Laing O’Rourke

Dagenham Park Church of England School, London, UK

A school for the future

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Efficient build techniques

70 per cent of the building constructed off site, resulting in an incredibly fast and efficient build and one of the most environmentally sustainable schools in the country.


Delivered without a single reportable safety incident, the completed building achieved exceptional levels of airtightness – a key measure of its thermal and operational efficiency.

Dagenham Park Church of England School, UK

“From the very outset, the project team has been excellent. Throughout the design process, the team listened carefully to what we said and worked tirelessly to get this project off the ground and, through engagement sessions, identified the key drivers and aspirations of teachers, students and communities to deliver a building that is not only fit for purpose, but also within budget.”

Simon Weaver, Headteacher, Dagenham Park
Church of England School

A 10,000 square metre performing arts school, delivered through the construction phase in just 16 months thanks to a combination of innovation and collaboration.

To meet the client’s demanding programme and challenging environmental targets, our Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) solution was deployed to the greatest extent possible.

The school’s integrated façade and structural system was erected within six months of site operations commencing, allowing an early start of fit-out packages. This was made possible by input from in-house Building Information Modelling (BIM) specialists to ensure exacting specifications were achieved ahead of installation.

With the initial period allocated to planning and design, the team worked closely with teachers, pupils and the client to understand and incorporate their needs. The result is a functional and efficient structure – instilled with a unique sense of character.

The new building is arranged around a performance hall and resource hub, with flexible classrooms located on the perimeter. The space in between creates two connected atria that provide open learning and social areas, as well as natural light and ventilation. This also allows passive supervision of students between lessons.

The contract was procured under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI), with Laing O’Rourke fulfilling an ongoing role as facilities manager for the site. This meant lifecycle considerations were key in selecting the building systems – which were delivered through a highly modularised approach to ensure optimum performance.

The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham operates a progressive environmental policy, which was integral to the project brief. The team was tasked with meeting a number of ambitious targets, including a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating for the building and surrounding site – along with annual operational CO2 emissions of 27kg per square metre.

This was supported through the application of DfMA – in particular the use of precast concrete components, which deliver enhanced thermal efficiency and air-tightness. In addition, a range of other technologies was implemented, including a high-performing building envelope with solar control, mixed-mode ventilation with heat recovery and a rainwater harvesting system.

Delivered without a single reportable safety incident, the completed building achieved exceptional standards of air-tightness.

A testament to the strength of collaboration on the project, the Local Education Partnership formed between the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Laing O’Rourke and the Thames Partnership for Learning will continue as a method of delivering other much needed social infrastructure.