Schools and Academies Capability Statement - Buro Happold

Schools and Academies Capability Statement - Buro Happold

Schools and Academies

Capability Statement

September 2009


Schools and Academies

Capability Statement

Introduction 3

1 Optimal Learning Spaces 5

Natural ventilation and daylighting 6

Acoustics 8

Special Educational Needs (SEN) 10

2 Flexibility for the Future 12

Flexible construction methods 14

ICT integration 16

Multi-use spaces 18

3 Sustainable Design 20

BREEAM assessment 22

Post-occupancy evaluation 23

Use of renewable energy sources 24

Reducing energy use 27

Sustainable materials 28

Waste and material recycling 31

4 Working in Partnership 32

Involving school communities 34

Coordination of design teams 36

Locations 38

Our Services 40

Industry Recognition 41


The education sector is changing. The government has a

vision to provide 21st century education to all secondary

school pupils over the next 15 years and has committed

billions of pounds of investment into its delivery. Over

the next decade, the way our schools look, operate and

educate will be revolutionised.

A key element of this vision for the future is the school

building itself. Not only must it provide an environment

that promotes learning - through inspirational design

and good quality lighting, ventilation and acoustics -

but it must also be flexible enough to be opened up to

the wider community, and to meet current and future

developments in education and technology.

As multi-disciplinary engineers, we see this being

achieved through the integration of all the elements

involved in the school’s design - from the architecture

through to all aspects of its engineering. Equally

important in achieving true integration is the close

co-operation of all the stakeholders involved in the

school building’s delivery, which makes a partnering

approach ideal.

An integrated approach will result in a building which

is capable of meeting the many different needs of its

users: the teacher who needs an open classroom to be

able to teach a new curriculum; pupils who need access

to PCs; the parent concerned for their child’s security or

interested in adult learning; the private sector partner

who needs to consider whole life costing issues; and

the local authority which has to deliver an effective

education for everyone.


Cover images: St Mary Magdalene Academy, Islington (front),

Haberdashers’ Aske’s Knights Academy, Lewisham (back)

Buro Happold

This capability statement highlights the innovative

engineering skills that Buro Happold provides to the

education sector. It will provide relevant information

about our key services and how we help to deliver high

quality, attractive buildings, whose design incorporates

issues such as sustainability, flexibility and adaptability,

and value for money. It will also show how we help

educators understand how their school buildings

function and how they can make best use of them after


Our approach

Established in 1976, Buro Happold is a multi-disciplinary

engineering and strategic consultancy for the built

environment. Guided by the principle that good

engineering influences better design, we offer an

integrated multi-disciplinary service that enables us to

respond effectively to the specific challenges presented

by each education project.

Buro Happold has over 20 years’ experience in the

education sector, having worked on projects ranging

from primary schools to universities, and academies

to research laboratories, in both rural and urban

locations. Over that time, we have built many long-term

relationships with education authorities, architects and

contractors and have thus developed an appreciation

and understanding of the particular issues that face

educators and their project partners. The insight we

gain from each new education project enables us to

continuously improve our systems and approach,

identify new ways of adding value, and provide our

design partners and clients with relevant advice on best

use of materials and energy in order to provide better

value for money

Our multi-disciplinary approach enables us to deliver

an effective response at the all-important early stages

of design, through to the final implementation and

subsequent operation and maintenance of the school.

Buro Happold also has a unique breadth of involvement

at the highest level in the industry. Our team includes

a key member of the DCSF Zero Carbon Task Force

and the first environmental engineer on the CABE

schools design review panel. We are also important

members of the CIBSE Schools Design Group, the Soft

Landings in Schools Group and also contributed to

the SSLD programme which is referenced through PfS

documentation. We are in regular contact with members

of the Parliamentary Select Committee for Schools and

senior members of PfS and have acted as Technical

Advisors on PFI schools bids. Our class leading post

occupancy experience has not only played a key role

in many of the above initiatives but has enabled us to

assist a local authority in reducing energy use and CO 2

emissions across a series of schools, which is yielding

significant savings in emissions and energy costs. We

bring the benefit of this unique set of skills to benefit all

of our schools projects during the bid process, detailed

design, construction and operation.


Schools and Academies Optimal Learning Spaces


“Our challenge is to make sure

the building design improves

the quality of education by

providing the best possible

environment for all users.”

Andy Keelin

Group Director, Buro Happold


1 Optimal Learning Spaces

Improving the learning experience

through quality design

Buro Happold

Inspirational school design can have a hugely positive effect on learning outcomes: motivation,

achievement, productivity, enjoyment, even standards of behaviour all benefit from a high quality

learning environment. Buro Happold addresses the key factors – both physical and environmental –

that influence the creation of bright, airy, student-friendly educational spaces that are a joy to teach

and learn in.

Summer temperatures – increased by the heat emitted

by IT equipment – and the amount of natural light are

the two biggest environmental design challenges which

affect the quality of space in educational buildings.

By optimising natural ventilation and daylighting in

the most environmentally friendly way, we are able to

make buildings more comfortable, sustainable and low

maintenance – as well as reducing energy costs.

