Project 2018 - Blog
As the end of the construction works draws near, the final touches are taking place inside the new building. Have a look at what students will be seeing in the near future!
Just before the mid-term break, there was a large crane back on site for a day or two while the finish touches were being put to the roof on the new building. The purpose of the crane was to lift ton bags of soil up on to the roof in order to install the green roof on top of the building. Once the soil was in position, the grass was rolled out in sections, covering the surface of the roof.
Green roofs along with rainwater harvesting systems are relatively new concepts in industrial design and have a number of benefits that justify their installation. They are also often part of the planning application process. Green or grass roof systems have been shown to retain 60-100% of the rain water they receive and release it a lot slower than a traditional roof.
In addition, green roofs have a longer life-span than standard roofs because they are protected from ultraviolet radiation and the extreme fluctuations in temperature that cause roof membranes to deteriorate. They also reduce noise and air pollution, act as a carbon sink, increase urban biodiversity by providing habitat for wildlife and provide a more aesthetically pleasing and healthy environment to work and live.
From the outside, it appears as if the Project 2018 site is pretty much complete as the end draws near for the construction process. Works are almost complete outside now with the addition of the seating, planting and lighting in the space in front of the classroom block and alongside the gym. The shrubbery has gone in since this photo was taken and it is a nice splash of colour alongside the yellow brick façade that is so familiar around the campus.
The seating area out the back that leads up to the pitches also has the same brick built into it now, but there will also be the addition of artificial grass and that area should become a nice area for students during lunch breaks.
Inside the building, the sports hall is being painted and skirting boards are being installed. The sprung floor will be lined out for the various sports that will take place in the hall. The basketball hoops have also been installed back into place.
The ‘brains’ of the new building is based in the plant room which is on the second floor of the building and sits on top of the sports hall storage rooms. In the plant room, all of the electrical and mechanical controls for the building originate. The air and water temperatures will be set and regulated from this space, and will only be accessible by maintenance.
Finally, upstairs in the corridor alongside the new classrooms, the railing has been installed beside the narrow channel in the floor. This channel allows the light from the roof lights travel down to the ground floor. The difference it makes in the downstairs corridor is huge. The old external brick has been painted and is now unrecognisable from what it looked like when it was outside.
The weights room and multi-purpose studio have had a lot of work done on them with the installation of the electrics and most glazing. There is still a lot to do in terms of kitting them out and the installation of flooring and equipment, but they are both coming along nicely. For fire safety, there are quite a few entrances/exits in both spaces.
View from the corner (window side)
View from the entrance
The main entrance to the complex is also nearing completion, with the installation of the glazing and doors (installed since the photo was taken). The gravel has been leveled off and the process of paving the area from the Science block to the classroom block and new building has begun.
The view through to the classroom block from the new entrance
The view from the classroom block to the new entrance
All of the corridors and classroom floors have been poured and the underfloor heating system has been covered over. The manifold for controlling the system is centrally situated and provides the ability to control different zones with different amounts to heat in order to be more sustainable.
Underfloor Heating System Manifold
The classrooms are at a stage now where they still have some electrical and aesthetic work to do, but they are looking bright and warm so far. The red railing that you can see surrounding the room is ducting that is carrying electrical and networking cable. This protective film will be removed after all the painting works are carried out.
View of classroom from the door
Although during the summer, the campus is a lot quieter, huge progress is being made on the building site. The external envelope of the building is almost complete in all areas bar some minor aesthetics and some glazing. Work has also been undertaken outside with new seating areas nearing completion and the steps up to the basketball court have been craned in, after they were made off site.
Steps up to the basketball court
Seating to the front of the classroom block
The sports hall has been insulated on the north wall and painted throughout which really brightens up the old building. The store rooms are complete and are awaiting the installation of the doors once all the main first fix work is complete. The main entrance into the sports hall is also at this stage but you can already see how this new entrance will make a lot of sense in how it links to the changing rooms and main entrance.
New entrance into sports hall
The following photograph gives a fairly good indication of where most of the work is at in terms of the fit out of the electrics, water and heating systems. The main framework for all of it is in situ already, and left in a safe position where the contractors can install their lights, switches, sinks and other items when the other prior work is completed.
After being covered for quite a long time, the brick façade and new glazing on the classrooms are finally evident as the scaffolding has been dismantled and taken away. There is a huge amount of interior work still to be completed in this area of the site, but the outside will largely remain as you can see it in the following photograph.
The front entrance to the upgraded sports complex is also nearing completion with the installation of the glazing. This entrance will provide the main access to the facilities from the classroom block and most other areas of the campus.
At the rear of the site, work is still ongoing on the external envelope of the building, with the brickwork and the installation of the windows nearing completion. As you can see in the photo, once the building is complete, there will be quite a lot of earthworks and additional work to be done outside of the building.
