Laing O’Rourke has reached financial close on the Yorkshire Batch of the Government’s Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP). With a value of £120m the project involves the financing, and design and construction of seven secondary schools in the West and North Yorkshire areas, Beckfoot Upper Heaton, Samuel Lister Academy, Carlton Bolling College and Oakbank schools in the Bradford Area, All Saints Catholic College and Whitcliffe Mount schools in the Kirklees area, and Harrogate High School.
The schools will benefit in excess of 7,000 students, providing them with a carefully designed new environment in which to learn. The school buildings are designed around double and triple height spaces for communal areas such as the halls and dining areas, giving the students an abundance of natural daylighting. Each school will also have its own standalone sports centre with integral changing facilities.
The project will be financed under the PF2 model, by a consortium of lenders secured through an Aggregator Vehicle.
Yorkshire Learning Partnership, a special purpose vehicle formed by Laing O’Rourke Group, Equitix and IUK Investments Limited, has been appointed to deliver the project, and has contracted with Laing O’Rourke Construction to design and build the schools, and to provide the FM services.
The milestone of financial close had been delayed due to a late application to award listed building status to one of the existing school buildings that was due to be demolished. Although FC had been delayed, the Education Funding Agency, Equitix, IUK, and Laing O’Rourke worked collaboratively together to limit the consequential effects to the construction programmes, and works have progressed under early works agreements.
Although this led to some disruption to the works, this has been largely mitigated by Laing O’Rourke’s Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) approach, as this has enabled works to progress as planned through the second wettest winter on record. This has allowed the parties to agree revised service availability dates which significantly reduce the impact of the delay on teaching and learning. The first three schools will move into the new buildings in the early part of 2017, a further three schools following in September 2017, with the largest school becoming available in the Spring of 2018.
The DfMA approach will also offer benefits in the delivery of quality and compliance, with factory standards of quality control being applied to major components such as external wall panels. This will achieve a consistently high standard of installation which has resulted in the FM service charges, being some of the lowest seen in comparison to similar projects.