Gideon Levene, head of Projects at Styles&Wood, surveys the changing landscape of school refurbishment.

“As the government and local authorities look to follow through with plans to increase the number of school places to the required 417,000 by 2015, the refurbishment sector is astir with activity. With purse strings tightening, it is up to contractors to come up with creative ways to utilise existing space to its full potential.”

“In an effort to achieve the thousands of additional school places the UK needs, education building design is being driven by the best use of space. Increasingly, the question project delivery specialists have to ask themselves is how to make the most of what a school already has and if necessary, how they can efficiently extend it, without compromising its outdoor spaces. All the while, average budgets are noticeably shrinking.”

“There has been a major shift since the days of the grand designs associated with the BSF programme and it remains a moving feast, with the specification of school refurbishment having changed dramatically in as little as five years. In this new context, designers and contractors have come up with some creative approaches to tackling recurring themes.”

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