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Cardigan Primary School Renovation and Extension – Progress Report No. 2

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

With works progressing at a pace, LEB Construction provides its second progress report on the renovation and extension works being undertaken at Cardigan Primary School

Welcome to our second progress report of the 64-week programme for the £2.73m renovation and extension works at Cardigan Primary School for Ceredigion County Council.

This report takes us from the warmth of summer, and our first report at week 11, to week 21, and a rather chilly start to winter.

The project works include the extension and renovation of the existing 1950s structure that contains both Cardigan Infant and Junior schools. The project will increase the school’s current footprint (1766m2) by 423m2 with a new link extension that marries the Junior and Infant buildings together. There’s an inspiring new school entrance which provides a more spacious reception area. There are also two new classrooms, a new staff support area and a two-storey rear extension with additional fire exits and toilets. A new lift will provide access to the Junior block.

We’ve split the project into ten areas, as detailed below in our individual site progress updates.

Area 1 – New toilets

The scope for Area 1 was the refurbishment of the existing toilets opposite Classroom 7.

These works have been completed and successfully handed over to the school.

Area 2 – New school main reception

Our progress update No. 01 for the single-storey extension to the front of the school that forms the new main entrance, detailed that works had progressed beyond the digging and pouring of foundations, laying of DPC, brickwork to wall plate and structural alterations to link the new extension to the existing school. Since then, we have taken great strides in this area.

Posi-joists were installed to form the flat roof, with an Alumasc roofing system laid on top. New windows and doors were installed, which provided a watertight environment. This allowed the internal fit-out to commence at pace, with the erection of internal studwork walls and installation of first-fix mechanical electrical and plumbing (MEP) services before closing up with plasterboard and plastering.

Each room has now taken shape, including the Reception Lobby, General Office, Headteacher’s Office, Meeting Room, disabled shower, link corridor to the existing school structure and a store room.

We are progressing with second-fix MEP and carpentry, which is now 95% complete. New fire alarm system, CCTV and heating control system have been installed, while painting and decorating has now commenced and is 80% complete.

The striking new headline-grabbing look on the outside has also been coming together, with the installation of the external finishes. The mix of 8mm smooth-faced panelling and Cedral Click panels is now 75% complete and gives a significant glimpse of the all-new look for the entrance of the school.

Our next steps, once the painting and decorating and external cladding are completed, is to bring the finishing touches that will elevate the construction project into a well-designed, completed, functional entrance area befitting this vital local school.

Externally, we have been forming a new ramp for access, replacing manhole covers and making good.

Final touches will include the laying of a new floor, a bespoke oak countertop reception desk complete with glazed security screen, and tarmacking outside.

Area 3 – New corridor

These works involved the creation of a 3.5-metre-high corridor consisting of new stud walls with plasterboard and a plaster finish. The walls and ceiling voids have been installed with fire protection and MEP works completed ahead of painting and decorating.

The new corridor also created additional space for the new classroom in Area 4. This was completed in the summer and handed over to the school.

Area 4 – Conversion of ‘conservatory’ area

Our Progress Report No. 01 covered the development of this area up to the installation of a new single-ply membrane roof. It’s the same Alumasc roofing system that was used for the new reception space (Area 2).

Since week 11, works have progressed well.

Two new windows and a fire escape external door have been installed. Internally, the new classroom is 95% complete, with new MEP, data and power installed to supply a clever new touchscreen, along with a new kitchen unit with worktop and sink. To complete the room, a new carpet tile and vinyl floor will be installed.

Externally, a new smooth-finish black panel cladding has been installed. A newly tarmacked and extended path and ramp has also been completed.

Area 5 – This section has been omitted

Area 6 – Link building

This single-storey link building extension is the largest element of the project, creating a new Parent Room, Staff Room, Staff Work Area, two Year 3 classrooms, a Library along a wide sweeping corridor, a Nook, new toilets and a photovoltaic array on the new flat roof.

In Progress Report No. 01, we detailed that we had successfully dug and poured the new concrete foundations, with brickwork commencing imminently to take us up to DPC.

In the interim period, we discovered a live Welsh Water pipe that had not been identified on existing services plans, but which supplies the school. We have therefore taken the following approach.

First, we stopped work where the water pipe runs.

