As we head towards the end of what has been a pretty wet and wild September, we are pleased to see that work on site at Robsack Wood Primary Academy is drawing to a close for the Main Contractor. We visited site last week to have a final clear down and collect all our leftover materials along with the handing over of our As-built Health and Safety and Operations and Maintenance Manual for our closed panel timber frame system to the Main Contractor’s site manager.

It is always a pleasure to head back to site at the latter stages of the build to see the structure in its full glory and representing the architects initial vision for the building, it certainly seems like an age since we finished the erection of the structural envelope which was completed in nine days back in July of this year, which really highlights one of the many advantages of off site construction, the speed with which you achieve a weatherproof building.

A building really comes to life once the external finishes and detailing is all in place and this is certainly the case with Robsack Wood Primary Academy.  The design of the building really helped the external finishes shine in particular the long front elevation of the building which was clad in horizontal Siberian Larch boarding which provided a huge expanse of clean lines running almost the length of the building and with the careful detailing around openings ensured this looked stunning on the day we visited, with the last of the days sun reflecting off the south facing wall of the timber frame building. This cladding contrasted nicely with the soft coloured render finish to other areas of external wall.

This single storey school building is a mixture of classrooms, offices and a nursery in total equating to 740m2 of timber frame building made up of timber wall panels and topped out with a monopitch roof to the main building and then flat roof sections to the smaller office and classroom areas.  Internally between the different spaces acoustic requirements were top of the agenda and there was a range of different internal timber wall panels used within the construction from twin stud acoustic walls at 300mm thick to standard 125mm internal timber wall panels.  The external wall build up under the render or timber clad finish was 60mm class A fire proof mineral wool insulation with 160mm mineral wool between the main timber frame, this provided a sensible balance between efficiency and cost effectiveness.  Without a BREEAM sustainability requirement for this build there was no need to push the boundaries any further but Streif can provide timber wall panels, floor cassettes and roof cassettes in line with Passiv Haus Standards where the need arises.

On the sustainability front not only does the design of the building by the architects ensure large amounts of natural light flood the building due to the south facing openings resulting in reduced lighting loads, the classrooms also benefit from solar gains and when this is combined with the energy efficient nature of the Streif closed panel building system the end result is a sustainable building with low running costs future proofed for generations to come.