The floor of the sports hall has also begun being upgraded. It will eventually be a sprung timber floor that will be laid on top of a newly insulated and poured concrete screed. The old un-insulated floor will be covered by this new flooring system. A couple of new entrances and exits have been made in the hall which will ensure the health and safety of all who use the facility.
23rd May 2018
The new building will be heated by underfloor heating rather than radiators. This system requires thousands of metres of flexible plastic piping that is secured to rigid foil backed insulation on the floor. Concrete screed is then poured over the pipes and left to set. When the hot water flows through the pipes, it gently heats the concrete and the insulation reflects the heat back up into the room. Concrete has a high thermal mass, so it retains and emits heat at a gentle rate over a period of time.
The new weights area downstairs in the new building has had a lot of mechanical and electrical work in preparation for further work including the installation of lights and the non load bearing walls that will separate the weights area from the corridor. The windows will be installed shortly.
The PE staff office space is also now becoming apparent, and despite not being located on an external wall, will be glazed to allow for light and also visibility into the general entrance area of the building. There will be staff changing facilities adjacent to this office. The photograph below shows this office space, and also shows the corridor and view down to the sports hall doors.
The photograph below shows a great view of the overall Project2018 site and how it is developing from an areal perspective. The building appears to be slightly larger than it is due to the scaffolding that remains erected around the perimeter of the building.
30th April 2018
Works on the roof of the sports hall are almost complete. The refurbishment of the existing roof surface as well as the installation of roof lights will significantly improve the structure and function of the roof. As you can seen from the areal photograph, the roof lights that have been installed on the north end of the roof near the Science block.
These lights promise to throw natural daylight into the sports hall for the first time! some of this can be seen in the interior photos below.
The general entrance and exit of the sports hall can also be seen in the photographs and this will provide a much better transition between PE classes. The internal wiring of the sports hall has also been replaced over the past few weeks and the old entrance has been blocked up.
Many thanks to everyone who supported the recent Race Day to support the Project 2018 build. It was a great day and well done to the PTA on organising such a successful and enjoyable event.
5th April 2018
Refurbishment works to the gymnasium are coming along very well, with the exterior glazing almost complete and further works to the interior has also taken place. The photographs below show the glazing along the side of the gym and also along where the old changing rooms were which are being upgraded.
The stairwell at the rear of the building has been completely removed and this will become a storage area and also access to the new building as can be seen in the photographs below. The stairs to the upper part of the new building will be close to this central location and next to the lift that goes between the ground floor and first floor.
Inside the new building, the weights area and studio are taking shape, with the size and space now becoming apparent. There is still some pouring of concrete at the top of this building in order to complete the envelope, but this process is not far from completion. The photos below show the weights area from the inside and the outside. The installation of the glazing and doors will follow over the coming months.
8th March 2018
Work on site was unavoidably affected by the recent cold weather and red alert. In spite of this, Project 2018 is really coming together with major progress in all areas of the site. The shell of the classroom block is almost complete and the yellow brick walls on the ground floor are nearly ready for the windows to be installed. You can see this brickwork and also the insulation that is built tight to the inner wall in the photos below. The subtle curve in the brickwork is also becoming apparent and it really breaks the linear nature of the building. The other photo shows one of the first floor classrooms, without the brick wall built yet. Once these walls are built and the window sills are in place, the installation of the windows will commence.
The corridors that all of these classrooms adjoin, is also taking shape and the once external wall of the sports hall is now forming the interior of these corridors. There is a subtle but very important detail on the right side of the photo which is a gap between the two floor which will allow for natural light to reach the corridor on the ground floor which would otherwise be quite dark. This detail is also apparent in the next photo where the light is flooding in from the larger gap in the ceiling and making its way into that corridor and the one below.
The sports hall is undergoing interior and exterior work also. Some Repair work on the roof of the hall can be seen in the photograph below, while extensive upgrading and refurbishment is taking place inside the hall.
The original entrance doors will be moved to a new location, new storage rooms will be built into the hall and a new wooden floor will be laid in addition to an upgrade of the inner walls. The beginning of these upgrades can be seen in the photo.
Check back shortly for further updates on the Project 2018 site!
7th February 2018
The structure of the new classroom block is almost complete. Last week saw the installation of the pre-fabricated roof sections that have capped off the top of the building. The sections are carefully poured and reinforced off site, and then transported to site where they are then craned into position. In our case, the sections were lifted over the sports hall using a specialist crane which you can see in the photo below.
Obviously, there is a lot more construction to do in these new rooms, but the space and size of them is now apparent. The concrete stairs has also been manufactured and lifted into position. The stairs can be seen on the back of the truck in the photograph below. The interior walls in the new classroom block have also been built over the past few weeks. These walls are not load bearing but they are built using a special block that absorbs both sound and heat, making them ideal for separating the new teaching spaces.
