Furze Down School

Winslow, Buckinghamshire

Project Details

Corporation of London

Project Manager
Robinson Low Francis

Pringle Brandon Drew

Miller Construction

£1.8 million

Contract Period
34 weeks

Procurement Type
Develop & Construct

Form of Contract
JCT Trad with Quants 2011


Local SMEs Employed
(97% SME’s)
3 SME’s within 30miles
11 SME’s within 60miles
6 SME’s 60miles +

Creating an all through school where students can develop to their full potential, Furze Down School will provide places for students between 4 and 19. The school has Special Status catering for students with speech and language delay; impairments or disorders, learning difficulties, complex learning difficulties and those with needs on the autistic spectrum.

Ensuring continuity of curriculum delivery is essential when working in sensitive live environments. Existing school buildings will remain operational during construction and until the transition into the new school. Once fully decanted the old school buildings will be demolished to form part of the external landscape and car park.

Considered design to maximise opportunities for Furze Down School: the new design takes advantage of its setting and will provide an outstanding learning environment for students and staff for years to come. The school has a centrally positioned ‘Heart’ & community focus celebrating and offering Communications and Creative Arts as the ‘outstanding specialism’s’ of the school.

Key Challenges

  • Cost efficient design.
  • Aligning & managing Client & User expectations within a challenging budget.
  • Working in a sensitive live environment.
  • Difficult site abnormals – slope, flooding, below ground conditions, retention of existing buildings.

How these were delivered

  • Workshops: including the detailed analysis and rework of the control option to develop more appropriate adjacencies & synergies in the application of Building Bulletin 102.
  • Application of previous experience and best practice of working on SEN schools.

Lessons Learnt:

The Good

  • An integrated team who have successfully partnered together at The Village School Brent (TVSB SEN School), enabling the optimisation of best practice and continuous improvement for Furze Down School.
  • Adoption of Frankham’s exemplar consultation strategy developed on TVSB, and used by the DfE as guidance for a new all-through version of BB102.
  • With Client, User, Designer & Constructor working very closely together, expectations have been managed to realise a highly “bespoke” project design.

The Bad

  • The preconstruction period was extended as stakeholder engagements took longer than planned however the client has viewed this as a positive as it has enabled a final design which meets all parties’ requirements.

SAVE / iESE Benefits & How:

  • Contractor’s early engagement from RIBA Stage B has allowed collaborative stakeholder / end user to meet BB102 requirements and radically rationalise the space expectations. Together with early involvement of supply chain to support the design solutions it has enabled £700k of added value benefits to be realised.
  • Whilst the construction programme has been prolonged this is only because planning approval was delayed adjusting the timing of the school’s decant into their new premises. The additional 3 weeks is to accommodate this efficiently and has been incorporated at no additional cost to the project.
ContractGateway 2 PlanningGateway 3 Contract AgreementVariation
Cost£9.4m£9.5m£100k (1%)
Time77 weeks80 weeks3 weeks (4%)

KPI Graphs

Apprentices 6 no.
Average AIR 0 target
Average CCS score 40
Waste diverted from landfill 80%


Leadbitter Group
Mark Darkin Pre-Construction Manager

Buckinghamshire County Council
Paula Campbell-Balcombe BCC School Commissioning Officer

Tony Welch BCC PQS