Extensive housing developments in the Armadale area resulted in a significant increase in the pupil intake at
James Stevenson, Briefing and Liaison Officer at West Lothian Council, says: “Portakabin emerged as the successful bidder. We already knew of its reputation in the education sector, and the quality of its buildings proved far superior to anything else on offer. The timescale for the project posed a huge challenge, since everything from planning permission and building warrant applications to design, build and fitting out had to be completed in just three months.”
Portakabin provided a complete design and build turnkey package, including all groundworks, fitting out and site landscaping. To provide the number of extra places required, Portakabin specified two double classroom blocks with integral toilet facilities. These were fitted out with fire and intruder alarms, as well as security access systems linked back to the main school.
The site itself represented a significant challenge, since it was steeply sloping and had restricted access. Portakabin took charge of all the logistics, planning and road closure arrangements for the installation, using two cranes combined with a shunter lorry to manoeuvre the modules into position.
The sloping site required considerable groundworks and a special foundation design to create a level access to the buildings. Portakabin also had to install a pumping station to pump rain and waste water uphill to the nearest mains drainage point.
James continues: “In spite of all this, Portakabin completed everything on schedule and on budget. All site-based work was done during the six-week summer holidays and the buildings were handed over on the agreed date. Everything ran very smoothly thanks to the ingenuity and project management skills of the Portakabin team. Had the project not run to schedule, the consequences for the school and pupils would have been dreadful.
“Portakabin managers even went into school at the start of term to give a presentation to the children about the new building, explaining how it was constructed and showing a time-lapse film of the process. It was a great way to involve the children in the project and to strengthen community relations.”
“There had historically been some resistance to using modular style classrooms in the area, so this was a major decision for the council to make. Now, the standard of the new Portakabin buildings is starting to change opinions and perceptions. The teachers have been genuinely amazed by the quality of the buildings, inside and out, which look and feel just like permanent new buildings.”
James Stevenson, Briefing and Liaison Officer, West Lothian Council