At the rear of the site, the walls are nearing completion as the formwork and concrete pouring stage of the project is almost over. The next stage in both new sections will be completing the façade of the buildings, which will entail building up the yellow brickwork and installing the glazing sections to prevent the ingress of water to the interior.
The large window frames at the side of the gym have also been installed and are looking very well. Work on the interior of the gym will continue shortly, but it is largely aesthetic work really as the space will remain largely as it was with the addition of proper storage for equipment and also a new entrance.
14th of January 2018
After the Christmas break, work has progressed in earnest on the Project 2018 site. The new link building has had its first floors poured and the works to manufacture the columns that will support the roof are well underway. The lift shaft that can be seen in the photograph below is progressing at the same height.
The windows to the front and changing room sides of the gymnasium have been fitted into the openings which will allow some interior work to commence over the coming weeks and months. The new windows are a significant upgrade on the old single glazed windows that were in place since the gymnasium was built.
As you can see in the photograph, the large openings are still awaiting glazing. In the same picture, you can see the soil embankments that will ultimately be covered with grass and will house the access route that will lead up to the basketball courts and the rest of the sports pitches.
As the external envelope of the new classroom block is coming together, the look and feel of the entrance area outside the new buildings is becoming apparent. This horseshoe shaped area should mark the entrance of the building with style and a modern feel that ties the old buildings together. The crane is currently situated right in the middle of where the entrance courtyard will be. Thankfully, the crane is a modular design that allows it to be dismantled. When the crane is no longer needed on site, it will actually be dismantled and transported off site via the boarding house car park!
4th of December 2017
As the depths of winter approach, work on site has not slowed down at all and while it has been quite cold, conditions have been favourable for construction over the last few weeks. The first floor of the classroom block has been successfully poured and this has allowed major work to be undertaken to get the building up to roof height before Christmas.
The first floor columns have been poured and the connecting beams are also being prepared for the pouring of the conrete over the steel frames. The curved front of the building is now particularly visible while standing on the scaffolding looking down along what will ultimately be the façade of the classroom block.
The new section at the rear of the sports hall that will house much needed sports equipment storage and the plant room is taking great shape and it will soon be connected right into the sports hall. The building will stretch down about two thirds of the sports hall and will provide great storage space that was really lacking in the old sports hall!
One of the 5th Year Construction Studies classes were lucky enough to get a site visit and learn all about the different jobs that were being undertaken on site. After a health and safety briefing from the foreman and site manager , the students got kitted out in all the personal protective equipment you could think of! After climbing the stairs at the rear of the sports hall we were treated to an amazing view of the entire school and especially the site. Some remedial works are being carried out on the roof before the installation of roof lights to illuminate the sports hall.
The complex nature of the project was clearly evident while looking down over the site and to have an insight into the day to day working of the construction site was invaluable. The new weights room and fitness studio is really coming to life and the large open space is certainly now clear for all to see as work is beginning to commence at first floor level.
Many of the specialist tradesmen gave the class a great understanding of what their jobs entailed, with particular interest in the banksman who controls the crane from his remote control. The surveyor also showed the students evidence with his laser beam of how accurate he needs to be in his calculations, right down to the millimetre.
13th of November 2017
Over the last few weeks on the Project 2018 site, work has been developing at a very steady pace, with excellent progress being made especially at the rear of the site where the new weights room, and fitness studio will be located. The concrete floors have been successfully poured and have cured allowing for the construction of the walls to commence.
Some of these walls are not regular brick or block walls that would be found in a typical home, but solid concrete walls that are incredibly strong and can hold huge compressive forces and weight. They are constructed using a similar system to the pillars that are around the campus, with formwork constructed and steel tied into the poured concrete wall to strengthen it.
The reason these walls are built in this way is because both the weights room and the fitness studio are designed to be spaces that are as open and unobstructed as possible, and the weight that these walls will take allow this to happen by negating the need for some of the columns.
This can be clearly seen in the following floor plan for the weights room with the concrete wall along the left side of the room. The other walls do not bear any additional weight other than themselves except for the glazing that is running along the perimeter of the room on the external walls.
The new classroom block is also coming along very well with the first-floor supporting columns complete and the poured concrete beams also nearing completion. Some of the formwork has been removed to expose the concrete but this will all be covered in the future by the external yellow brick that is a major feature of the Wesley campus.
As the work is done at a height, health and safety is of the utmost importance and the builders are harnessed for their protection. The concrete mix is put into a large hopper with a funnel at the bottom of it and the crane lifts and positions it to just above where it needs to be poured where it is released into the correct location. Once the main frame of the new classroom block is finished, the scaffolding will start to come down and further work on the interior and exterior will commence.
