The latest possibilities to pore over for those tasked with the construction, refurbishment and outfitting of schools …

Solar-powered school

Solar-powered school

Solarcentury has supplied 482 80W solar photovoltaic modules to the south facade of the North Manchester sixth form college, which won the first prize at the RIBA/Learning and Skills Council Further Education Design Excellence award last month. Walker Simpson Architects also specified 178 165W PV modules for the school’s flat roof. The solar cladding is intended to minimise the building’s overall energy needs and cut overhead energy costs.

Solarcentury 301

Robust lighting

Robust lighting

Building services engineer Crofton Design Associates has specified lighting systems from manufacturer Ridi throughout the £2.3m primary teaching unit at the Chailey Heritage school in East Sussex, which caters for special needs children. Crofton chose the systems because of their robust and aesthetic qualities and their cost-effectiveness.

Ridi 302

Acoustic ceiling panels

Acoustic specialist Soundsorba has launched a range of stick-on acoustic ceiling panels, which have been developed to meet the requirements of Building Bulletin 93, which covers sound control in schools. Called Echosorba II, the panels comprise a fibreglass core that is designed to provide very high noise absorption. The panels are 30mm thick to help preserve headroom and are available in a standard white colour that can be subsequently painted. Echosorba II is suitable for applications such as classrooms, assembly halls, music practice rooms and workshops.

Soundsorba 303

Steel roofing tile

Decra has brought out a lightweight steel roofing tile called Elegance that is aimed at refurbishment projects such as schools and hospitals. Elegance is available in three satin finishes – graphite, mocha and terracotta – and has a powder coating on the upper surface. Decra says the tile weighs 5.47kg per m², has a similar appearance to clay and can be used on minimal roof pitches as well as for vertical hanging.

Decra 304

Fabricated cubicles

TBS Fabrications has launched a cubicle system called Dual which can be specified as toilets, changing or shower cubicles for education applications. The manufacturer says that Dual combines customised panels with twin aluminium columns and has a wide choice of finishes including solid, wood grain and aluminium effect. The Dual range also includes children’s cubicles called Dual Junior which can be maded with curved and reduced-height partitions and doors. TBS Fabrications says that Dual Junior can be combined with accessories such as benches, lockers and vanity units.

TBS Fabrications

www.tbs-fabrications 305

Colourful cladding

Rockpanel has introduced in the UK a cladding panel called Chameleon. Two versions are available, Durable for applications including roof edges, gutter panelling and dormer windows and Xtreme, which has been developed for high traffic areas where resistance to scratching is important. The product can be supplied with an anti-graffiti finish which is said to make graffiti, felt-tip pen and dirt easy to remove. Chameleon is also said to offer versatile colour effects because crystal fragments are added to the boarding material to create a metallic effect in sunlight. The product is available in a wide range of colours and in a standard size of 1200 × 3050mm.

Rockpanel 306

Fire control system

Drax has launched a monitoring and control tool called Connect which integrates fire, intruder alarm, access control, CCTV, HVAC and lighting systems. The manufacturer says that Connect can be used to integrate standalone systems into a single system and can use existing building infrastructure networks. Connect is suitable for a wide range of applications in schools and hospitals.

Drax 307

Greater fire protection

Cooper Lighting and Security has introduced a range of fire detectors called JSB Self-Check that set off a visual alert and send a signal to the main fire panel in the event of a fault. This provides a high level of protection, as a malfunction is flagged up rather than waiting to be discovered during maintenance. The maker says the detector constantly checks background smoke and heat to ensure that sensing elements are working properly. The JSB Self-Check range includes an optical detector, a combined photo and thermal detector and heat detectors.

Cooper Lighting and Security 308

Solar shading for computer classrooms

Dales Fabrications has supplied brises-soleil to the £13m ICT unit of the Homewood school in Tenterden, Kent. Architect Lathams specified the products because of their high solar shading performance.

Dales Fabrications 309

Movers and makers

  • Corus and the Steel Construction Institute have developed a website called which has been designed to help specifiers comply with Part L2A of the Building Regulations for new non-dwellings. The site provides information based on a number of building types that use long-span steel frames as the main structure and are clad using profiled, pre-finished steel. Factors such as carbon dioxide emissions, services, building fabric and solar gain are taken into account in the calculations.
  • Lafarge Plasterboard has published an Education Sector Specification manual to provide specifiers with information about the design challenges of Building Schools for the Future. The manual includes guidance on regulations and design considerations, and is intended to help specifiers choose solutions for partitions, floors and ceilings. The guide has details of acoustic performance, impact and fire resistance, and the whole-life costs of the company’s products.
  • CIRIA has released an online guide called Sustainable Water Management in Schools. Available to download for free from, the publication includes information about the principles of incorporating sustainable water management into school design. It is suitable for new build and refurbishment projects.
  • British Gypsum has redeveloped its website to give specifiers greater access to product and system sections with dimensional, performance, installation and health and safety data on hundreds of board products that can be used in education applications.

Specifier 01 December 2006