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Portakabin and Mace complete emergency school in record-breaking time

27/10/2017

Kensington Aldridge Academy (KAA2) is now bustling with over 900 students after a build program of just nine weeks

The temporary school is the company’s biggest emergency response build to date, was constructed off-site and is made up of over 200 individual modules.

Following the unfolding of the tragic events on 14 June, the Education Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) approached consultancy and construction group Mace and modular experts Portakabin to provide a new building for the pupils of Kensington Aldridge Academy, which is located at the base of Grenfell Tower.

Working closely with the ESFA and Mace, engineers at Portakabin designed a temporary six block school, located in North Kensington, just over a mile from the school’s permanent location.

Built in just nine weeks, the school grew at a record pace with an average of seven pre-constructed modules a day being delivered to site, direct from the Portakabin manufacturing facility in York.

Though being built to an extremely challenging timeframe and at times, an evolving design, neither the quality nor function of the new school was to be compromised. Pupils were to have like-for-like facilities in their new school. KAA2 contains a dining hall, science laboratories, food technology, an IT suite, two libraries, a dance and drama studio and a Special Educational Needs centre. Over 42,000 man hours were dedicated to support the build, which opened as planned on Monday 18 September.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said: “I want to congratulate everyone involved in moving Kensington Aldridge Academy to their new site. It is an incredible achievement to build a school of this scale in record-breaking time after such tragic events.

“It was hugely impressive to see all the organisations involved working together under pressure to deliver a project of this magnitude successfully and minimise the disruption it caused to pupils. David Benson has done a fantastic job of leading all his staff and pupils through a difficult time, and I want to thank him for his inspiring work over the last four months.”

Derek Carter, CEO, Portakabin said: “What has been achieved for Kensington Aldridge Academy in such a tight timeframe is testament to our steadfast belief that our buildings deliver outstanding quality. The high quality finish of the building was not compromised by the demanding programme and we replicated every facility from the former school, delivering over 7,500mē of teaching and learning space in just nine weeks. As well as a learning environment; KAA2 offers routine, structure and a safe place for the school’s 900 students to continue their education.”

David Benson, Principal of KAA: “We have had a positive start to the academic year and we are extremely grateful for the hard work of Portakabin, Mace and the EFSA in enabling us to welcome our students back to lessons on schedule in September. Staff and students have settled into our excellent new facilities, which replicate what we have in our original building, aiding us to deliver the same rich curriculum to our students for the year and ensuring their education is not impacted by the temporary move.”

Phoebe Leach, Mace’s project director, said: “Portakabin and Mace have worked closely to deliver this temporary school to ensure that the pupils of KAA have access to suitable facilities for the next twelve months. It has been a hugely emotional project to work on. It’s been very moving to see everyone in the supply chain move heaven and earth to deliver a fully functioning school for nearly 1,000 pupils in less than 13 weeks from the date of the fire. This is a real testament to what you can do when every member of a team is pulling in the same direction.”



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