Contractor latest to launch schools concept with £13.65m Leeds Academy project

Interserve has become the latest contractor to launch a standardised schools concept, in the wake of the government’s drive to cut the cost of school building.

The company has signed a £13.65m contract to build an academy in Leeds using its ‘Podsolve’ concept, which the company claims can cut 25% off the cost of school building.

According to Interserve, the design, which is based around a series of steel framed pods that can be fitted together as classrooms, has a potential price of £1370m² (where there are no site variables and the site has clear access). This compares with the current rate of £1617m² under the academies framework.

The design has been developed in partnership with Maber architects, Arup, and pod specialist Norwood.

The Leeds East Academy project, which will create a six form-entry academy with 1100 places for academy provider E-ACT, is programmed for delivery in 60 weeks as opposed to the 79 which is typical for a school of its type.

Leeds East Academy was one of the schemes hit by the cuts to education spending announced when education secretary Michael Gove halted the £55bn BSF programme in June 2010. The original estimate for the project was £19m, which was then reduced to £14m.

Helen Lane, Principal of Leeds East Academy said: “The flexibility of the school will be hugely beneficial. We can close off the rest of the school whilst opening the Sports Hall, Activity Studio, Drama Studio and the Main Hall to benefit the local community.”

Adrian Ringrose, chief executive of Interserve, said: “The efficiency and flexibility of the [PodSolve] structure is just what our partners are looking for given the current economic climate and we are delighted that we can cater for this need.”

Source: Interserve

Interserve PodSolve E-ACT Leeds East Academy Principal Helen Lane