy Evolution5 has announced the opening of its first office in London as part of its continued expansion and following an increase in new business and opportunities in the capital.

Evolution5 offers a range of construction consultancy services, including project management, construction management and cost management to clients in both public and commercial sectors. The new office, which is centrally located near Kings Cross, is a key milestone for the business and a reflection of the growth of its operations in the city and of the strengthening London property sector.

Commenting on the launch, Jamie Barrett, Managing Director of Evolution5, said, “The new office will allow us to offer the highest possible service standards for our London-based property and construction clients. The increase in our work within London has resulted in the opportunity for us to create a permanent base right in the heart of the strategically important and vibrant capital.”

“We have ambitious plans to grow the business and with the addition of this second office, we hope we will continue to exceed our clients’ expectations offering flexible, responsive and innovative construction consultancy services both in London and across the South East from our Hampshire head office.”

“We are very proud of just how far Evolution5 has come since the consultancy was established in 2007 at the start of the deepest recession in recent history. We aim to offer exceptional customer service, build trust through transparent business practices and apply a genuinely ‘can do’ attitude based on our experience and commitment to the continuous development of our teams. We are very excited about the future. Our new office is a significant move and we look forward to continuing our growth and assisting our valued and expanding portfolio of property and construction clients.”

The new London office will be led by Gary Jacobs, Director – London.

The opening was celebrated at an event in the iconic St Pancras Clock Tower – one of London’s most distinctive landmarks – which gave a gathering of leading property and construction professionals the opportunity to experience the historic private chambers inside George Gilbert Scott’s acclaimed former Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras.

The success of Evolution5’s ethos is reflected in its high levels of repeat business and customer satisfaction. More than 80 per cent of its business in the last 12 months has been from past customers. Customer satisfaction scores of 100 per cent were achieved in the last year and of 99.4 per cent in the past seven years. The consultancy’s drive for continuous improvement has also resulted in year-on-year turnover growth which now stands at 970 per cent since 2007.

Recent projects in London have included the extensive redevelopment of The John Roan School and a number of other education schemes for the London Borough of Greenwich; numerous building surveying commissions; project auditing reviews for Transport for London, and two project management schemes for Standard Chartered Bank.

For more information about project management, cost management and construction management services from Evolution5, see www.evolution5.co.uk or email enquiries@evolution5.co.uk.


Castle applies Kemperol to Turret Library roof


Cold liquid-applied waterproofing specialist, Kemper System, has helped to protect books and interior finishes at the historic Bolton School following a refurbishment of the Turret Library Roof.

Roofing contractor, Castle Roofing Consultants, carried out the roof refurbishment following the failure of the previous waterproofing membrane, which had been used to overlay the original asphalt roof less than a decade earlier. Subsequent water ingress had started to cause staining on the library ceiling and degradation of interior finishes.

The affected area of roof sits above the main entrance to the school’s neo-gothic red sandstone quadrangle, with a turret on each corner and a flag pole in the centre. Castle Roofing used Kemper System’s Kemperol V210 cold applied waterproofing system to overlay the existing roof and provide a suitable colour match to the lead flashings of the traditional building.

Castle Roofing stripped out the existing lead flashings on all four sides of the 100m2 roof area and ground out a 40mm deep chase on each of the four sandstone walls that form the perimeter of the Turret Library roof.

The installation team then cleaned the existing substrate and carried out patch repairs where the substrate was blistered or water ingress had occurred before applying Kemper System’s D Primer.

The Kemperol V210 was then applied to the roof in a single process involving the waterproofing membrane, followed by a 165g flexible reinforcement fleece and further resin to ensure full saturation of the fleece before the system was allowed to cure.

The new waterproofing system was dressed to the full roof deck and into the chases, along with the upstands, flag pole plinth and the plinth for the roofline. The chases were then resealed using sand and cement to ensure a completely seamless, monolithic waterproof membrane that will deliver a BBA-accredited 25-year service life.

Comments Ian Clarke, head of estates at Bolton School: “Castle Roofing has successfully used the Kemperol V210 system to waterproof the Turret Library roof and protect its interiors in a project that took just one week to complete during the half term break.

“The scheme will provide a robust, long-term solution for the roof while ensuring that there is no aesthetic impact on the fabric of our beautiful building.”


Wondertex launch new look drylining range

Wondertex the internal finishing brand from the Instarmac Group, is proud to announce the launch of Wondertex prem filler and Wondertex prem finish, their new look drylining range.

