Built in 1876, this Category B listed building will be joined by an extension in May 2020 that is respectful to the original. The project was procured through the Scape Major Works – Scotland framework, part of the National Construction framework. Scape Group is a public sector owned built environment specialist offering a full suite of national frameworks and innovative design solutions. It will include:

There will be a remote energy centre and sprinkler tank located within the grounds and demolition of certain sections of the existing school buildings will be required.

Business as usual

During the development, the existing school is being kept operational. There was a requirement to install temporary modular accommodation on the existing playing fields to allow the decanting of existing classrooms. We undertook this work as part of an Enabling Works contract installing all the infrastructure, fencing and services.

Cross-laminated timber frame saves time and cost

In partnership with Highland Council, we undertook an extensive Value Engineering exercise suggesting several changes to the Stage 3 design. Through a collaborative phase of development works, the following construction methods were adopted:

The original frame design was changed from a steel frame, precast concrete/lightweight steel frame infill panels to hybrid glulam and cross-laminated timber (CLT) frame and shell. This allowed us to lighten the building load on the ground as well as creating a superior learning environment from a cellulose-based breathable external wall construction. CLT also lent itself very well to the design shape and size that had previously been developed.

To take advantage of the continuous support available from CLT, we adopted a mechanically fixed brick cladding system that provides all the aesthetics of natural brick without being affected by weather and being fully supported by the CLT frame.

As a result, savings were made on the time and cost of the development works and CLT produced a greater quality.

Engaging with the community

We are working in partnership with Scape and the community to actively engage with the school and the local community, keeping them up to date on the construction of their new school.

Since the beginning of the project, we have completed many activities including a week of visiting the school and addressing assemblies as well as visiting all 13 classes individually. During these visits, we informed pupils and teaching staff on how to stay safe while we work on their new school and inspired the pupils about construction.

Our team also attended two parents evening at Merkinch Primary School showing parents plans and discussing the construction of their children’s new school.

The project team have supported the P4 curriculum, which focused on the importance of planning, measurement and the creation of 3D shapes. We worked with the pupils to create a 3D scale model of the new school, which helped to demonstrate the importance of what they were learning and how this can be put into practice in a real-life situation. 

We will be partnering with the school to improve their STEM curriculum, show the relevance of these subjects and promote positive pathways and destinations that are opened up by STEM subjects. The team will deliver a variety of activities over the next academic year to support and add relevance to the curriculum.

These activities demonstrate Robertson and our partner's commitment to going the extra mile to deliver this project by providing regular updates to the local community.

Project team

Architect: Norr
Project manager: The Highland Council
Principal contractor: Robertson Northern
Civil & structural engineer: W A Fairhurst
M&E engineer: Pick Everard
CDM coordinator: The Highland Council


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