In the mission room – BIM and CLT

Mayfield School

The recently completed extension to Mayfield School in Redbridge, north east London, is a showcase of the benefits that extensive use of BIM combined with CLT can bring.

Working alongside David Miller Architects, main contractor Bouygues UK and cross laminated timber (CLT) specialist KLH UK, Ramboll provided a full suite of engineering services for the project including structural, civil, mechanical, electrical and acoustics.

Mayfield School Model
Mayfield School Model (courtesy of David Miller Architects)

With a structural frame formed from CLT and gluelaminted members, the new facilities provide sports halls, dance studios, teaching and social areas for 800 students and 80 staff. The decision to adopt a timber frame approach was taken at an early stage and was key to achieving the 17 month programme for design and delivery, as off-site manufacturing allowed the frame to be taken off the critical path, reducing time on site, while the lightweight timber frame eliminated the need for piled foundations.

The CLT superstructure was completed in just 12 weeks and fit-out started on the lower floors whilst the upper floor frame was being erected. The CLT was left exposed where possible which reduced the number of follow on trades, as well as creating a high quality finish. In using some 2900m³ of timber, the building’s structure has stored of the order of 2500t of CO2, enough to offset the building’s operational carbon for a period of almost 10 years.

The adoption of a fully integrated BIM approach was also vital to the success of the project. All meetings of the design team were held in the ‘Mission Room’ at David Miller Architects, where a federated model from all disciplines within the design team and key members of the supply chain was used to communicate proposals, check for clashes and to ensure buildability. This rigorous review process allowed the coordinated model to be used to CNC cut the CLT, ensuring that structural and services openings would be ‘right first time’.

The use of an integrated design and construction process at Mayfield School allowed for the procurement and delivery of high quality bespoke solutions, whilst working within the reduced budgets and constrained time frames demanded by the urgent need for new school places.