Major works completed at Bildeston Primary School

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New Bildeston Primary School Barry Taylor of Vertas, headteacher Lynne Golding, Scott Battiste of SEH French, Jason Walton of Concertus and Bob Page of SEH French
Barry Taylor of Vertas, headteacher Lynne Golding, Scott Battiste of SEH French, Jason Walton of Concertus and Bob Page of SEH French

Over the last 12 months, Bildeston Primary School has been transformed into a bright, modern-looking school for students.

The school has had its roof renewed which included stripping back the existing roof, new cut to falls insulation and new roof lights. The removal of a tank room in part also improved the external look of the school.

The roof is now covered by an extensive warranty which will give the school peace of mind over the coming years. These works were undertaken by Cambridge Flat Roofing and designed by Concertus Design and Property Consultants Ltd.

Suffolk-based facilities management group Vertas acted as property advisors, steering the school through the design stages, helping resolve concerns around traffic in and around the school, liaising with the school around Covid-19 restrictions, and working with Concertus on funding and budget management.

Opening of new-look school buildings at Bildeston Primary School in Suffolk

The scheme explored the feasibility of utilising additional funding sources through the Salix Energy Efficiency Fund which is available to schools.

With time being precious everything was undertaken while the school was open and operational. The site team kept in daily contact with school staff to advise of work areas etc and this worked well with no major difficulties.

On completion of the roof and a short break, it was time to start the external cladding and new windows. Starting in early June SEH French and Concertus resumed works after ensuring all suppliers were able to provide their services due to the COVID 19 pandemic, primarily windows as without these we were unable to start.

The works consisted of removal of existing cladding and replacing with new HardiePlank (Fibre Cement Board) giving a cedar effect finish, along with insulation to the existing timber frame structure and fire breaks as requested by Building Control. Windows and all external doors were removed and replaced including the curtain walling to the hall, replaced with new Double-Glazed units, improved access doors and locking systems.

Lynne Golding, Head Teacher at the school said “It was after an energy review by Concertus in Spring 2017, that we were told that 80-85% of our energy was seeping out of the building through the roof, walls and windows. It was then that we became aware of just how much of an issue energy loss was.

In 2018, when the school celebrated its 50th birthday, we were offered the possibility of becoming a pilot scheme to show how our 1950’s built building could be refurbished to enhance its efficiency and appeal. This became a project in two halves.

The enw-look Bildeston Primary School in Suffolk

Initially, we were to have the roof renovated and this project proved to have less impact day to day on school life, since by its very nature it took place mostly on top of the building. The most recent works did have more impact on the daily life of the school, but with regular meetings and good communication, plus a dedicated team of builders determined to make the new Covid regulations work, difficulties were overcome through working together positively.  All in all the projectwork took place over eighteen months. 

Our building now has solar resistant glass, double glazing, proper insulation and carefully considered fire breaks within the new smart outside cladding.  It is as if our school has a beautiful new overcoat, and now we feel the outside of the building matches the inside, which has always been welcoming with wonderful displays. Parents, staff and governors are delighted that Suffolk County Council has seen fit to invest in us as a successful and sustainable school, which will take us into the future”.

In essence, the school went from a tired timber cladded school to a wonderfully colourful modern school which ultimately makes it look like a brand-new school. All the external works were completed, and the school was handed back over in September 2020.