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Morgan Sindall latest to unveil standardised school design

Morgan Sindall has become the latest contractor to officially launch standardised designs for schools.

Community Plus is a range of new standard designs for primary and secondary schools supported by Morgan Sindall Investments, urban regeneration firm Muse Developments, and Lovell, the market leader affordable housing provider. 

Contractors including Laing O’Rourke, Willmott Dixon, Bam and Wates have all entered the standardised schools market as part of a drive to reduce costs following the Sebastian James review and Morgan Sindall has already outlined its designs to architects and designers after director of education Jayne Hettle discussed them at the Building Future Education conference in May.

Morgan Sindall has built 261 primary schools, 64 secondary schools and seven academies in the last three years.

Managing director Graham Shennan said: “We’ve taken the time to look at what’s really important in education and settled upon a two-tier approach, where we can offer development solutions through Community Plus alongside a new range of model schools.”

MSIL is also exploring funding options through asset backed vehicle and land swap arrangements in addition to leasing and project finance structures.

The primary school designs employ a simple grid system and timber-engineered solutions. The Morgan Sindall approach splits Key Stage 1 and 2 with separate entrances and exits for children in the respective age groups. There is also a classroom flow that means pupils physically move through the building as they progress through the school years. 

All of the primary school designs include a multi-function school hall and, at the centre, a large, flexible space which can be used for a variety of learning and play purposes. If required for community groups, this central hub can be zoned-off from the rest of the school to ensure safeguarding. 

The secondary schools are based on a shell and core approach and built around a steel frame.  The designs were created in partnership with Atkins, an architectural practice which has a long and successful track record in education.

Classrooms are 60 sq m in area and flexibility is achieved with internal walls that are easy to move by adjusting the length but not depth of the room.

Morgan Sindall said its approach is centred around BIM, developed by Morgan Sindall’s Professional Services business, where it develops models as a 5D representation of the project – incorporating a 3D visual model, plus two other critical dimensions of cost and time.

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