Wednesday 23 September 2020

Construction progress of The Heights at MPF

On Friday I went to Mapledurham Playing Fields and visited The Heights school building to see how construction was coming along. With me kitted out with my safety hat, high viz and safety glasses, Andy Mason - Kier's Senior Site Manager - kindly showed me around. 

As is visible from outside Kier's boundary fencing, the school's steel frame is encased by scaffolding, with monoflex on the western side to give residents living closest to the school privacy from the workmen.

Inside the site I was struck by the quantity of grey soundproofing panels on the inside of the construction boundary fencing. Also noticeable was the drop in ground level in the north-west corner, the school being at least a metre lower than Hewett Close. 

One challenge the pandemic has created is the need for Kier to increase welfare space. Their canteen, which usually would hold up to 30 people, can only be used by 5. So 2 further canteens are being delivered, plus an extra office and toilet block (the latter will be connected to the tank on the north-eastern side to keep any smells away from residents' homes).These welfare units will take up space on site which means construction material deliveries must be timed meticulously for immediate use.

Andy showed me the ground floor which was being worked on as we spoke. Preparation of the floor slab includes a 250 mm layer of sand then an insulation membrane, finished off with 250 mm of concrete. This should be completed this week.

The first floor's concrete was poured last week. Next goes down the latex. The steel framing system (SFS) arrives this week. It will be installed first on the western side. Then, to minimise future impact to residents nearest the school, this side will have its exterior boarding completed as this will help shield them from the rest of the works.

To minimise noise, the steel panels have been cut to size off site at the manufacturers. This has meant the concrete floors and the frame have had to be constructed incredibly accurately with a tolerance level of just 3 mm instead of the normal 25 mm. 

Kier are going above and beyond too by building a soundproofed room to house a cutting machine, again to minimise disturbance to residents. 

We climbed up the temporary, external stairs to the roof, where all the school's plant will be located as well as a large quantity of solar panels. 

It was fantastic to see the Playing Fields from this view point. They are looking so good. Installation of the path from Chazey Road to the Pavilion, which will make the area much more accessible for all, is nearing completion (visible in the photo).

It was good also to get a bird's eye view of the Pavilion's spanking new roof, completed in the last few weeks. I'll post a picture of this as well as internal photos in the next few days once I've checked out how the Pavilion's refurbishment is going.

The school is on track for Easter 2021 completion. If you have any questions, do let me know.