Education Investor Awards 2013


‘Optimum Schools’, an innovative approach to school design and construction, developed by Galliford Try in partnership with Scott Brownrigg’s Design Research Unit, has been recognised at this year’s Education Investor Awards. With Galliford Try scooping the award for “School Builder of the Year” as a result. 

The awards acknowledge organisations and individuals that have made an outstanding contribution to the sector during the academic year 2012-13. Judges praised the commitment to delivering excellence and innovation, in addition to the investment in research and development for the Optimum Schools model.
 Michael Buchanan, Education Director for Galliford Try, said: “We are delighted that Optimum Schools has been recognised through this award, which is one of the highest accolades achievable within the education sector. It is fantastic recognition for all involved”.

Optimum Schools is recognised for its efficiency and affordability. The industry-leading approach reduces the benchmark cost of school buildings by 30% without compromising design integrity or build quality by employing a rigorous set of design and construction principles.

Scott Brownrigg’s Design Research Unit and Galliford Try collaborated throughout 2011/2012 to develop the model and are now delivering its first scheme – Hillview School for Girls in Tonbridge, Kent.

The challenge of building 'cost effective, great schools at pace' was set by the Education Funding Agency and James Review in 2010/2011 to address the limited availability for investment in school estates.

Optimum Schools utilises the best available technologies and efficiencies in modern methods of construction, with standardisation of key components, off-site manufacturing and intelligent design. It allows significant savings in cost and time over traditional construction methods to be made, whilst also enabling school buildings to be bespoke and tailored to individual sites and school-specific user requirements. The delivery of schemes from a classroom extension to a whole new school benefits from the model’s efficiencies in design simplicity and standardisation.

Characterised as simple, elegant, sustainable, high quality, permanent buildings, the intelligent design approach provides optimised buildings which feature high levels of space utilisation and functionality. Ideal environmental conditions for teaching and learning are delivered through high levels of insulation and air tightness, natural ventilation and simple, manual, responsive and efficient mechanical and electrical systems. Durable materials and low energy-consuming systems minimise whole-life costs, whilst buildings are future proofed and can be internally adapted to reflect the changing needs of the school over time.

The two-storey extension to Hillview School for Girls will provide a science and business faculty. Enhancements to the school will include fully-serviced science laboratories and larger classrooms, a wireless ICT environment and under-floor heating to replace radiators and increase useable wall-space. Completing at the end of 2013, the extension has been delivered at a cost substantially lower than a traditionally-constructed building as a result of the design parameters and construction method adopted.  With a shorter 19 week construction period, compared to the traditional 32 weeks bringing significant benefits, and reduced disruption for pupils and staff.

Galliford Try and Scott Brownrigg will be furthering this success with the design and delivery of Waverley Studio College in Birmingham and ‘Rising Rolls’ schools in Edinburgh.