St Michael’s Catholic Secondary School

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

Project Details

Buckinghamshire County Council

Project Manager

BAM Design

BAM Construction

£24.6 million

Contract Period
68 weeks

Procurement Type
Design & Build

Form of Contract
JCT 2017


Project Summary

BAM built Buckinghamshire’s first ‘satellite’ school in Aylesbury – an extension of St Michael’s Catholic Secondary School, High Wycombe, which opened in September 2019. 

The satellite plan, a partnership between the county council, St Michael’s governors and trustees, and the Diocese of Northampton, caters for 900 students aged between 11 and 19. The new school is based on the former Quarrendon School site, where there is a Bucks CC Adult Education Centre, a pre-school and youth club. There is also a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA), a grass pitch and 3G all-weather pitch. The new building and grounds will be available for community use outside school hours. This includes main assembly hall and sports facilities. 

“I have been in this job with building schools and refurbishing for nearly 30 years and this was both the most impressive site I’ve seen.”

“BAM have been proactive in progressing the design. They have fully understood the project brief and the vision for the school. They have worked well with the end user and have managed their expectations throughout the design development stage.”

Community Engagement

Career Opportunities

  • Five apprentices came through the project. One was direct for BAM as a QS, two from the Cotrain, and two other apprentices from the electricians and plumbers
  • Short term work placements were provided as part of Getting into Construction Programme with the Prince’s Trust.
  • Two presentations were given to careers leaders in conjunction with Bucks Skills Hub and Amazing Apprenticeships.

Educational Aspects

  • School visits were arranged for Year 7 pupils currently attending the school.
  • There were site visits for Bucks UTC and West Herts College as part of Open Doors 2019.

Community & Residence

  • Regular meetings were held with the local resident’s association.
  • The site team attended the Bucks County Council Apprentice Roadshow, Bucks skills Show and Big Bang @ Bucks.

Local Supplies

  • Timber was separated and collected by RAW Workshop based in Oxford. The timber was either sold, made into products or chipped for use. The initiative employs those that are furthest from the job market. The spend on this social enterprise was £6840 – 379 cubic yards of waste timber of which 77% was recycled, 23% was reused.

Key Challenges

The project had a tight programme, with completion in 68 weeks. Working with our in-house disciplines BAM Design, BAM Plant and BAM Services Engineering, allowed us to improve the speed and efficiency of how the project was managed and delivered on site. The project was designed in a 3D environment under BIM level 2 requirements. The BIM execution plan was discussed in detail with the client upfront to understand exactly what the client wanted, and to minimise costs.

Extensive groundworks were required at the start of the project due to heavy clay. A decision to use piled foundations and ground remediation reduced the construction risk on site.

Project Takeaways

Our Success

  • Lessons learned workshop early within design process to iron out potential design, buildability and operational issues.
  • Early contractor appointment essential to ensure robust affordable design prior to planning submission. The team worked hard to achieve this ahead of planning.
  • Fully transparent cost management built trust and confidence early on.
  • Complex highways / utilities works outside the red line to have dedicated management to ensure timely close out of issues.

Our Learnings

Value Added

  • BAM delivered £290K of added value benefits during the design development process.
  • 100% of waste was diverted from landfill i.e. through segregation of waste on site and recycling. Eco cabins used onsite to reduce power usage on site.
  • Sustainable design using PV panels, natural ventilation and LED lighting saving energy and running costs.
  • Fully federated digital models saved time and cost. We integrated our supply chain design models; used clash detection software to iron out issues prior to manufacture. This reduced any potential down time / abortive works providing programme certainty.

KPI’s & Statistics

ContractGateway 3 Contract FormationGateway 4 Final AccountVariation
Cost£24,642,019£24,613,801£28,218 (saving)
Time68 weeks68 weeksNil

Contact: Darren Birch, Framework Manager