Dartington Primary School

Dartington, Devon

Project Details

Devon County Council


£6.9 million

Contract Period
17 weeks

Procurement Type
NEC3 Option A

Apprentices Employed
6 no. (2no with GT & Trac and 4 no. with supply chain – Roe, Halsion, PJE)

SME spend
85% and within LA catchment area 84%

Total added value benefits

Following the completion of the demolition, the new build consisted of a new single storey building. The facility is completed with external landscaping and hard surfaces. The steel frame construction on a piled and concrete ground beamed foundation covers 2050m².

The external appearance consists of cladding and coloured rendered panels with the internals being constructed of metal stud partitioning and plasterboard to leave a decorative finish.

“One of the best projects we’ve ever received, if not, the best.”

Community Engagement


  • CR Manager, Kate Ellis, worked with the Client team to organise numerous events at Dartington, including a mental health awareness workshop where Mates in Mind discussed the effects of stress in the workplace.

Learning Experiences

  • A time capsule was given to the school and a burial took place at the main entrance. The time capsule included hand print art work and poems about the pupils’ futures.
  • A local placement of two students were undertaken with a week’s work experience on site shadowing the site managers.
  • Two work experience places were provided on site with a female bricklaying apprentice and site engineer.
  • Sustainability was achieved on site through water butt harvesting rainwater for boot and tool cleaning purposes. Furthermore, a mock up spill incident was undertaken where students from Dartington were in.

Key Challenges

The logistics were carefully managed and planned due to the works taking place on a live primary school.

The vehicle access through the main gates were used by school users. To ensure that there was no disruption to the school or its users the access was carefully managed to ensure school users moved throughout the site safely by keeping it exclusive for school use between 8am and 9am and 3pm and 4pm.

Project Takeaways

Our Success

  • The heating strategy of the scheme is underfloor heating which is placed on insulation with a screed placed over the top. Despite the project being a traditionally procured scheme, the majority of the packages were CDPs therefore the site team and the supply chain worked over and above to deliver high-quality design solutions. The design was constantly monitored and reviewed, ensuring timely sign off was achieved. Good IRS and short-range design programmes kept the consultants and client informed of failings. The change control process was well managed by the team and they were able to make a good return on the changes.
  • The programme was driven by the client and the requirements of the school. For example, school opening dates were taken into consideration as well as the key milestone date of the removal of the temporary village – which Kier did and reinstated the ground back to existing / agreed levels.
  • £87,000 of VE was offered throughout the project, including the roof design and the attenuation tank construction, with a total of £72,000 being accepted by the client.

Our Learnings

  • The design for the roof changed due to value engineering from perforated liner construction to a solid roof sheet design. A man safe system is fixed to part of the roof allowing access to designated areas as per the Atkins design.

Value Added

KPI’s & Statistics

  • Contractor team performance: 10/10
  • Health and safety: 10/10
  • Quality of workmanship: 10/10
  • Progress in making good defects: 10/10
  • Collaborative approach: 10/10
  • Overall contractor performance: 10/10

Contact: James Parr
Email: james.parr@kier.co.uk