Along with a fresh and healthy internal climate, noise

control is essential for creating the right conditions

for learning – especially in SEN schools, where noise

can create unnecessary distractions. Using computer

modelling and sound surveys to assess external noise

and break-in from adjoining classrooms, we are able to

guide the design to help our clients meet demanding

acoustic performance targets.

Bushloe School, Leicester


Optimal Learning Spaces

Natural ventilation and daylighting

Natural ventilation is the default method of

environmental control but needs careful consideration

if it is to provide an environment that is comfortable at

all times of year, both now and in the future. Our holistic

approach to design ensures that the facade and building

fabric are optimised to provide class-leading performance.

Our post occupancy analysis of schools has shown that

optimisation of natural light is one of the most powerful

tools in the reduction of carbon emissions, in addition to

the benefits it provides in improving the user’s

experience of such spaces.

Thomas Deacon Academy, Peterborough


At its inception in 2003 Thomas

Deacon Academy, Peterborough,

was the largest academy in the UK.

The orientation of the school was chosen to limit

solar gain and the main structural frame was

constructed from high thermal mass concrete

as part of a natural ventilation solution. The

large volume of the building’s internal space

provides a well lit flexible environment which is

considered by users to be inspirational and was

provided at relatively little additional cost to the

strict budget.

Thomas Deacon Academy, Peterborough

Schools and Academies Optimal Learning Spaces


Buro Happold







Daylight modelling – Bristol Brunel Academy


Bristol Brunel Academy

Bristol Brunel Academy is designed

to provide an average daylight factor

of 4% which is around twice the level typically

achieved in school classrooms. Combined with

custom designed external shading, this has

reduced lighting use by 60%. Cross ventilated

classrooms with exposed thermal mass

provide an internal environment which avoids

summertime overheating and the need for

cooling, even with intensive IT use.


Optimal Learning Spaces


Sound is a major factor in generating a positive

atmosphere within school buildings, and can influence

the way pupils react to their environment. Our

acoustics team use methods such as 3D modelling

and auralisation to advise engineers on issues such as

insulation, façade design and building services, allowing

them to create the ideal acoustic environment.


Due to site constraints at St Mary

Magdalene Academy, the school

had to be built ‘upwards’ in a way

rarely seen in schools in that the floor of the

sports hall is isolated from the structure to stop

noise and vibration transmission. The multipurpose

hall and sports complex, which is used

by both the new primary and secondary schools,

was built with the main hall below ground level,

the sports hall on top and a five-a-side football

pitch on the roof. The multi-purpose hall is used

for exams, so it was important to minimise any

disruption coming from the sports hall above it.

Schools and Academies Optimal Learning Spaces


St Mary Magdalene Academy, Islington

Buro Happold


St Mary Magdalene Academy, Islington

Noise from an adjacent railway

line posed a particular problem

at Chobham Academy – an issue which will

continue to increase with time as the line is

likely to be extended to Stansted Airport. With

this in mind, Buro Happold introduced a ‘sound

attenuator’ within the cladding system to allow

fresh air into the classroom, which is pulled

through this unit via an extractor fan located in

an adjacent void, enabling windows to remain

closed so removing the need for forced supply


Stale air exhausted

to atmosphere at

roof level

Fresh air via vertical

louvers (heated in

winter via element

within louver panel)



Glazed are 50%

Return air

grille at

high level

Chobham Academy


Optimal Learning Spaces

Special Educational Needs (SEN)

Achieving the right school environment is particularly

important when designing a special educational needs

school, with factors such as ventilation, lighting and

acoustics contributing significantly to the varying

sensitive needs of the pupils. The design for an SEN

school is often very specific, with the aim of creating

a secure, distraction-free teaching environment that,

above all, feels as far removed from an institution as


Fresh air dissipates into

room via grill low level

in fixed furniture

Stale air exhausted at

high level via attenuated

activated louvers



Supply air

-0°C Winter

-30°C Summer


Getting the right balance of

daylight and ventilation is especially

important at a SEN school, as glare

or overheating can badly affect a pupil’s

concentration as well as their comfort.

At Threeways School the natural flow of air

from the openable windows on both sides of

the room, complemented by cool air coming

in from buried earth tubes, ensures it is always

fresh within the classrooms. In addition, the

classrooms are acoustically separate, resulting

in minimum disruption as noise from one class

doesn’t filter through to another. Consequently,

acoustic performance has been cited as making

a considerable difference to the experience and

behaviour of the children.

Concrete pipe with

waterproof wrap

750–900mm in diameter

Earth Tubes


12°C approx

Schools and Academies Optimal Learning Spaces


Threeways School, Bath

Buro Happold

“This was a very challenging project for

all our engineering disciplines but the

end result is a marvellous building that

should be enjoyed by the whole school


Graham Hayne Project Leader, Buro Happold


Achieving the ideal environment for

special educational needs pupils,

combined with achieving a low energy solution,

was key in the design of Hazelwood School.

Incorporating natural ventilation was important

for both low energy and occupant comfort.

