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Castlecombe Primary School expansion in Mottingham, South East London completed under budget and ahead of programme

Castlecombe Primary School in Mottingham, South East London has completed a half-form entry expansion ahead of programme and under budget.

The expansion was designed by Pellings the London and South East based integrated design, property and construction consultancy, which took it up to planning, producing the tender documents and also fulfilled the Employer's Agent, Quantity Surveyor and Principal Designer roles.

Construction started in June 2017 and the school took occupation in May 2018 providing places for a further 120 pupils. This project represents the first phase of what will eventually be a full one form entry expansion.

Because the school is in Metropolitan Open Land, planning consent was given providing there was no further incursion of buildings onto the site which meant creating a second floor on the existing school footprint.

This involved demolishing a toilet area and an external covered storage area and building over existing classrooms to create a total of four new classrooms.

The building expansion was designed to be sympathetic to the original architecture which is modern 1990s but with a castle theme that provides castle keystones above the window heads. The new structure comprises a steel frame with a Metsec steel framing system and, continuing the castle theme, the provision of decorative brick bands using materials matching those of the existing building. The roof is pitched timber and the windows are in keeping with the original style. During construction children were taught in temporary classes on the playing fields.

Councillor Peter Fortune, Bromley's Executive Member for Children, Education and Families said: "The expansion of Castlecombe School in Mottingham went extremely well and the resulting addition of up to 120 extra school places means that we can offer every pupil at Dorset Road Infants School a junior school place at the school if they would like it. This is part of a programme of expansion that has seen 960 temporary and 2,200 permanent school places created since September 2014. I wish all the children at Castlecombe now and in the future, the very happiest of school days."

Philip Baldock, Senior Associate Building Surveyor at Pellings: "This project was completed early and under budget because a great level of trust was created between us, the design & build contractor Neilcott, the school and the client, the London Borough of Bromley.

"This was achieved through robust tender documents which clearly set out the employers' requirements and ensured that provisions were allowed in the budget for items that could be problematic, like drainage, ground conditions and unforeseen structural works to existing buildings together with a general contingency.

"In addition, Pellings was responsible for liaising with the contractor on their RIBA Stage 4 design to ensure they met the employers' requirements, as well as responding to the contractor's requests for information in a timely manner." adds Baldock.

A pro-active approach was taken to meeting the construction deadline by, for example, putting in the first fix M&E before the building was fully watertight and bringing the plasterers on site early to allow the decorators in ahead of time.

Baldock concludes: "The success of this project is put down to all the parties working in collaboration with each other to achieve a satisfactory outcome for the client."

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