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  • Growth in Timber School Buildings Debated by Experts

Growth in Timber School Buildings Debated by Experts

Experts from the construction industry will meet at London’s Building Centre later this month to discuss how the UK is meeting tough new school building targets without sacrificing sustainability.

Hosted by Wood for Good – the UK timber industry’s awareness campaign– the free to attend event on Tuesday 29th April will address how modern building materials and methods can be employed to help local authorities meet the shortfall in UK school spaces within tight timeframes and budgets. It follows the recent revelation that 26 per cent of councils in England will be affected by a lack of school places in September 2014, which is anticipated to grow to two thirds by 2017/18.  

Headline speaker is Aurélie Cleraux, Project Manager at construction company Bouygues UK, which is currently working to deliver London’s first Passivhaus-standard school in London. The refurbishment of Stebon Primary School in Tower Hamlets will use a highly-insulated offsite timber frame solution to significantly reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.   

Other presenters will include Wayne Riley, design and build director at international engineering business Mouchel, discussing the London Borough of Hackney’s Local Education Partnership that is developing all school buildings using cross-laminated timber (CLT), and architect Craig White, who will present the Paxton design, a glulam frame structure designed as part of the Sunesis range of standardised school products. 

Finally, Alan Dowdall, design engineer at consulting engineering group Ramboll, will share a case study on the Alec Reed Academy in Northolt, West London. An award-winning educational extension, all new facilities were constructed using a combination of sustainable CLT and glulam. Alan will also highlight the commercial benefits of the low-embodied energy and high carbon storage of timber, which saved the project approximately £150k in capital costs.

Dave Hopkins, Wood for Good’s head of external affairs, said: “UK Government’s £5bn pledge for education buildings announced last year is a welcome investment, but while the money is slowly being pumped into stock, we’re faced with a need to quickly create thousands of new places. Adding to the pressure is the need to keep disruption to existing pupils at a minimum. With the onus on speed, and to a lesser extent cost, many are left wondering how sustainability fits into the mix. 

“In this seminar our aim is to demonstrate that it need not be an either/or scenario. The impressive line-up of speakers are all experts in delivering educational designs that meet the three scores of speed, cost and sustainability. 

“By showcasing some of the modern methods of construction and solutions available we hope to help inform local authorities’ decisions and help them create low-carbon school buildings for the future.” 

The education event is the second in Wood for Good’s ‘Growing Communities’ series on sustainable construction in public building projects. Other market areas coming up in the programme include healthcare, commercial and leisure. 

Hopkins continued: “With the construction industry one of the biggest contributors to the UK’s carbon emissions – at around 47 per cent according to latest government research – there’s considerable pressure on local authorities to lower their carbon footprint. 

“Timber is an effective way of meeting carbon reduction targets in almost any sector, from housing to schools and hospitals. By raising awareness of its sustainability and design credentials we hope to move timber to the forefront of construction in all sectors.” 

The event will take place from 2pm-5pm at The Building Centre on Tuesday 29th April. To register your interest click here.

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