However, as the school is located close to major

roads it was clear that noise minimisation would

provide a challenge to any natural ventilation

methods chosen. Buro Happold’s solution,

therefore, encompassed low-level openings via

an acoustic baffle and high-level openings via a

roof void plenum, both controlled by motorised

louvres. CFD and dynamic thermal modelling

was carried out to determine the opening sizes


Hazelwood School, Glasgow


“Flexibility is essential so that

future developments can be

incorporated to meet the

needs of staff and students.”

Angus Palmer Group Director, Buro Happold

Schools and Academies Flexibility for the Future



2 Flexibility for the Future

Meeting the changing needs of the new

21st century generation

Buro Happold

Curriculum changes, increasing pupil numbers and new directions in vocational teaching are certain

to affect the character of schools and their learning and space requirements. Developments in ICT

technology in particular, with the possibilities it opens up for online and remote learning, underline

why today’s schools and academies need to be designed with tomorrow in mind.

Clearly, schools of the future need to be both flexible

and adaptable as well as fit for purpose. Drawing on our

wide experience in the education sector, Buro Happold

applies the latest engineering science to design well

equipped, ICT-enabled environments that will meet

present needs while being future-ready for changes of

use and new learning methods.

To cater for varying specialisms and activities – including

greater community use – flexibility is designed into

classrooms and other areas to enable them to have

multiple uses, giving users more choice and reducing

future building costs. This flexible, value-added

approach is also applied to the construction process

itself through the use of standardised components and

prefabricated design solutions.

Thomas Deacon Academy, Peterborough


Flexibility for the Future

Flexible construction methods

Buro Happold is able to add value by designing schools

that are adaptable to future changes of use while being

cost-effective to build and maintain. We advise on how

all areas of the building programme can be optimised to

ensure the project is completed on time and to budget. To

deliver economical and future-proof solutions we consider

key aspects such as flexibility of space planning and

accessible primary services distribution, the standardisation

of structural elements, use of off-site prefabrication, and

the future integration of ICT connectivity. We always aim to

ensure that work is completed with as little disruption to

the students as possible.


Buro Happold’s ‘loose fit’

environmental solution was central

to Bristol Brunel Academy opening

on time and to cost. Ventilation chimneys

were provided within each classroom, which

met the environmental credentials for natural

ventilation, but also allowed for the installation

of a mechanical ventilation system if required

at a later date. This meant that construction was

able to continue while the fixed furniture and

equipment requirements were established and

detailed classroom layouts developed.

Bristol BSF

“We believe that this flexible solution

reduced the construction programme

by six to twelve weeks, at no extra cost,

while helping to future-proof the design

against climate change.”

Ian Tavener Associate, Buro Happold

Schools and Academies Flexibility for the Future


Bristol Brunel Academy

Buro Happold


Laing O’Rourke’s prefabricated

concrete facility near Northampton

enabled Buro Happold to design a

prefabricated design solution for the Barnsley

BSF project. While steel beams restrict the

distribution of building services, the concrete

frame allows partitioned walls to be installed

wherever they are needed, both now and in the

future. The nature of prefabrication offers wideranging

benefits, reducing waste, shortening

construction times and ultimately saving the

client money.

“Prefabrication is something we have

been very keen to embrace at

Buro Happold, as we are always

looking for ways to improve our service

to clients through collaboration with

contractors, while treading more lightly

on the environment.”

Andy Keelin Group Director, Buro Happold

Barnsley BSF project

City of London Academy, Islington


Due for completion in 2010, the

City of London Academy in

Islington is being constructed in

a tight, occupied site within a conservation

area. As the existing school is continuing to

operate during construction a complex phasing

programme has been drawn up. To minimise the

impact of construction on the existing school,

Buro Happold devised a prefabricated timber

structural solution for the new sports hall. This

allowed the hall to be built and fitted out within

a single academic term, reducing the disruption

to pupils and staff. Using low carbon sustainable

prefabricated timber panels for the structure also

reduced its environmental impact.


Flexibility for the Future

ICT integration

With ICT now a crucial element in the drive to push up

standards and deliver a more personalised learning

approach, schools must be adaptable to suit changing

technologies and enable more mobility and flexibility

in the future. Buro Happold designs buildings with fully

integrated ICT systems to provide a common backbone

that includes computers, telephones, security and BIM

systems, as well as local room controls for lighting and



The IT infrastructure at the City

Academy in Bristol was cast into

the floor slabs, allowing connectivity

between the floor box and each desk. They were

set up in 4x4 grids, for maximum flexibility in

classroom fit-out – something informed by our

experience and knowledge of furniture and

equipment layouts. The location of the floor

boxes is critical to enable the teacher to pass

easily behind the desks to look at pupils’ screens,

and also to allow for multiple classroom layouts

which are crucial for flexibility. The success of

the solutions used at City Academy lead to them

being utilised at the Chobham Academy, where

the ICT installation was able to progress along

with the detailed design without the need to

wait for advice from a fixed furniture and fittings

(FF+E) consultant.

Schools and Academies Flexibility for the Future


Bushloe High School, Leicestershire

Thomas Deacon Academy, Peterborough

Buro Happold

Petchey Academy, Hackney

“We design buildings with easy-to-use and straightforward controls so that energy

consumption can be controlled easily.”

