Wednesday, 30 April 2008

In Goes our Temporary Accommodation

As promised, here are some pictures of the temporary accommodation going in. Watching this sort of thing in action is amazing. It's the most efficient operation - a bit like giant lego. A lorry rolls in, a bit of classroom is craned off and slotted in, the lorry rumbles away and the next lorry rolls in.

Recently I was given my official hard-hard hat and flourescent vest and got to see inside the classrooms. I think the teachers will be very pleased. Here are the picures of the early part of the installation. Apologies for the layout. It's my first attempt at uploading photos onto the blog.

This was pretty early on during digging the foundations. Progress seemed pretty slow at first.

Just before the Spring Break the area looked like this.

The rest of the pictures were all taken in one day so you can see how quickly everything sprung up.

This was taken at about 9am.

And this is how it's done.... comes a piece of classroom.

Left a bit, right a bit.....

...down a bit, and that's that. They all fitted the foundations absolutely perfectly. Each classroom is made up of 3 or 4 of these units.

We're not sure what was happening here. We were hoping for bungee action, but were sadly disappointed.

This was progress at around midday. By the end of the day the whole classroom block was in place.

And this is one of Sophie's arty shots.

The blocks have now been handed over to the builders for final fitting. Staff get to visit them tomorrow.

The admin and toilet blocks are due in the next couple of days, so it seems everything's on target for the big move over half term. I see or speak with the builders most days. They seem to be dealing with problem after problem (insufficient electrical supplies, no potable water, problems with access that were unforseen etc. etc.) that would have me tearing my hair out, but they assure me all big projects are like this, and they still seem amazingly cheery.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

It's All Systems Go

Hopefully I'm now going to be able to start posting about what's happening on site, rather than griping about slow progress.

We're in a very strange situation at the moment. Our Governing Body still haven't agreed to enter BSF and financial close isn't likely until late May/early June, and yet, as anyone who's been past the school lately will have spotted, there's rapid development of the site.

Portable classrooms literally sprung up overnight. Before the Spring holidays we were extremely anxious that not much was happening. After the Spring holidays we have a classroom village on our playground. Wilmott Dixon, our builders, are well and truly on site. I'm feeling very reassured about how that's going to work. We have two really good Project Managers assigned to our school. They do what they say they're going to do, make sensible decisions and it's all starting to feel like a proper partnership.

We're now facing "the big move" full on. Over the Whitsun half-term about 50% of the school will be moving into temporary accommodation and we're having to plan it like a military operation. The next four weeks are going to be extremely busy and there are a number of loose ends not as yet tied up. We need to sort out any furniture we need early plus our ICT decant requirements. A lot of the delay is due to the odd situation we're in, whereby there's still no commitment from the school and yet we will need some furniture and ICT kit from the BSF budget that we can't theoretically touch yet. How this is going to be managed is still being picked through, but I really hope there's a sense of urgency. Of course, there's also always the chance that Governors won't agree and we all have to move back into our original spaces and the builders pick up their temporary classrooms and take them home again.

From my point of view most of the really contentious issues are now dealt with, although we are still waiting for revised legal agreements and I'm just about to start going through the proposed final plans in great detail, so there's still plenty of potential for problems. On Friday I met with one of our Design Advisers who explained what the process would be for dealing with queries, and that there's a grading in place for matters that can be resolved after financial close, and matters that have to be resolved urgently.

We've been taking pictures of the portable buildings going on to site, so the next post will actually be visual rather than the usual reams of text. We're planning to put a lot more pictures on the blog from now on, so that you can really see the progress.

Meeting Count 2/11/07 - 25/4/08 Eighty