As part of their vision for children, young people, and their families, East Renfrewshire Council in Scotland took the decision to replace the area’s existing Williamwood High School and Carlibar Primary School and extend the existing Mearns Castle and Woodfarm High Schools.

Helping to deliver a first class educational experience for thousands of Scottish schoolchildren was the key objective of the East Renfrewshire Schools project.

East Renfrewshire Council’s second Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deal – the Building Schools for the 21st Century PPP Project – comprises the design, construction, operation, maintenance, and financing of these separate school facilities in suburban communities on the south side of Glasgow.

This was a complicated project as the two extensions were key parts of the existing schools and construction had to be carried out while the schools remained open. BAM PPP worked closely with its sister companies BAM Construction and BAM FM to deliver this project.

SPV General Manager Iain Harris outlined some of the challenges which the project presented for the BAM team and why it was so significant for the local community.

“The East Renfrewshire Schools project – Building Schools for the 21st century – was very complex, particularly because construction on the two extensions would be carried out while the schools remained open, which is always a challenge in any construction project.

“The development required very detailed consultation between the Council, the school management team, and BAM in order to identify the scope of the remodelling works and agree how they would be scheduled to ensure there would be no disruption to teaching within the main areas being affected.”

For Williamwood High School, the project meant the replacement of a 1,700-student secondary school on a greenfield site. For Mearns Castle and Woodfarm High Schools, it would involve the extension of the two existing 1,000-student secondary schools, together with some internal remodelling and the demolition of detached annexes.

“As part of the extension work at Woodfarm High, our team had to remodel parts of the existing school in advance of the new extension works to provide adequate teaching spaces during the build period. Ultimately, those teaching spaces would become permanent after the extension works had been completed.

“We also had to take into account periods when examinations were taking place and make arrangements to stop certain works so we could avoid any disruption for the pupils.”

New Approaches

Working in partnership with its sister companies BAM Construction and BAM FM, BAM PPP took a typically innovative approach to the development of the project. Our PPP team are renowned for their commitment to the use of the latest technology and new techniques in our projects.

The East Renfrewshire schools were the first to use the ‘BAM Teaching Wall’ which improved the classroom environment by combining storage, whiteboards, interactive boards, and speakers into a single piece of fixed furniture.

At Carlibar Primary, we worked with the school to design a new special needs unit for young children with complex autistic needs. That included measures designed to reduce external stimulants from entering the classrooms, as well as ensuring children were at reduced risk of self-harm.

BAM FM delivers a variety of FM services on behalf of East Renfrewshire Schools Ltd including building and monitoring & evaluation maintenance, grounds maintenance, helpdesk services, and janitorial services.

BAM’s long-term approach to client support was also evident from its procurement of high-quality furniture for all the schools in the project whilst enhancing the teaching environment, the aim being to achieve 25 to 30 years of life from equipment such as classroom tables and chairs, which substantially reduced the lifecycle budget for the client.

Margaret McCrossan, Head of Accountancy:

“Certain characteristics of the project required highly tailored solutions and BAM PPP invested significant time and effort in listening to our views and ensuring that their designs met out Education/Technical team’s expectations.”

Grant Robertson, Strategic Services Manager, East Renfrewshire Council:

“The continuity of key staff throughout the process has, in my opinion, been a major factor in this development and has permitted our relationship to mature which has undoubtedly been to the benefit of the Project.”

Project Details

Client: East Renfrewshire Council

Location: East Renfrewshire, Scotland – Clarkston, Barrhead, Newton Mearns, Thornliebank

Capital Value: €82m

Contract duration: 25 years

Sponsor/Investor: BAM PPP (100%)

Design & Build Contractor: BAM Construction

Facilities Management Provider: BAM FM