Neil Billett Regional Discipline Director, Buro Happold


Flexibility for the Future

Multi-use spaces

Efficient space utilisation and built-in flexibility to

allow for any future changes in layout, usage, pupil

numbers and ICT developments are key aspects in

the design of new schools and academies. In addition,

the new agenda for the 14-19 age group will have a

fundamental impact on the way the schools of the

future are designed. With the incorporation of vocation

specialisms, schools will need to be able to provide

teaching spaces for subjects such as mechanics,

engineering and hairdressing, as well as the standard


Threeways School, Bath


With extensive experience in

the design and construction

of educational institutions, we

understand which methods will work best for a

particular school, considering the nature of the

site and the specific user needs. Space planning

was especially important at Threeways School

because of the mix of pupils from nursery and

primary up to secondary ages. To reflect this

need for flexibility the floor slabs were designed

for a relatively high load - deliberately above the

required minimum standard - so that in future a

classroom may, for example, be converted into

a hall.

Schools and Academies Flexibility for the Future


Petchey Academy, Hackney

Buro Happold

St Mary Magdalene Academy, Islington


At St Mary Magdalene Academy,

the gradual introduction of pupils to

the school – primary age pupils were

admitted initially, then older students followed

5 years after the first phase of construction

completed – meant that the school had to be

designed in such a manner that the classrooms

could be used in a variety of different ways

and configurations, and that the mechanical

solutions could suit a variety of ICT delivery

models. Some of the classrooms have been fitted

with riser connections for future mechanical

ventilation so they have the option to specialise

as computer rooms, while others have been

fitted with gas, water and power, enabling them

to be used as science laboratories as well as for

general teaching.

St Mary Magdalene Academy, Islington


Schools and Academies Sustainable Design


“Sustainability is an approach

not a solution. It is part of the

methodology to designing

a good building or building

services system.”

Neil Billett

Regional Discipline Director, Buro Happold


3 Sustainable Design

Using resources more efficiently,

saving money on energy costs

Buro Happold

Meeting sustainability targets is now a key requirement in the design, construction and operation

of modern educational buildings. Buro Happold’s school and academy projects are notable for their

innovative use of more sustainable solutions that reduce environmental impacts including carbon

emissions, and optimise the comfort and quality of the learning environment.

Sustainability provides a quality framework for the entire

design process, enhancing deliverability through faster

planning consent. There are also strong links between

a sustainable approach to design and numerous health

and learning benefits – many ‘green’ techniques can

be visible to students as part of their environmental

education, and the outcome should be a healthy place

to study.

To make sustainability work we employ a range of

solutions based on passive design, water conservation,

appropriate choice and sourcing of materials and low

and zero carbon (LZC) energy sources – such as biomass

boilers and combined heat and power systems – which

mitigate the environmental impact of buildings, provide

better energy security and save on running costs.

Castle Rock School, Leicester


Sustainable Design

BREEAM assessment

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment

Environmental Assessment Method) is the leading and

most widely used environmental assessment method

for buildings, and uses a straightforward scoring system

that is transparent, easy to understand and supported

by evidence-based research.

Buro Happold has significant experience in managing,

advising and assessing BREEAM, ensuring target levels

are achieved in the most appropriate way. The minimum

standard set by the Sustainable Development Action

Plan for Education projects – including new builds,

major refurbishments and extensions – is BREEAM ‘Very

Good’. Buro Happold works to exceed this through

a number of measures: for example, integrated low

energy design, renewable energy installations and

selection of materials.

Schools and Academies Sustainable Design



Buro Happold’s work on the new east

end campus for the John Wheatley

College has followed an environmental

agenda of sustainability and low energy use.

Working to BREEAM guidelines, Buro Happold

incorporated passive design solutions including

exposed thermal mass, extensive use of

natural ventilation, façade shading and natural

daylighting. Wind powered exhaust chimneys

in the classrooms achieve a passive, controlled

indoor climate, while daylighting techniques

achieve a daylighting factor of 5%. The campus

has met its benchmark of BREEAM ‘Excellent’


John Wheatley College, Glasgow

John Wheatley College, Glasgow

Sustainable Design

Post-occupancy evaluation

Buro Happold

Post-occupancy evaluation (POE) is an effective first

step to monitor the energy performance of a building,

providing our engineers with the information needed

to evaluate and improve efficiency. Buro Happold has

a strong capability in carrying out POEs, with ongoing

research by our SAT team and a number of successful

projects under our belt. Using advanced analysis

techniques, our in-depth evaluations include desktop

studies, thermal imaging studies, air-tightness testing

and occupant comfort surveys. This unique knowledge

of how schools operate has enabled us to optimise

our design approach to ensure that in-use energy

consumption is reduced as well as improving the

capability to meet the increasingly tight benchmarks for

carbon emissions.


A post-occupancy evaluation

at Bristol Brunel Academy has

proven that sustainable technology

has reduced the life cost of the building. Our

consultants established that the rainwater

collection system has negated the need for

mains water on flush toilets in the year and a half

the building has been in operation. Measures like

this add value for both the contractor, in terms

of enabling them to meet Bristol City Council’s

requirements on sustainability, and to the client

with regard to both cost savings and enhancing

the academy’s green credentials.

