VALUE: £270k
LOCATION: Sunderland
DURATION: 8 weeks

A large-scale external façade upgrade

Barnwell Academy in Sunderland, which has been part of the Barnwell Academy Trust since 2014, caters for boys and girls up to 11 and has space for around 280 pupils.

The school building was originally constructed in a CLASP style, which was developed in the 1960s and 1970s to speed up the construction of schools and other local authority buildings.

CLASP buildings were designed based on a simple steel frame with cladding panels and a flat roof, making them quick to construct with the flexibility to be updated in the future.

Academy Refurbishment Project Details

The windows at the school were coming to the end of their expected life and the original timber exterior cladding was in need of an upgrade, so the decision was taken to refurbish the exterior of the school.

Funding for the project was secured through the government’s new Condition Improvement Fund by architects Faithful & Gould, who acted as the specifier and led the design for the project.

The project took place over the school’s summer break to avoid disrupting the staff and students at the school.

Nine Novus operatives worked on site throughout the summer in order to complete the project on time ready for the start of the new term in September.

Asbestos Removal Challenge

The main challenge on this project was the fact that asbestos was present in the school building which had to be completely removed under carefully controlled conditions.

As part of this process, the operatives sealed in the asbestos using specially designed encapsulation paint to ensure it was safely contained and posed no risk to health.

Due to its CLASP construction, the cladding demolition had to be conducted at the same time as the asbestos removal and encapsulation.

All of the steel columns were encapsulated with asbestos boards to guarantee no trace of asbestos remained anywhere in the school.

Once the asbestos and timber cladding had been safely removed, Novus operatives installed new upgraded and energy-efficient external wall insulation, windows, and fascias.

The EWI render was applied to all the walls and allowed for insulation in areas that had no previous insulation.

Not only have the new windows and EWI improved the overall look and aesthetic appeal of the building but have also reduced emission and cut down on energy usage and costs for the school.

Novus Operations Manager’s View

Phillip Cuthbertson, Novus operations manager who managed the project, said:

“This was a complex project and demonstrates how important it is to expect the unexpected with refurbishments. We didn’t know the full severity of the asbestos situation at the school until we started to open up parts of the site. It was a complex process, but we worked closely with a specialist consultant and subcontractor throughout to ensure that all traces of asbestos were safely and carefully removed.”

Barnwell Academy Feedback

Chris Nellist Business Manager for Barnwell Academy scored Novus 100% on our client satisfaction questionnaire and commented:

“We hopefully will deal with Novus again as they have made a potentially stressful and disruptive time for the school a calm and supportive one. The flexibility they have provided the school in working around the peak and critical times has been gratefully received.”

The external façade upgrade at Barnwell Academy has transformed our school and created a welcoming, warm and safe environment for the children today, and in the future, to learn. The project was delivered efficiently and swiftly and ensured there was no disruption to teaching and learning. Our school community would like to thank Novus for their commitment, hard work, and professionalism.

Barnwell Academy’s head teacher, Ashley Emmerson, said

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