17th of October 2017
Since the last update work has continued at great pace on the Project 2018 site. The classroom block to the front of the sports hall is now at first floor height after the concrete columns were poured individually to form the beginning of the frame structure that is an architectural trademark of the Wesley College campus.
These columns are constructed by initially tying vertical reinforced steel to the foundations before the concrete was poured to form the ground floor. Once the steel is ready, formwork is constructed around the steel frame in a rectangular profile and built up to the height of the first floor. The concrete is poured in until it reaches the correct height and left to cure. Often the columns have a service pipe that runs down through them.
When all of the columns were finished, work began on tying these columns together with concrete and steel beams that are a horizontal version of what has been described above. Unlike the columns, the concrete in beams need to be poured in one go.
Preparations have begun on the roof of the sports hall, with safety hoarding around the perimeter being constructed to ensure that the workers are safe and secure while construction takes place on the new roof.
Great progress has taken place on the new link building area of the site and the building is almost complete to ground level. The lift shaft in this area of the site proved to be a tough task due to below ground level works, but it is now complete to ground level and progressing well. All other ground work has gone to plan and the hardcore and radon barriers are in place.
The steel is being tied together at the moment in preparation for the pouring of the concrete. The load bearing concrete wall around the changing areas has also been prepared and is almost ready for pouring.
The rubble from the gym wall has been removed and the open space and light in the gym has been fully realised for the first time. The back stairs is now completely gone!
19th of September 2017
Over the past fortnight, great progress has been made on the Project 2018 construction site. Following the completion of the foundations and rising walls at the site of the new classrooms, an orange radon barrier was installed over the insulation and hardcore. Underneath this barrier are radon sumps that allow the harmful gases to be safely removed from the foundations and dissipated into the atmosphere.
The main purpose of the radon barrier is to prevent radon gas from penetrating through the ground into the building but it also acts a barrier to the passage of moisture rising into the ground floor and walls of the new classrooms. As can be seen in the photograph, steel reinforcement mesh was then laid and tied together over the radon barrier to provide strength to the concrete floors which were to be poured.
The concrete was pumped from a specialised truck that was positioned in the Agricultural Science garden and craned the pipe over the sports hall! As can be seen in the time-lapse video, once the concrete was poured it was all hands on deck as the concrete needed to be poured, spread, vibrated to remove the air bubbles and smoothened over to ensure a level surface for the floor. Once all of this was achieved, the concrete was left to cure and harden. Thankfully the weather ensured that this was a success.
Major work also continued at the rear of the site where the more complex series of rising walls are taking shape at great pace. The reason that this area of the site is slightly more complex is because the changing areas and the plant rooms for servicing the intricate heat and electrical services are mainly located here and it requires provisions at ground and below ground level.
On both areas of the new build, the steel has been erected in preparation for the pouring of the concrete for the columns that have become a real feature of the Wesley College campus buildings. The provisions for the lift shafts can also be seen on site at the moment.
Finally, further deconstruction took place in the gym as the internal wall that divided the weights areas from the rest of the gym was demolished. The mass of concrete and steel came down with the help of a hydraulic jackhammer. Work has also begun on removing the stairs at the rear of the gym. This will ultimately become a PE storage area.
Check back in a couple of weeks for the next Project 2018 update!
4th of September 2017
Not long after the State Examinations finished up in June, Project 2018 began on campus. The removal of the prefabs at Easter ensured that no time was wasted once the last students finished up their exams. As the site would need to be completely sealed, initial works on the site included providing safe and secure access to the buildings. As you can see in the photo, access for builders and construction traffic is from the lower carpark, behind the Technology building, up through the Agricultural Science garden and up to the existing sports buildings.
After the site was secured and the access route completed, the initial work was predominately deconstruction. This involved removing the glazing and completely gutting the gym building and removal of the front entrance hall of the sports hall. As the main fuse board and switches for all of the electrics in the sports hall were in the front entrance, this was a delicate process.
After almost a decade buried under the ground, the swimming pool was once again revealed, albeit briefly until it was, along with the plant room and steps, completely removed to make way for the initial stages of the link building between the sports hall and the gym.
Once the pool was removed the groundwork for the foundations were prepared including excavating, installing plywood form-work to shape the concrete, tying together steel reinforcement to provide extra strength and of course the concrete itself that was poured to provide the builders with a solid foundation to begin the walls of the new building.
Similar work was carried out in front of the sports hall with the rising walls well under way now, and the prefabs a distant memory! The curved front of the classroom block is very obvious from the photograph above, and it will be a very aesthetically pleasing feature of the new building. Check out all of the photos so far from Project 2018 here.
Due to the ongoing construction works and limited parking on campus, significant improvements were made to the front area of the school. The works included the addition of a small roundabout, a new coach set down area, a new car set down area and the widening of the existing road to provide a safer and efficient traffic flow system now and into the future.