The Kingston Academy

Full M&E Installation

Full M&E Installation

Client: The Kingston Academy
Location: Richmond Road, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT2 5PE
Sector: Education
Type: Refurbishment
Services: Full M&E Installation
Value: £1m
Main Contractor: Interserve
Architect: Astudio
Duration: 26 weeks

Project Details:

The Kingston Academy is a state-funded, technology-led free school in Surrey that first opened its doors to students in September 2015. Its creation – on the former site of the council-owned North Kingston Centre – required a complete refurbishment of the existing, 80-year-old facility. Originally constructed in 1937 to house a girls’ school, the building needed to be brought fully up to date, creating a world-class, 21st century teaching establishment that will eventually take in 1200 pupils, without jettisoning its essential architectural character. The Academy’s overarching vision was for the refurbished building to provide “a rich, vibrant experience through colour, imagery, sound and digital media”, with educational spaces that were dynamic and versatile. With construction to follow on a large new-build extension in November 2016, this first-phase refurbishment programme also needed to be as cost efficient as possible, achieving maximum impact for minimum outlay.

WT Parker’s role in the project was to provide the complete M&E installation for the school building once the main contractor, Interserve, hadx stripped out the interiors and made good the brickwork, windows and doors etc. Our electrical installation encompassed LV distribution, lighting, power, data, re alarms, disabled refuge and alarm, access control and CCTV. The mechanical services included gas and water installations to a new plant room, a complete wet system, central heating installation, provision of a full domestic hot and cold water system, and a centralised building management system (BMS).

Key Facts:

  • Complete M&E installation, including lighting, power, data, hot and cold water systems and BMS.
  • Two IT-rich suites containing 30 computers, data points, air conditioning and ventilation.
  • Enabling work for a planned second-phase extension to increase intake to 1200 pupils.

Historical integrity

One of the developer’s key concerns was to maintain the integrity of the old building wherever possible. Rather than installing false suspended ceilings for the wiring and pipework, we therefore carried out full surface installations throughout. This called for precision and considerable forward planning, with particular emphasis on the safety and robustness of the trunking. We used heavy gauge conduits and steel pipes to ensure that all the work was fully tamper-proof and child-friendly. Survey indications of lead-based paint in the old building also called for particular care during the programme; our engineers wore face- t masks for the installation and holes were vacuum drilled to ensure the safety of the workforce.

Disruption minimised

The refurbishment presented several logistical challenges for our team. One involved the location itself: the Academy is bordered by residential housing on two sides of its grounds, and by two other schools on the remaining sides. To reduce the impact on residents and the congested Richmond Road, we developed a coordinated management plan with Interserve, with engineers and tradesmen arriving by local transport where possible and deliveries restricted to school hours. Maintaining an efficient, delay- free work ow was one of the highest priorities on the project overall, since the pupils were being accommodated in portable classrooms during the refurbishment. When our partners needed to make substantial changes to the FF&E midway through the programme, we worked quickly and efficiently to rewire and reinstall with the minimum delay.

Building for the future

With a new-build extension due to start in late 2016, our work had to be carefully programmed to address the future requirements of the campus. This meant working with many of the elements already on site, such as the retained mains distribution and sub main cabling. Our installation in the school’s new plant room included two boilers for the current building and three additional boilers for the planned extension; these were to be connected into the new heating system once the adjoining structure completed. Meeting the Academy’s long-term needs also meant installing a full range of new technology in the refurbished building. This included the provision of two IT suites, each to contain around 30 computers supplied with data points, socket outlets, air conditioning and ventilation. Each classroom had its own data networking system and central server room. We also installed a daylight reactive Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI) system, and fitted each room with absence detection, for improved environmental and cost efficiency. The acoustics in the old building were significantly enhanced with acoustic lighting rafts.

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