Secondary school built in 12-weeks

A long-standing relationship and productive partnership has enabeled offsite building specialist Caledonian Modular, and leading drywall manufacturer Siniat, to supply and build a secondary school in 12-weeks whilst the UK has been on lockdown.

The brand-new secondary school was created at the Sir Frederick Gibberd College, at the site of the former Passmore School in Harlow, Essex. It comprises a 1,200-place secondary school built over three storeys; including a school hall, dining hall, drama studio and a 500 place sixth form teaching area, as well as sports facilities and all associated external works and sports pitches.

The spectacular timelapse video shows just how efficiently the three-storey C-shaped building was assembled; constructed offsite using 198 modules, limiting disruption, noise, and waste.

Caledonian’s strategy is to use offsite manufacturing techniques, maximising the extent of onsite groundworks prior to the modules arriving at the site, which are delivered and installed with final decorations, floor coverings and furniture completed at their Newark based manufacturing facility. This significantly reduces disruption to the school and local community, maximises quality control and drastically reduces the overall project timescales.

Siniat manufactured and supplied the drywall, fireboard and fixtures and fittings to enable the school to be constructed whilst the students were at home social distancing. Key enablers in supporting the delivery of this project during the UK’s lockdown was the continued provision of design and technical support, logistical excellence, quality control, navigating lean lead times, contingency planning and problem solving.

During these difficult times, Siniat took the view that it was important to support not just the priority healthcare projects, but also other essential construction projects such as schools, to enable these projects to keep moving. From the outset, their teams worked tirelessly to review operational processes to ensure that they complied with all social distancing guidelines, protected the health of their colleagues, and enabled them to continue to manufacture and supply product to the market.

‘The key driver in successfully delivering a building of high quality in a time efficient manner via a Modern Methods Construction methodology is having supply partners that understand the importance of these key enablers’ noted Stephen Reynolds, Strategic Sourcing Manager for Caledonian Modular.

‘During Covid-19, with the industry operating under significant disruption, Caledonian Modular were asked to step up to deliver key infrastructure projects such as Sir Frederick Gibberd School. This would not be possible without Siniat delivering substantial support and critical material on lean lead times during this period. Siniat proactively found solutions to capacity bottlenecks, particularly around lamination, to ensure Caledonian could continue to deliver for our clients. This is a great example of how the Supply Chain can come together and operate as One Team.’

The secondary school is due to move across to the new building in 2021 when its new academic sixth form, with 500 places, will also open. Work to convert further accommodation at Burnt Mill to house the next cohort will start soon to be ready for this September. The Sir Frederick Gibberd College was secured by Caledonian under Department for Education (DfE) frameworks.

To find out more about how Siniat can supply your off-site construction projects, visit:

To find out more about Caledonian’s modular building and off-site construction solutions, visit:

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