Cromwell High School

Cromwell High School

Project Title: Cromwell High School Extension and Refurbishment

Client: Inspired Spaces/Tameside Borough Council

Client Contact: Chris McKenzie-Grieve – LEP Manager

Project Duration: 6 Months

Project Value: £1,600,000.00

Scope: To Re-build the main part of the school and refurbish other areas as result of fire.


Cromwell High School is a specialist, state funded high school for disabled children or those with learning difficulties. It is nestled in amongst two other large schools and shares its grounds with Astley High School. Sadly, the school was set alight over 12 months ago by local youths and the fire caused devastating damage to the core of the school requiring a large section to be re-built and the remaining areas requiring refurbishment due to the significant fire damage.

In 2017, JCL commenced work on rising Cromwell from the Ashes, whilst working on a D&B basis with design partners and the client team from Hewitt Freeborn Associates. The School’s Head Master, Tameside Borough Council and Inspired Spaces senior representatives were also heavily involved in the planning stages of the project.

Works comprised of:

  •  Enabling and demolition works including preparation of the ground floor slab
  • Design co-ordination and development of the proposed architectural design
  • Construction of External Walls and Facades
  • Design and construction of roof system, comprising of trusses and a combination of warm and cold roof solutions.
  • Design and Installation of Roof Lights and Automation
  • Design and Installation of Bespoke Mechanical, Ventilation and Electrical Services throughout the new and existing building
  • Installation of New internal walls.
  • Design and installation of surface finishes. Such as suspended ceilings, decoration and internal joinery. All developed to accommodate DDA accessibility, and the visually impaired, with a fun engaging theme for the end user.
  • Design, installation and commission of specialist equipment such as Hydrotherapy pool and hoists.
  • Installation of teaching equipment and fixtures and fittings
  • External works – comprising of groundworks, soft and hard landscaping and the installation of specialist play equipment.

The main challenges on this project are:

  •  Programme: As the children and staff who normally occupy the school have had to move into temporary accommodation and the project is high profile for Tameside Borough Council, keeping to the agreed completion date of the 26th August 2017 is of the highest importance for the client. JCL are currently on programme and look set to easily achieve their agreed handover date. As the project has been procured on a design and build basis, JCL have had work tirelessly thus far, to ensure that the design is fully developed and ready for implementation on site. There have been a number of issues with the original design which was created by the client’s architect which has meant significant re-design following more in-depth investigation and survey on site.
  • Design Development: As mentioned briefly above there has been a significant element of re-design required particularly in relation to the roof structure and mechanical installations which have been challenging for the project team. Originally the roof structure was identified as having a 17.5 degree pitch with a traditional concrete interlocking tile covering, however upon further and investigation and survey upon taking over the site, it was found that the roof was in-fact only 12 degrees and was covered with an aluminium sheet tile. This required significant re-design to the trusses, and passivent system in order to account for the significant changes in structural integrity and loadings of the roof system. As the roof design affected many of the other elements of the superstructure design, JCL had to work quickly with the design team to find a solution to the project within the programme restraints. We are pleased to say that this has been achieved.
  • Working in a live School Environment: Cromwell High School is connected to its neighbour Astley High School which is a live school environment and adjacent is another primary school. JCL have had to segregate safe working areas with the Astley School Students and staff and regularly meet with the school staff and caretakers to review the plan and to keep them updated with works etc. All JCL staff that work on the project are fully DBS checked and have undertaken safeguarding training and inductions. JCL also actively look to only use sub-contractors on the project which are also compliant with this procedure