Following the successful launch of Wondertex prem fill & finish in the spring, they have continued with their rebrand and would like to introduce the next exciting additions.

New plasterboard joint filler, prem filler, formerly known as Joint Filler, has an improved formulation, new striking look and long life bag. Extensive market research was used to develop the product for the professional dryliner.

The product now boasts the following features:

  • Improved drying time for early finish coat application
  • Faster setting for quicker job completion
  • Harder when set for excellent durability
  • Enhanced adhesion to tapes and plasterboards for robust joints
  • A softer more workable density and smoother texture for outstanding product application
  • 60-90 minute working time

prem filler is available in 12.5kg bags nationwide and may be used for the bedding and filling of tapes, external metal angles and corner tapes, as well for repair work.

The renowned Wondertex Joint Finish has been given a makeover too, now known as prem finish. This product’s formulation has not changed, it is still the same great product – looking more impressive!

Suitable for the finishing of all plasterboard joints and specially developed for hand and machine jointing, prem finish is available in 25kg bags.

Both new bags offer greater protection and ensure complete freshness due to the addition of a polyethylene liner layer, which reduces moisture ingress.

A choice of 3 jointing tapes complete the Wondertex drylining range. There’s an everyday standard white, a tough metal angle tape and a time-saving self adhesive. All 3 are compatible for use with both prem filler and prem finish.

For further product information please call 01827 871871 or email wondertex@instarmac.co.uk. To be kept up-to-date with all Wondertex announcements visit www.wondertex.co.uk and register your details.



Reading Uni creates new comfort zone for students with Design & Contract Furniture

Reading University Students’ Union (RUSU) has worked with bespoke furniture suppliers, Design & Contract Furniture to modernise the recently completed expansion of two of the university’s social hotspots.

Located at the Whiteknights campus, the largest of the university’s three sites, the Maluco Lounge has joined the RUSU Mojo’s Bar and Mondial Café to increase capacity by 30% as part of a two year redevelopment programme for the students’ union.

The expansion of the building has increased the capacity to 1000 which required additional seating and tables from Design & Contracts to accommodate the larger crowds.

Richard Lines, Business Development Manager at RUSU commented, “Design & Contract Furniture is definitely our preferred supplier when it comes to requiring new furniture. Having used many of their products before, we are confident with the quality and reliability of their furniture which secured our decision to approach them for the expansion of our students’ union.”

Design & Contracts were asked by the RUSU to suggest a range of furniture for the new extension, with many of the company’s products already in place in the bar and café. Working with the RUSU committee, guided by Richard Lines, Design & Contracts supplied a range of colourful furniture to modernise the look of the entire students’ union, including sofas, chairs, barstools and dining tables for a variety of uses across the bar and café.

A particularly popular choice amongst the furniture supplied were seven Colin tub chairs in red and green, and purple and green Skai Sotega faux leather. These not only add an element of vibrant colour to the room but provide a relaxing and comfortable seating alternative to armchairs or sofas for socialising students as they are designed specifically in a natural lounging seating position.

Design & Contracts also supplied a range of Skai Sotega faux leather sofas and arm chairs for the extension. Amongst these were six Darcy high-back double sofas in red which are used to break up sight lines and offer private seating or dining area for students.

Maintaining the colourful theme of the extension, a range of red and purple Quadra sofas and arm chairs are used throughout the new café in a ‘ying-yang’ arrangement, as well as 13 cube and round pouffes to offer a wide variety of seating options for large groups of students to socialise together, or separate into smaller groups.

The extension also offers an additional, separate dining area with 14 brand new dining and poseur tables with stylish Altofina concrete style laminate tops. These are accompanied by over 80 Trend side café chairs and bar stools in a light Zebrano finish from Pedrali, a well-establish Italian furniture designer.

The wide variety of furniture available at the RUSU new café ensures that students are offered an enjoyable and relaxing experience whether they are there to socialise with friends over a drink or lunch, or catch up on their studies in a more comfortable atmosphere than the university library.

As with all of Design & Contracts products, the furniture supplied to the RUSU was personalised to the brief put forward by the students’ committee.

Working with bars, cafes, restaurants and other hospitality businesses, Design & Contracts work directly with its customers to source high-quality and reliable bespoke furniture to meet the requirements of individual projects.

Further information on Design & Contract Furniture is available from the company on 01344 628 108, by emailing: sales@designcontracts.com or by visiting the company’s website at www.designcontracts.com