“At the Brunel Academy, rainwater collection

saved on the use of mains water to the extent

that the lifetime cost of the building was

reduced to nine years – an excellent result for

a building which is scheduled to be in use for

at least twenty five years.”

Ian Taverner Associate, Buro Happold


Post-occupancy evaluations offer

real value across the whole lifetime

usage of a building. A study we carried

out across the Academies programme showed

that similar spec schools, all in the UK, had very

different patterns of energy use, which was

traced back primarily to a failure in some schools

to turn lights off. This led to a new strategy being

introduced in the Bristol BSF schools, including

movement sensors controlling lighting in the

individual rooms, which in turn led to a major

energy saving in those schools.

Bristol Brunel Academy

Bristol City Academy


Sustainable Design

Use of renewable energy sources

Technologies such as ground source heat-pumps,

biomass boilers, photovoltaic panels and wind turbines

can be used to enable a school to reduce fossil fuel use,

while saving on operating costs. Including renewable

energy sources into the design of new schools will also

contribute to the education process, giving the pupils an

opportunity to learn more about the environment.


The use of renewable energies at the

Joseph Rowntree school in York is

predicted to reduce carbon emissions

by over 60% against current regulations, with the

prospect of increasing to 80% if a proposed wind

turbine is included. Half of the school’s roof has

been set up for rainwater collection, which will

account for around three-quarters of the water

needed, while the wind turbine will provide

15-20% of the school’s electricity. Our innovative

design features ensure the highest possible

standards and aspire to achieve a BREEAM

‘Excellent’ rating.


St Mary Magdalene Academy,

photovoltaic panels

Sustainability is at the heart of

Langley Academy in Slough,

which caters for students aged

11-18 years. To reduce energy demand, the

design incorporates a range of sustainable

and renewable technologies such as rainwater

harvesting, a biomass boiler, ground source heat

pumps and solar thermal panels. The result is

a building that has, to date, the lowest carbon

emissions of any building constructed as part of

the Academies programme.

Schools and Academies Sustainable Design


Langley Academy, solar thermal panels

Buro Happold

With buildings accounting for 50% of the UK’s energy

consumption, it is important that the design of new

schools contributes to the Government’s aim to reduce

UK carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. In pursuit of

this the intention is for all new schools to achieve zero

carbon emissions by 2016. Buro Happold’s engineers

are able to provide solutions to help clients achieve this

goal while adding value through energy security, whole

life cost savings and positive publicity.

AMRC, Sheffield


The University of Sheffield’s AMRC

(Advanced Manufacturing Research

Centre) is the first carbon neutral

building of its kind in the UK. Two large 250 KW

wind turbines provide all the energy required

for the day to day running of the building itself,

while highly effective ground source heat pumps

extract heat from the ground to provide for any

additional energy requirements. Reverse cycle

heat pumps powered by the turbines provide

low grade hot water for the underground

heating system as well chilled water in the

summer for cooling.

“Over 97% of the AMRC receives

natural light, which for a ‘factory’

is highly unusual.”

Jason Gardner Associate Director, Buro Happold


Sustainable Design

Use of renewable energy sources


The environmental strategy at

Brislington Enterprise College

demonstrates how our Sustainability

and Alternative Technologies team (SAT) can

harness low and zero carbon energy sources. The

school’s biomass heating system aims to reduce

heating related carbon emissions by as much

as 85% compared to a standard system, while

natural ventilation is maximised with windows

drawing in fresh air that rises through chimneys

and leaves via louvres on the roof. The building

utilises natural lighting to reduce electricity use

and resulting carbon emissions, and rainwater is

recycled to flush toilets.

Brislington Enterprise College, Bristol

Schools and Academies Sustainable Design


Woodchips, fuel for the biomass heating system

Sustainable Design

Reducing energy use

Buro Happold

Creating schools with design features that successfully

reduce energy consumption has both environmental

and cost saving benefits. Our engineers incorporate

solutions such as presence detectors and daylighting to

help limit the amount of energy used within the school

building. In addition energy consumption is reduced

by setting the default temperature on heating controls

to just a degree or two lower, and utilising natural

ventilation in preference to mechanical ventilation.


The use of presence detectors, such

as those used in the Leicestershire

schools, which switch lights on only

when a classroom is occupied – defaulting to

‘off’ when the room is empty – can help cut

the amount of electricity used for lighting by

as much as 25%. In addition the inclusion of

a Combined Heat and Power plant (CHP), a

system that captures excess heat that is lost by

a conventional system, ensures that power is

provided as effectively as possible.

Bushloe High School, Leicestershire


Sustainable Design

Sustainable materials

Through extensive research into sustainable

construction, Buro Happold is able to utilise materials

and techniques that help to create more appealing,

productive and environmentally friendly learning

environments. We have in-depth experience of

evaluating materials performance, advising on the best

solutions for thermal efficiency and occupant comfort.

