Diamond Build has completed a £5.7m project that will provide enhanced facilities at a school for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Located in the London Borough of Merton, Cricket Green School welcomes children aged four to 19 with complex and varied needs. Diamond Build was appointed as the main contractor for the project, which included the construction of a new two-storey building featuring nine new classrooms. Two existing buildings were also extended to create a new reception, meeting room and play therapy area as well as a larger school hall and music hub.
Targeted to achieve a BREEAM Very Good rating, the new building has been constructed with a highly insulated building fabric, a green roof and solar panels. As dismantling, recycling or reusing building components is one of the performance criteria outlined in BREEAM, Diamond Build sought to do this throughout the construction process, including recycling timber to create a new allotment shed for the children.
The construction programme spanned 20 months and the school remained open throughout the works, so was delivered in phases.
Michael Celoro, Project Manager at Diamond Build, said: “Working on a live site required careful coordination with the school to prioritise health and safety and ensure any disruption was minimised. As children with SEND can be more sensitive to sound, noise was another important consideration. It was vital that we made the school aware of any loud construction work so that they could prepare by taking the children off site when necessary or by providing headphones.”
Diamond Build’s site team also rolled out an engagement programme to help sensitively engage and involve the children in the building work.
Michael continued: “At the beginning of the programme, we sat down with the teaching staff to discuss and agree a programme of carefully planned and tailored activities. These were aimed at involving children of all ages in the building journey and enhancing their learning experiences and life skills.”
Speaking about the construction process and new facilities, Celia Dawson, Headteacher at Cricket Green School, added: “Our experience with Diamond Build was very good from day one. Thanks to the project manager’s skills and knowledge we felt included in the process and listened to if we had any issues or concerns.
“We particularly benefited from the way our pupil’s needs were considered. The Diamond Build team engaged all children in the build and in many different and imaginative ways, and always age appropriately.
“We now have a wonderful new building, which is not only smart and fit-for-purpose, but which is universally appreciated and enjoyed. We feel so proud of all that has been achieved and the positive messages it gives to our pupils, parents, staff and the wider community.”
The school’s expansion was designed by architects Hamson Barron Smith.