Bedford Modern School Science Centre

Full M&E Installation

Bedford Modern School Science Centre

Client: Bedford Modern School
Location: Manton Lane, Bedford, MK41 7NT
Sector: Education
Type: New-build
Services: Full M&E Installation
Value: £1.26m
Main Contractor: SDC
Architect: Scott Brownrigg
Duration: 30 weeks

Project Details:

Bedford Modern School’s Science Centre is a state-of-the-art teaching faculty at one of the oldest and most respected independent schools in the county. Replacing the Client’s existing, outdated facilities, the new development – which is situated on a partly-elevated section of ground beside the Rutherford Lawn, to the rear of the school – comprises three subject-specific storeys and 21 classrooms wrapped around a spacious central atrium. The Client viewed the building’s excellent design and high construction standards as a key stimulus for future learning.

This project gave us an opportunity to deliver a wide-ranging package of M&E solutions to complement the work by the main contractor, SDC, and architects Scott Brownrigg. WT Parker provided a full M&E installation for the centre, from gas and water mains into a new plant room to a complete, centralised building management system (BMS).

Key facts:

  • Three storeys and 21 classrooms delivered alongside a live school environment.
  • 17 miles of power cabling, 11.5 miles of data cabling and 2.2 miles of trunking.
  • 170 gas outlet taps, 390 light fittings, 800 electrical sockets

Innovative installation

One of the major challenges of the project revolved around the supply of services to the 18 teaching laboratories and technical support facilities. Each room required its own mechanical ventilation with heat recovery unit (MVHR) in the suspended ceilings. This left limited space above the MVHR ductwork for the key services: gas pipes, water pipes, drain pipes, electrical wiring and light fittings.

To be certain of fitting all these elements comfortably into the required space, we designed a 3D model of the containment area prior to installation. The model allowed us to plot the optimum positioning of the services, substantially reducing the potential for errors and costly delays during the build, and this was replicated across each of the 21 workspaces. The resulting fitting proceeded very smoothly.

Sensitivity to the school environment

Although our work on the centre started towards the end of the 2015-2016 academic year and continued through the summer recess, the bulk of the installation had to be carried out during regular school term time. We took great care to ensure that disruption was kept to a minimum for staff and pupils. For access and egress, our contractors and operatives were transported to and from the site so that parking for school staff and visitors remained unaffected. High security hoarding and access points kept the development fenced off from the main school building at all times.

Sustainable solutions

Our M&E package included a number of environmental enhancements that will enable the school to reduce its future energy consumption. The fluorescent strip lighting in the old facility was replaced with LED fittings, each controlled by intelligent absence-detection sensors for automatic shutdown when users leave the rooms. Similarly, a distributed automation local intelligence (DALI) control system in the atrium allows the main lighting to alter automatically as lux levels fluctuate during the day.

Each classroom was also fitted with proving units, manually controlled by school staff to ensure the MVHR and utilities are switched off at the end of each school day. Photovoltaic panels on the roof – installed by our specialist sister company Seymour & Castle – allowed the school to meet its BREEAM obligations.

Extensive scale

The size, scope and complexity of the science centre were considerable. Overall, we installed 17 miles of power cabling, 11.5 miles of data cabling and around 1.5 miles of gas and water piping. There were a further 1.2 miles of underfloor heating pipe work, 170 gas outlet taps for the laboratories and 24 MVHR units.

Our electrical installations encompassed distribution, lighting, power, data, fire alarm, disabled refuge and alarm, access control, intruder alarm and a CCTV system. The mechanical installation work included fitting gas-fired boilers and a water heater, a boosted cold water set and tank, a complete underfloor heating system, full domestic hot and cold water provision and gas installation to the classrooms. The IT suites and server rooms were also fitted with air conditioning and ventilation systems.

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