Buro Happold is contributing to the

sustainability of the WISE project through our

choice of structural materials, from limecrete

and hempcrete to cement replacements such

as pulverised fuel ash, and recycled waste

from the steel-making process.”


The Wales Institute for Sustainable

Education (WISE) demonstrates

sustainable building in such a way

that the structure itself is exposed as part of

the education process. A rammed earth lecture

theatre, made with a highly sustainable mix of

clay, sand, water and aggregate, built up in thin

layers before being tamped down to form the

walls, forming a natural alternative to a concrete

or steel building. The other buildings are all

timber frame, built with sustainably sourced

timber. Perlite provides a natural, low carbon

means of insulation.

Jonathan Roynon Associate Director, Buro Happold

Schools and Academies Sustainable Design


WaIes Institute for Sustainable Education (WISE),


WaIes Institute for Sustainable Education (WISE),


Buro Happold

Westborough School, Essex

Westborough School, Essex


An intensive research study by Buro

Happold led to the construction of

a unique school building that uses

cardboard tubes and panels as the primary

structural materials. The project team for

Westborough School in Essex achieved a

building using recycled and recyclable materials

wherever possible. The problem of fire and

water risk was solved by placing a ‘breathable’

waterproof membrane over the card, with

further protection provided by overcladding

made of wood pulp and cement.


Sustainable Design

Sustainable materials


Environmental sustainability is a

major factor in the construction of

City of London Academy in Islington.

The school has achieved a 10-20% reduction in

carbon emissions through technologies such

as a biomass boiler, ground source heat pump

and solar panels. The school’s classrooms are

naturally ventilated and feature chimney stacks

to aid cross-ventilation, while the exposed

concrete frame provides thermal mass to help

the quality of the internal comfort. With the

prefabricated sports hall built in six months,

City of London Academy is also on target to

achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.

City of London Academy, Islington

Schools and Academies Sustainable Design


City of London Academy, Islington

Sustainable Design

Waste and material recycling

Buro Happold

On every project we consider the overall efficiency

of the structure and the type of materials involved,

ensuring that we limit the amount of waste that is sent

to landfill. This enables us to deliver buildings with

embodied energy and future carbon footprint in mind.

“Reducing the export of material

from the site was vital on the Petchey

Academy project.”

Angus Palmer Education Group Director, Buro Happold


Through careful analysis of the

existing buildings at Petchey

Academy, we minimised the amount of

demolition required and devised an innovative

solution to make use of all the left over material

within the new development. Similarly, at

the West London Academy, Buro Happold’s

engineers utilised the left over materials to

level off an existing playing field, reducing the

amount of waste taken off site and saving the

client £200,000 in cost.

Petchey Academy, Hackney


Schools and Academies Working in Partnership


Buro Happold offers a unique

benefit to clients through its holistic

and multi-disciplinary approach…

by engaging with all parties we

can provide the best solution to

stakeholder requirements.”


Andy Keelin

Group Director, Buro Happold

4 Working in Partnership

Delivering projects in a spirit

of collaboration and cooperation

Buro Happold

Collaboration with architects, clients and the school community is vital on all education projects.

At Buro Happold, we believe in proactive communication throughout the design team, internally

and externally, to avoid any misunderstandings and to solve problems together. With our deep

knowledge of the key drivers and processes, we are able to tailor our solutions to exactly meet the

needs of stakeholders and users.

Partnerships are about people and they only work

effectively if the people involved understand each other,

have common and clear aims and work productively

together. Building relationships through constructive

engagement is central to our approach: we share ideas

and actively interact across our disciplines and with the

wider consortium to agree objectives and targets and

identify key challenges.

When working with schools we strive to make the

engineering more understandable to all the parties

involved, explaining how innovative technologies and

design solutions could work for them, and how we

can minimise disruption during construction phases.

In particular, we appreciate the budgetary challenges

facing educators and can provide sound advice on vital

issues such as energy efficiency and future flexibility.

WaIes Institute for Sustainable Education (WISE), Machynlleth


Working in Partnership

Involving school communities

At Buro Happold we recognise that many of our clients

are not engineers themselves, therefore we make every

effort to tailor our communications to the recipient

– using methods such as diagrams, presentations

and video sequencing to demonstrate our proposals.

Effectively communicating how our solutions will

operate helps to ensure that all parties involved are

supportive of our approach to building their new school.


As part of the Barnsley BSF scheme,

as well as schemes throughout the

UK, Buro Happold is collaborating with

a number of architectural practices to design a

series of Learning Centres. To demonstrate to

Barnsley LEA how carbon saving will be made

in their schools, a series of classroom cutaway

drawings showing how the services integrate

with the rooms were created. This ensured that

the client had the best possible understanding

of our solutions.


While working on Threeways School,

a clear understanding of the school’s

needs was essential for the design

team to meet this challenging brief. We built up a

position of trust with teachers and stakeholders

involved in the project, so that when we

introduced some of the more innovative design

solutions – such as natural ventilation, passive

climate control and extensive use of sustainable

timber – they were more sympathetic to our

ideas. By demonstrating how our ideas would

work and overcoming some initial caution, we

enabled the best solutions to be achieved.

