Cumbria County Council wanted to replace the buildings which housed the community centre and children’s nursery at Stanwix Primary School with a new single storey permanent 1450 sq ft nursery facility. The existing buildings had been in situ as temporary buildings for many years and had reached the end of their useful life. It was decided to replace the buildings with structures which were designed to have a long life span.
The school is on the site a World Heritage Site, with Roman remains from a Hadrian’s Wall fort just below the surface. Because of this it was essential that the building works should in no way damage the archaeological heritage of the area. Traditional style foundations were not an option as they would damage the site of the Roman wall beneath the site, so a more lightweight option had to be found. In addition, the new building itself had to be lightweight, and installed with a minimum of wear and tear to the site.
These restrictions meant that a modular building was the perfect solution to the challenges posed by the site. By using a modular solution, the site build time can be reduced by half, and traffic on the site by 90%. This had a positive impact, not only on the carbon footprint of the project, but also the wear and tear on a delicate site.
The resulting building was specifically designed to avoid any excavation of the site; a maximum of 100mm of the surface was removed to create a level surface with a 200mm concrete raft foundation. A steel beam structure rested on the top of this and provided the support for the modular nursery building.
The nursery was constructed from SIPS Industries panels, which were cut to shape and then pre-assembled in a factory setting. The completed building was shipped to site in one module; the total project took six weeks from the manufacture of the SIPs panels to handing over the keys of the finished building.
The modular building has a design life of at least 60 years, which is similar to conventional but non-traditional building life-spans. The replacement building had to balance the needs of the buildings occupiers with the two historic environment objectives. The external appearance of the building was also important, due to the protected nature of the site and surrounding Conservation Area.
The project was carried out in conjunction with Eco Estates and Reiver Lodges.