Harris Academy, Purley


Part new build, part existing structure, this project rejuvenated a secondary school in South Croydon using PT and RC solutions to create large open spaces.

The building as we found it, consisted of two parts – the original 1950s school building as well as a newer 2002 wing. Our challenge was to develop an additional new 4 storey wing and maximise the potential of the existing structures within the current building footprint.

In the 2002 wing we knocked through existing masonry walls and installed supporting steel beams allowing for sliding doors to be installed and larger classrooms to be created.

During this project we identified a previously unrecorded live sewer running through the car park. With this in mind we designed the undercroft/car park retaining wall around the sewer so there would be no impact by any further construction work.

Over the course of the project we were able to save the client construction costs by suggesting post-tensioned (PT) slabs and beams. As well as being cost effective, the long spans of these materials provided large open plan areas and the flat slabs allowed full height glazing to achieve plenty of natural light. We also made further cost savings by removing the need for piles and suggesting a large reinforced concrete (RC) pad foundation for the tower crane base instead.

In order to give our client absolute confidence from the start, we took the step of supplying full RC details for tender. This meant that, in the turbulent economic state of the industry at the time, we were able to reduce the client’s financial risk.


Key Facts

  • Client: Wilmott Dixon Construction
  • Location: Croydon
  • Year: 2012
  • Summary:
    Academy specialising in Business & Enterprise and Sport catering for 1150 pupils. BREEAM Excellent rated with high Client and End User satisfaction. 12,000sqm (9,090sqm new & 2,910sqm refurb).

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