Second, we liaised with Welsh Water and applied for a new and redirected water main to be installed.

As a result of this, we have split Area 6 into two parts, 6A and 6B.

Area 6A has progressed well. New 2m-high walls have been constructed, complete with window and door openings, alongside the new lift shaft. Area 6B, adjacent to the water pipe, is currently on hold.

Area 7 – New heating and disabled toilets

This section comprises mainly MEP works set to be undertaken in the summer of 2023.

Area 8 – Removing Nursery toilet to create space for gym equipment

Area 8 incorporated plans to remove the existing Nursery toilet, which was replaced by the new WC facilities in Area 7, to create additional space for gym equipment storage. Works include the installation of new steel beams where walls were to be removed, as well as making good to walls and new floor coverings.

Work were commenced and completed in the summer of 2022.

Area 9 – Corridors, kitchenettes and WCs

These works were to form corridors to the new stairwell and WC of Area 10, along with two additional disabled WCs on the ground and first floors for the Lower and Upper Juniors, respectively. Additionally, new kitchen areas were planned in two classrooms and a temporary fire escape.

Work was commenced and completed in the summer of 2022, along with structural openings through to the lift shaft. This will be where the lift doors are.

Area 10 – Rear stairwell and toilets

Works to the two-storey extension are ongoing, comprising a new boys’ WC on the ground and first floors, along with the new stairwell.

The skeletal construction elements have been completed, with blockwork and roofing finished and new windows and doors installed. External rendering is 66% complete and ongoing.

A crane was used to lift and lower the new precast concrete floors into position.

Arriving in flatpack form, the metal staircase complete with concrete treads has been built in situ.

Internally, MEP first fix has been completed and 85% of the plasterboard has been installed, with plastering commencing imminently.

Variations and additional works

You may recall that following heavy summer downpours, it was discovered that some of the existing drains were blocked or had collapsed.

A CCTV survey of the underground drainage showed that the existing clay sewer pipes had cracked and collapsed in places. We have now carried out the repair works and resolved the situation.

News on-site – Weeks 12–21

Works on-site are progressing well, as is the coordination and complete segregation of the construction works and the operational parts of the school, keeping staff and pupils safe. Deliveries to site remain restricted to outside of school start and finish times, when there is more movement of children, parents and vehicles.

Additionally, we continue to liaise with the ambulance service, which shares the access road, with no incidents to report. We work closely with the Shift Supervisor whenever we have any works or special larger deliveries planned that may impact the access road, while all operatives on-site are informed during initial inductions that the ambulances take priority and told to keep the access road clear.

Work experience

In conjunction with our friends at Cardigan College (Coleg Ceredigion), we are delighted to confirm that in January 2023, we will welcome two college students to site, each of whom will have a week with LEB Construction, shadowing a Senior Supervisor and getting to experience what it’s like to work on a live construction site.

Cardigan College offers a variety of courses for those intent on a career in construction, from apprenticeships to diplomas in carpentry and joinery, construction and building services engineering and trade skills, as well as part-time electrical courses.

Site visits

We have been delighted to continue to welcome the clients to site, as well as providing the Headteacher with tours of the ongoing works to keep her up to speed with how the project is progressing.

Furthermore, Building Control inspectors continue to carry out site visits and sign off our works as we move from stage to stage.

A word from our Site Office

Carwyn Henson, Site Manager for LEB Construction, has said: “I have to say thank you again to the school for their support during the works. They are extremely accommodating when we need access to the school, and we couldn’t ask for a better team to work with.

“At the moment, we have 15–20 operatives on-site every day, and they have been a credit to LEB Construction. Everyone is pulling in the same direction and really putting in the effort.

“I’m really pleased with how the works are progressing. I’m looking forward to when we hand over and see the look on the pupils’ faces when they get to use the great new facilities for the first time.

We’re looking forward to the New Year and the arrival of the work experience students from Cardigan College. It’s always great to share our knowledge and help train the next generations coming through.”

Competition time

LEB will be holding a competition in the coming weeks so that students can submit their own artwork depicting the construction works and how they think the school will look once these are completed. The winning artwork will be displayed on our noticeboards or hoarding. We will unveil more details about the competition in the near future.

To keep up to date with progress, follow us now on social media:


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