Project 2018 - Blog
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.