Morgan Sindall’s outstanding performance at Surrey school

Harry White, project manager at Morgan Sindall, shares his experience working on Ash Manor School – a new £4m standalone purpose-built Performing Arts Centre.

The Performing Arts Centre (PAC) at Ash Manor School in Ash, Surrey, is a new 10,763 sq ft building – a combination of both single and two-storey – that will primarily house a theatre. Alongside the performance space, Morgan Sindall Construction has delivered a control room, stage seating and lighting areas.

As project manager I was responsible for the scheme from the start to completion. My role included project planning and communicating with the client to minimise disruptions and delivering the school on schedule to a high quality.

I also looked after site safety – ensuring all members of the team were adhering to health and safety rules and identifying risks and concerns, liaising with the team to prevent any issues.

The centre also contains six new classrooms, including two drama rooms, two music rooms and two science labs. To futureproof the investment, all rooms feature flexible interior design features, allowing them to adapt to activities, group sizes and individual pupil needs.

The project was procured through the Orbis Partnership framework, a shared services partnership managed by the local authority with Brighton and Hove City Council and East Sussex County Council.

Solar panels were installed to provide a more sustainable source of energy and reduce carbon emissions. A tree protection zone was also established to ensure trees in the school’s grounds were retained for wildlife protection purposes.

The build delivered a great deal of satisfaction for all on site. Throughout the project we established core values regarding the supply chain and procurement of key suppliers which supports the local economy and provides jobs.

Communication about the project enabled us to maintain a good relationship with the client and local area. We also avoided overcrowding on site and disruptions by timing deliveries to suit the school.

The entrance of Ash Manor’s PAC

It wasn’t without its challenges, of course. Working during the pandemic caused issues within the leading time and supply chain which had to be managed throughout our procurement. Through constant communication with the suppliers, we were able to mitigate this.

We also had to manage sites through strict covid procedures to ensure a safe working environment. This included additional site cabins, one-way systems, face coverings and strict cleaning of facilities. Thanks to everyone pulling together, we managed to avoid any significant outbreaks and site closures.

Throughout the project I learned about key engagement within our supply and material suppliers, and built relationships with stakeholders such as the community and school.

Harry White is a project manager for Morgan Sindall.

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