Kents Hill Infants School – Window Replacement

Key Facts:

Client Name: Kents Hill Infant School
Location: Benfleet, Essex
Type of client: Infant Academy
Services provided by M+C: Building Surveying | Procurement | Project Management | Funding Application
Value: £370,000
Contractor: Avenue Architectural Glazing

Kents Hill Infant Academy is a school in the Benfleet area of Essex. The school is performing well and gained a grading of “Outstanding” at their most recent Ofsted grading. The buildings, built in the 1960s, are suffering from degradation and a program of refurbishment is underway to address this.

The school’s window issues

The school approached M+C to support them in preparing a bid to gain CIF funding. The purpose of this project was to replace the aged and failing windows within the school. In addition, there was asbestos present in both the void between the windows and the roof, and the fascia boards. Both this project, and one to replace the roof, would cause disturbance to these asbestos containing materials (ACMs), making it necessary to factor specialist removal into the works.

M+C completed a condition survey to determine the areas of concern with the current windows. They were then able to use the findings as the basis for the funding bid application. As well as the asbestos issues, they found that not only were the existing single-glazed, metal-framed windows in very poor condition, but also offered very little in terms of thermal performance. Therefore the school were making costly localised repairs, and also spending far greater sums than necessary on heating the buildings.

M+C’s solution

The M+C design team then produced a specification for the replacement windows. The school’s priorities were to:

  • Improve thermal performance
  • Remove the existing Health and Safety and Security risks posed by the current solution
  • Reduce their utilities expenditure
  • Achieve the best value for money replacements
  • Achieve the greatest life expectancy possible from any solution

To satisfy these priorities, M+C specified toughened double glazed window units. Although they did consider using PVC framed units, the life expectancy of metal is far greater. Whilst using PVC would generate initial savings, this would prove a false economy long-term as they would require replacement at least once during the lifetime of their metal-framed counterparts. It is for this reason that Essex County Council recommend that all replacement window units have metal frames.

Funding and delivery

Having finalised the specification, M+C commenced the tender process enabling the school to demonstrate cost certainty to the ESFA, making their case as robust as possible. Three contractors submitted a tender for the works, the most competitive of which was Avenue Architectural Glazing. Although the school were unable to contribute any funds to the project from their reserves, they were in a position to strengthen their funding application by taking advantage of a Salix loan. Savings on energy costs fund Salix loan repayments, which is therefore a cost neutral funding option available to the school.

The CIF team approved the school’s funding application and M+C’s project management team took over to manage the delivery of the works. They worked closely with Avenue to schedule the works carefully, not only to minimise disruption to learning but also to factor in the time needed for asbestos removal. Therefore, the main bulk of the project took place over the summer break. The project was complete by the September 2017, whereupon M+C handed over to a delighted senior management team.