The Cavendish School - McAvoy

Project Details

Project - The Cavendish School

Sector - Education

Technology - Component

Company - McAvoy

Project Overview

 The Cavendish School on the outskirts of Cambridge, is the world’s first International Baccalaureate (IB) special free school for young people with autism. Funded by the DfE and led by Eastern Learning Alliance (ELA), it represents culmination of years of planning. The school can accommodate up to 110 students, aged from 7-19. It  comprises two detached buildings, one singlestorey (for Primary School) and the other two-storey (for Secondary School).

Their layout and design were developed to be conducive to learning and sensitive to the students’ complex social and emotional needs. As an SEN School this project was delivered to the client Employers Requirements, with COBie data input to make the models ‘data rich.’ The project used BS 1192 and PAS 1192-2 as the defining standards, following the company’s accreditation processes. This ensured that the information sharing was a constant evolution, allowing all disciplines to progress their designs with
confidence that these were co-ordinated to a high standard.

Challenge 1: The project was placed on a site adjacent to an existing school facility at Impington Village  College.

Challenge 2: The school was to be built on land designated as a green-belt and was located within a heritage zone. This resulted in a protracted and complex planning process.

Challenge 3: As a turnkey project, the school had to be designed and fitted-out with the complex sensory and emotional needs of the students in mind.

Challenge 4: Given its design, planning and site logistics’ complexities, the project required close collaboration between McAvoy, The Education Learning Alliance and the DfE.

Challenge 5: A perfect storm of Brexit and Lockdown 2 which created human resource issues.

McAvoy’s ability to complete almost two-thirds of construction within its own strictly controlled manufacturing facility significantly reduced onsite disruption. This included modular steel frames, external and internal partitions, and electrical containment. 65% of the mechanical services were pre-installed, inclusive of plumbing pipe work,  ventilation ductwork and heat recovery units. Additionally, all of the external glazing was pre-installed. Ongoing, open communication was vital during the planning process
especially with the project having to go through multiple design iterations to meet demanding planning requirements and address concerns from consultees.

Digital technology was harnessed to the full to ensure information could be accessed quickly and decisions made without any undue delays. The use of 3D software  enabled multiple design iterations to be produced, which included various steel elements and MEP equipment, to enhance building aesthetics.