Schools and Academies Working in Partnership


Barnsley BSF – Classroom Cutaway Drawing

Buro Happold

St Francis of Assisi Academy, Liverpool


Threeways School, Bath

As an additional learning tool, we

involve pupils in the design of the

school by creating visible services that

have an educational impact in themselves. At

Langley Academy and Bristol Brunel Academy,

the key elements of the building include its

energy efficient features, which are designed

as an active tool for students - the plant

room, ducts and pipes are exposed to enable

occupants to ‘see’ how energy is used. Similarly,

pupils at the St Francis of Assisi Academy are

entrusted with cultivating the gardens which are

attached to a number of the classrooms.

Langley Academy, Slough

Bristol Brunel Academy


Working in Partnership

Coordination of design teams

Building relationships through constructive

engagement is central to Buro Happold’s approach - we

always aim to present an integrated solution, engaging

both across the disciplines and with the consortium.

In this way it is possible to challenge, debate and share

information to achieve the right solution to meet the

client’s needs.


The site constraints present at

St Mary Magdalene Academy

meant that working in collaboration

with all parties involved was essential. The

site perimeter backs onto pavements, houses

and gardens, often with less than a room’s

width between buildings. This meant that the

design team had to work creatively to minimise

disruption, while also ensuring that the existing

primary school could remain open while the new

buildings were under construction on the same

site. Our combined solution was to ‘build up’ in

a way that is unusual for a school building – this

design allowed us to overcome site restrictions

while realising the architect’s vision and meeting

stringent sustainability targets.

Schools and Academies Working in Partnership

St Mary Magdalene Academy, Islington

“Engagement with both the consortium

and the end users is crucial. This way, we

start from a position of strength: we know

we are providing the best solution for all

the stakeholders’ requirements – and that

we won’t encounter any pitfalls along the

way. It benefits not just us, but everybody

on the design team.”

Andy Keelin Group Director, Buro Happold


Buro Happold


One of the major risks faced by a

contractor is that of unexpected

ground conditions. At one of the

Leeds Secondary Schools, which was located in

the middle of a historic mining area, the council’s

initial site investigation was incomplete. This

affected all parties involved, so Buro Happold

put together a scope of works for all the bidders

on the contract, sharing the costs between them

- therefore everyone involved was working to the

same high quality information. The end result led

to far less disruption once works were underway

and a large proportion of risk was removed, to

the benefit of the whole consortium. In this way,

Buro Happold proactively led the design team to

a successful outcome – our findings identified a

landfill site under the proposed location of the

new school, which, if left undiscovered, could

have been disastrous for the project.


South Leeds High School

The award-winning Thomas Deacon

Academy project benefited from

a fully coordinated design process,

with close collaboration between our different

disciplines, the architect and stakeholders

resulting in considerable build and lifetime

efficiencies. Input from the supply chain was

crucial to the success of the project. The steel

fabricator took responsibility for delivering the

whole roof package, including the steel gridshell,

and the main contractor, Laing O’Rourke, used

precast elements around the slab to increase

buildability and speed up the construction

programme. Key to the overall success of the

project was the integration of the building

structure with the environmental, acoustic and

fire performance of the building.

Thomas Deacon Academy, Peterborough



National Coverage

The practice has the ability to cover the education sector

nationally through strong bases across the country.

Each office has a high degree of experience in schools

projects, and regular workshops across the practice

ensure that our class-leading approach is shared

between all designers, maximising value and keeping us

at the forefront of schools design.

We have high level representation on many education

bodies, including:

• DCSF Standardisation programme

• DCSF Schools Zero Carbon Task Force

• CIBSE Schools Design Group

• CABE Schools Design Review Panel

Region locations Key contact Contact details

Education Sector Director Neil Squibbs

Bath Dr. Mike Entwisle

London Angus Palmer

Northern Simon Wainwright

North Europe Rod Manson

Schools and Academies Locations



Buro Happold

















A selection of UK

schools projects















1 Barnsley BSF

2 Bath Hayesfield School

Kingswood Day Preparatory School

Three Ways Special School

3 Bristol City Academy, Bristol

Bristol BSF

4 Essex Westborough Primary School & After School Club

5 Exeter Exeter Primary Schools

6 Folkestone Folkestone Academy

7 Glasgow Three Primary Schools

John Wheatley College

8 Hampshire Bishopstoke Infants School

Fleet Velmead Infants School

West Totton First School

9 Hereford Steiner Academy

10 Hull Hull BSF

11 Leeds Leeds Secondary Schools

12 Leicester Bushloe High School

Castle Rock High School

Samworth Enterprise Academy

13 Liverpool St Francis of Assisi Academy

14 Manchester Manchester Academy, Moss Side

Salford City Academy

15 Newbury St Bartholomew’s School

16 Northamptonshire Corby Academy

Northampton Academy

17 North Tyneside North Tyneside Schools

18 Nottingham Djanogly City Academy

19 Peterborough Thomas Deacon Academy

20 Slough Langley Academy

21 York Joseph Rowntree School

22 London Chobham Academy, Newham

City of London Academy, Islington

Harrow Special Needs School

Islington Academy

Lewisham Academy

London Academy, Stanmore

Michael Faraday School, Southwark

Paddington Academy

Petchey Academy, Hackney

Southwark BSF

St Mary Magdalene Academy, Islington

St Paul’s Academy, Greenwich

West London Academy, Ealing

Westminster BSF


Our Services


Buro Happold delivers world-class engineering consultancy across a range of disciplines spanning

buildings, infrastructure, environment, and project management. We combine creativity with

solid technical skills and an awareness of the key drivers that shape projects in the Schools and

Academies sector.


