The Project

Kier was appointed in 2017 to design and construct the first phase of the Northstowe Education Campus development comprising of 12 form entry (FE) secondary school with sports facilities and associated community facilities, a 110 place special education needs (SEN) school plus, an Energy Centre to service the whole campus.

A core feature of this project was to ensure the campus provided high-quality innovative and inspiring buildings and inclusive arrival spaces. This resulted in Kier utilising cross laminated timber (CLT) throughout the structure to meet the visual and environmental credentials plus, reduce the overall construction period – CLT elements had just a 24-week period as opposed to traditional methods.

The Approach

Due to the complexity of the project, Kier reviewed three possible modern methods of construction including pre-cast concrete, modular and CLT. The CLT solution provided a unique opportunity to develop a bespoke design, met the environmental credentials required for reductions in noise, dust, construction deliveries and site waste plus, provided additional flexibility to the overall programme.

The programme for the scheme required part of the secondary school to be handed over early to provide Year 7 student places for September 2019. The CLT solution allowed a bespoke design to be developed to accommodate the need for part of the secondary school to be handed over nine months ahead of the rest of the project.

The use of the CLT solution exceeded the environmental requirements and allowed a leaner substructure which, along with quicker erection times, provided a significant advantage over a traditional concrete frame. It also resulted in a much-reduced labour force, reductions in noise and dust due to components being manufactured offsite, reduction in deliveries to site which resulted in less traffic/congestion, a significant reduction in onsite waste.

The Result

With superstructure erection during the winter months the early weather tightness provided by the CLT construction solution was also advantageous in mitigating weather risk.

Achieved BREEAM Excellent and completed to budget.

It was vital the campus delivered architectural excellence by providing innovative and inspiring buildings with high quality and inclusive arrival spaces.

Using the CLT solution resulted in:

  • Total emissions of 22.6 kg/m ² were less than the notional rate of 25.5 kg/m ²
  • 277t greenhouse gas emissions emitted during manufacture
  • 111t greenhouse gas emissions emitted during transportation
  • 3374t carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere when the trees were growing and will be stored in the woods over the products lifetime

With a total volume of 4600m Northstowe Education Campus is the largest CLT structure in the UK, by volume on completion.

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