Construction and regeneration group Morgan Sindall, has launched a new programme to help local education authorities meet the challenge of upgrading the UK’s schools estate.
The organisation’s ‘Community Plus’ scheme comprises a range of new standard designs for primary and secondary schools, which are fully supported by funding options.
Expertise and resources from across Morgan Sindall Investments Limited (MSIL), the urban regeneration company Muse Developments, and affordable housing specialist, Lovell, will help to build the scheme.
Designs and solutions to get projects financed can be tailored to suit the individual circumstances of education authorities and providers.
They are also applicable to either entirely new build or extension/refurbishment projects, as the schools have standardised elements to ensure cost effectiveness.
Graham Shennan, managing director of Morgan Sindall, said: “We have a market leading position in education and have delivered 261 primary schools, 64 secondary schools and seven academies in the last three years.
“We’ve taken the time to look at what’s really important in education and settled upon a two-tier approach, where we can offer development solutions through Community Plus alongside a new range of model schools.”
Morgan Sindall Investments Limited has enabled solutions for public sector capital projects, some of which have been delivered without central government funding.
Funding options include the increasingly prevalent asset backed vehicle and land swap arrangements in addition to leasing and project finance structures.
Nigel Badham, MSIL Director, said: “We have an established track record of enabling capital projects to be built that simply wouldn’t have happened without our ability to unlock the embedded value of public sector assets.
“In today’s budgetary environment for schools, access to funding is more important than ever. There is a clear need for innovative thinking which could well include unlocking the value of land assets that local authorities, free schools and academies already own.
“We can work on an estate-wide basis to help close the gap between aspiration and budgetary reality. Our approach has enabled the delivery of numerous major projects around the UK, including schools such as the New North Community Academy in Islington and sets our proposition apart in the marketplace.”
The school designs are intended to provide flexibility given both the curriculum and local demographics change over time.
Jayne Hettle, Morgan Sindall’s director of education, added: “It is certainly a pleasure to be able to unveil our new schools, which are the result of a great deal of consultation, research and thinking. We have taken the best elements of standardisation without creating solutions that are too rigid.
“The designs don’t just provide more affordable capital construction but are also energy efficient, costing the schools less to run, and coming with the benefit of reduced lifecycle costs. Efficiency is also integral to approach, minimising the time taken to deliver any type of school.
“We can achieve that without sacrificing design quality. We’ve been working with CABE and the Design Council to ensure that the designs will provide children with a truly high quality learning environment that can support the schools’ pedagogy and is easy to manage.”
Morgan Sindall’s approach incorporates Building Information Models (BIM), a system which delivers considerable benefits to customers in terms of a collaborative resource supporting the decision-making from the early conceptual stages.
Key partners can be shown a 3D model of the project, allowing for more informed decision making, risk management and sustainability.
BIM is also used in the post-construction phase of the property, for space utilisation, running costs and energy/carbon reduction.
Graham Shennan, managing director of Morgan Sindall, added: “Improving the educational attainment of children and young adults is paramount to the future success of the UK. As the leading provider of buildings for education together with innovative funding options, we have put our very best teams together to work with customers to deliver what we believe is a fantastic solution.
“Our commitment to education remains a very important part of our offering and skill base. This is evidenced by our increasing market share in this sector. These new designs represent a significant milestone for Morgan Sindall as a business.
“We’ve already had an excellent response from the marketplace and our commitment to pull in the wider resources of our parent group underlines our determination to help local authorities produce high quality, cost-effective buildings for education.”
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