Building Environments


Building services engineering (MEP)

Happold Physics

Lighting design


Building Planning and Operations

Asset management

Fire engineering

Inclusive design

IT communications and control

People movement

Safe & Secure


Happold Consulting

Stategic planning, infrastructure and environment

Urban economics

Integrated development planning

Project and service delivery

Asset strategy

Organisational development

Building Fabric


SMART solutions

Structural engineering

Environment and Infrastructure

Schools and Academies Our Services & Industry Recognition


Specialist Consulting

Bridges and civil structures

Coastal and marine

Drainage and storm water management


Flood risk



Highway engineering

People movement

Transport planning

Utilities engineering

Strategic Consulting



Urban development


Industry Recognition


Buro Happold

The Civic Trust Awards

2009 Winner: Samworth Enterprise Academy

2008 Commended: Hazelwood School

Commended: West London Academy

Commended: Haberdashers’ Aske’s Knights Academy

2003 Commended: Shrewsbury School Music Centre

Commended: Westborough School

IStructE Awards

2008 Award for Education or Healthcare Structures:

Thomas Deacon Academy

RIBA Awards

2009 National Award: St Mary Magdalene Academy

Regional Award: Merchant’s Academy

Regional Award: Minster School

Regional Award: St Mary Magdalene Academy

2008 Shortlisted: RIBA Sustainability Award: Bristol

Brunel Academy

Shortlisted: RIBA Sorrell Foundation Schools

Award: Bristol Brunel Academy

Shortlisted: RIBA Sorrell Foundation Schools

Award: Thomas Deacon Academy

Regional Award: Samworth Enterprise Academy

Regional Award: Thomas Deacon Academy

Regional Award: Sanger Centre, Bryanston School

Regional Award: Bristol Brunel Academy

2007 Regional Award: Marlowe Academy

2006 Regional Award: Northampton Academy

2005 Regional Award: Longley Park Sixth Form College

2004 Regional Award: Kings Cross Community

Learning Centre

Regional Award: Bexley Business Academy

CIBSE Awards

2006 Winner: Project of the year: The Core, Eden Project

BCSE Industry Awards

2009 Winner: Inspiring Design Award – Secondary

School: Merchants’ Academy

Winner: Inspiring Design Award: St Mary

Magdalene Academy

Winner: Inspiring Design Award: Hazelwood School

2008 Winner: Inspiring Design Award – Special Schools:

Three Ways School

Winner: Inspiring Design Award – Extension to

Secondary School: Sanger Centre, Bryanston School

Highly Commended: Inspiring Design Award –

Secondary School: Minster School

Highly Commended: Inspiring Design Award:

Thomas Deacon Academy

Other Awards

2008 Winner: South West Built Environment Awards

(Constructing Excellence) Value Award and Project

of the Year: Three Ways School

Winner: South West Built Environment Awards

(Constructing Excellence) Sustainability Award:

Bristol BSF

Commended: Scottish Design Awards – Public

Building: Hazelwood School

2006 Winner: H&V News Awards: The Core, Eden Project

2005 Highly Commended: Fire Industry Confederation

Awards: Thomas Deacon Academy

2004 Winner: Quality in Construction Awards – Project

of the Year (medium-sized): Bexley Business Academy

Shortlisted: Stirling Prize: Bexley Business Academy

2003 Winner: The Public Private Finance Awards –

Best Education Project above £20 million: Ealing

Schools PFI








7 8

1 Brislington Enterprise College, Bristol 2 Haberdasher’s Aske’s Knights Academy, Lewisham 3 St Mary Magdalene Academy, Islington

4 Castle Rock School, Leicester 5 St Francis of Assisi Academy, Liverpool 6 Langley Academy, Slough 7 Thomas Deacon Academy, Peterborough

8 Hazelwood School, Glasgow 9 Meadowfield Primary, Leeds 10 Jordanhill School, Glasgow 11 Bristol Brunel Academy, Bristol

12 Petchey Academy, Hackney 13 John Wheatley College, Glasgow 14 Bushloe School, Leicester 15 Paddington Academy, London


9 10






Photography Credits

We would like to thank the companies and photographers that

have kindly allowed us to reproduce their images, visualisations

and diagrams within this document and, in doing so we

acknowledge that all rights belong to the owners.


The engineering of excellence

Buro Happold

Camden Mill

Lower Bristol Road

Bath BA2 3DQ

Tel: 01225 320 600


Neil Squibbs, Education Sector Director

Tel: 01225 320 646


Structural Engineering Building Services / MEP Engineering

Ground Engineering Infrastructure Engineering Specialist Consulting

Abu Dhabi











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