London Borough of Lewisham

New Teaching Hub at Abbey Manor College, Lewisham

The Project

Faithorn Farrell Timms was appointed by Lewisham Council to provide Employer’s Agent and Project Management services for a new teaching hub at Abbey Manor College. The College is an age 11-19 Pupil Referral Unit in Lewisham, South London, for students who have been excluded from mainstream education.

The space comprises a series of modular rooms which are detached from the main school, forming classrooms and meeting rooms to accommodate small numbers of pupils and their families.

From the outset, we decided to use a modular approach to achieve project success within the constraints of a small site and a limited time-frame. We worked closely with the contractor AV Danzer in the design and off-site manufacture of the components to keep the project on time. This, coupled with early engagement of stakeholders and statutory authorities, enabled the hub to be delivered on time and within budget.

Our Role

We carried out an early due diligence exercise and initiated exploratory works and surveys of the site to establish flood risk and availability of services infrastructure.

Our role spanned from initial concept design development through to supporting the school with use of the buildings, including:

  • Development of Employer’s Requirements
  • Working with statutory authorities to obtain Planning and Building Control approvals
  • Working with the school to develop appropriate design solutions
  • Procurement of main contractor
  • Contract Administration and budget advice
  • Risk reporting
  • Management of site works

Through discussions with our client, we tendered the project on a JCT Design and Build Contract 2011.

The tender package was issued on the Council’s tender portal for an open competitive tender process with the aim of fostering effective competition and maximising value for money on government spending. Scoring matrices were predefined and were issued to bidders to support transparency and fairness. Following a three-week tender period, FFT supported the Council in formal evaluation of the return tenders and in agreeing and publicising the contract award.

The Challenges

The new building was designed to provide welcoming and functional rooms, while being resistant to vandalism and heavy use.

Resistance to physical damage was especially important due the nature of the school and it’s pupil intake.

The Solution

Creating a resilient building required novel solutions, including working closely with the fire brigade and specialist consultants to gain dispensation for non-standard extinguisher strategies (due to frequent prior misuse), and developing fencing designs that discouraged climbing.

Added Value

Although the new hub takes up a large portion of the school grounds, we have endeavoured to help the school make the best use of the space available including providing a new cycle shelter.

The school staff are committed and ambitious and we have enjoyed the opportunity to work with such a passionate team.