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LOR / Atkins Launch Sustainable Standardised School Solution to Meet Urgent Need for More Efficient and Cost-effective Schools

23 September 2011

A collaboration of Laing O’Rourke, one of the UK’s leading schools solution providers, and worldwide engineering and design consultancy Atkins, has developed a model for delivering primary and secondary schools, using standardised building components manufactured and assembled at Europe’s leading construction offsite pre-assembly facility.

In line with the Government’s aim to achieve better buildings and better value, the Laing O’Rourke / Atkins model delivers savings of up to 30% less building cost per pupil with schools designed and delivered within 18 months, to the standard specifications outlined in the UK Government’s construction strategy.

With the well-publicised demographic pressures creating a substantial shortfall in the number of available school places over the next few years, there is an urgent need for some local authorities to prioritise and accelerate their school building programmes; all at a time of falling capital budgets. The Laing O’Rourke / Atkins standardised schools solution addresses the problem by delivering high-quality school capacity much more efficiently and cost-effectively than other approaches.

Roger Robinson, Laing O’Rourke’s European CEO, commented: "While many of our competitors are simply talking about what’s possible, we are delivering our unique sustainable schools solution in the UK today. This is possible because of the investment we have made in our state-of-the art manufacturing facility, together with our direct employment model, which gives us the surety and control necessary to build standardised schools better, faster and for less. Our approach complements the Government’s recently announced Priority School Building Programme and the wider aims to achieve better buildings and better value”.

Philip Watson, Education Director at Atkins, added: "This design and delivery approach is both unique and proven in the market, and is actively honed and refined on major school building programmes underway in the UK right now.

"The blue-print utilises a kit of parts that responds to the needs of the end-user. This allows us to create a large variety of flexible, customised layouts that deliver huge cost efficiencies at a time when every penny must count”.

David Tonkin, Atkins’ UK managing director added: "Dealing with tightening public sector spending while delivering quality infrastructure is a delicate balancing act and that is particularly true in the education sector where the standard of buildings has a direct relationship to the quality of teaching children receive. The design and delivery model Atkins and Laing O’Rourke have now developed is one of the most mature created so far and it optimises quality and cost as well as being carbon efficient.”

In line with the recommendations of the Sebastian James’ Review into school building in the UK, the LOR / Atkins solution achieves the following benefits better, faster and for less cost:

- New sustainable school solution to deliver bespoke schools using standardised building components

- Creation of sustainable energy efficient assets that have significantly reduced maintenance and life cycle costs

- Efficient design and delivery methodology that meets UK Government’s targets for new school building programme – Better, Faster, For Less

- Up to 30% less building cost per pupil, with increased savings derived from larger volume build programmes

- Efficiencies engineered into the solution to reduce whole-life cost through lower maintenance costs

- Ability to create designs to meet the specific learning needs of any school, of any size and on any site

- Unrivalled track record in the UK education sector, with schools being delivered to this design specification and construction methodology within an 18 months timeframe in the UK today

- In-house manufacturing facility with the expertise and capacity to deliver schools to the standardised specifications outlined in UK Government’s construction strategy.