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Thomas Vale formalises Passivhaus joint venture to win education work

Thomas Vale has announced it has entered into a joint venture with Architype architects to bid for design and build Passivhaus contracts.

The contractor has built the UK’s first-ever Passivhaus standard accredited primary schools for Wolverhampton City Council and will now offer the Passivhaus schools concept as its response to the efficiencies sought under the James Review, as well as utilising BIM on upcoming projects.

A number of contractors including Laing O’Rourke/Atkins, Willmott Dixon and Balfour Beatty have formulated standardised schools concepts in response to the greater efficiencies being sought by local authorities and recommended under the James Review.

However Thomas Vale said the Passivhaus approach through collaboration with Architype would allow greater integration and insisted that the work carried out to ensure the Wolverhampton schools met Passivhaus standards had been done at zero additional capital cost to that of traditional construction techniques.

Construction News this week ran a feature on Thomas Vale’s Passivhaus schools:

Oak Meadow Primary school has about 450 pupils, measures 2,600 sq m and had a budget of £5.1 million, while Bushbury Hill Primary School, at 1,900 sq m and 240 children, had a budget of £4.2m.

Both began on site in October 2010 and the first phase, the new school buildings, was completed in October 2011. Overall completion for both sites is February 2012. Phase two, which includes demolition of the old schools and external works, has commenced on both sites.

See here for the full feature.

Thomas Vale group managing director Tony Hyde said that standardised schools don’t allow integration on projects to ensure their full potential.

“Standardised schools are proving more and more expensive, not only that, they distract away from the learning establishments own identity, the schools values and its visions,” he said.

“The design process to deliver a bespoke, environmentally friendly and cost effective solution can only be achieved through the stakeholder’s involvement in the design and conceptual phases of a project.”

Benefits of the Passivhaus system include minimising energy consumption, rather than offsetting carbon or providing energy through renewable sources.

Architype director Jonathan Hines said: “Passivhaus offers radically low energy consumption together with optimised comfort for occupants.

“We are convinced that designing to an energy target is a more logical and effective route to achieving carbon reductions that relying on carbon offsetting with micro-renewables.

“In response to the challenge of the James Review, our Passivhaus Partnership offers ‘standardised’ yet individually unique, at a reduced cost delivered through an integrated BIMM (Building Information Modelling Management) process in partnership with all delivery team members, from concept to post-completion.”

The £10million Wolverhampton Passivhaus schools were the culmination of a five-year collaboration of delivering highly sustainable projects between the two partners, including the UK’s first BREEAM Excellent mainstream school, the RIBA and Sorrell Foundation awarded St Luke’s Primary School in Wolverhampton.

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