Helping to deliver improved facilities for children in Maidenhead
Based in Maidenhead, Forest Bridge School is a Special Free School for children and young people between the ages of 4-16 with a primary diagnosis of autism.
With up to 96 pupils when at capacity, the school offers therapeutic support and teaching, with the aim that each student will be able to leave the school and progress into training, employment, or further education.
The school was set up by a group of parents who wanted to ensure children with autism could receive an education tailored for their needs and had been operating from a temporary location on an old school site since opening in 2015.
Having subsequently found a suitable permanent location at Braywick park, Maidenhead, Kier Construction were appointed as main contractors for the architect-designed, purpose-built school, which will provide the children with improved facilities and allow the school to increase their intake.
The school’s new location is situated within greenbelt land, but the need for the facility, together with a design for the building that was sympathetic to its surroundings, meant that the benefits for the development outweighed its limited impact on the greenbelt.
The intelligently designed building recognises that children may be taught at the school for the full duration of their education, with individual wings for primary and secondary age pupils forming a central courtyard. Part single storey, part two storey, all the classrooms are on the ground floor and lead out to key stage specific external areas, to provide space for external dining and recreation.
We’ve worked with Kier on many previous projects and were brought in by them here to supply and fix the Siberian larch timber cladding, as well as install Kingspan K15 Kooltherm insulation and Siderise fire brackets.
The Kingspan Kooltherm K15 Rainscreen Board is a high-performance insulation, designed to sit behind rainscreen cladding. The rainscreen board delivers thermal conductivities as low as 0.020 W/m.K and is resistant to water vapour, so won’t sag or rot when behind rainscreen cladding or other surfaces. The premium product will contribute to a better overall U-value and help minimise heating demand for the school.
Brickwork and striking larch timber cladding were specified for the exterior walls of the school. As one of the most versatile and sustainable building materials, it’s vital that timber is installed by a team that have the knowledge and understanding of the quality and grade required for every unique project.
In the case of the cladding used at the school, and in accordance with the specification, the timber was fire and Osmo treated, the Osmo treatment giving long term UV protection and helping the wood to maintain its natural aesthetic and durability.
We installed larch cladding to the exterior walls using the Nvelope NV6 system for supporting timber battens. The concealed fix system uses flexible point brackets that absorb wind loading and allow for expansion and contraction, with the bracket spacing determined by the dimension and weight of the cladding, in addition to local wind loads.
One of the design features on this project was the chunky ‘hit and miss’, Osmo treated larch cladding to the roof terrace areas on either end, designed to give students access to an external provision on the upper floors. The cladding we installed allows wind to pass through the area, whilst providing screening and a safe space for students to find quiet sanctuary.
Overbrick flashing was used to separate the larch from the brick and deflect water away from the building. Here again we drew on our years of experience, as improperly installed flashing can result in water being directed into the building.
The final aspect of our contribution to this fantastic project was to render the school’s plant room, a service close to our hearts and our main offering when we started the company more than ten years ago.
Paul Michaelson, Eden Facades Construction Director, who worked closely with main contractor Kier and our team on site in Maidenhead, comments,” The school opened in spring and it looks stunning. We worked well alongside the other trades on site and our team were able to be very flexible to accommodate this and ensure the school was delivered on time, and on budget. We were pleased to have been involved in such an important project and hope the children will be very happy in their new home.”