Project details:

Client:  St John’s College

Team:  Total Regen

Type: JCT Design & Build Contract

Location: Cardiff

Project value: £3,400,000

Procurement: Competitive Tender

Project Overview

A St John’s College is an independent day school for boys and girls aged 3 to 18. This project involved the construction of a new extension for the provision of new classroom space and library facilities.

The scheme included a full height glass, curtain wall, linking the existing college building to the new build facilities together with associated external works.

A second phase of refurbishment works within the existing college building was carried out during the college summer shutdown period. The project was successfully completed in time for the commencement of the new student term in September.

The Challenge

Working on a live and constrained school site has many complex challenges including:

  • Controlled delivery times with noise generating activities planned within certain time slots outside of school hours.
  • Restricted access through a one way road system to the school carpark, where the site is located. This needed to be kept accessible for buses, cars and the school to access the gymnasium facilities behind the site.
  • Connection of the gas and water mains required digging up the one way road system, this was planned and delivered during half term.
  • Safeguarding, DBS checks on the management team and contractors are conducted, the movement of contractors is controlled through the Site Manager and a secure site boundary.

Value Engineering

The scheme was in the region of 10% over budget.
We engaged with the Architects Church Lukas to understand the design philosophy and developed a solution that did not require planning approval to meet programme requirements. It was important to maintain the overall design ethos and acoustic performance of the building.
We redesigned the ventilation ducting to a smaller solution which allowed us to reduce the size of the ceiling service voids. This in turn reduced the height of the building and enabled us to reduce the cost of the piling on the complex sloping site.
We also engineered the drainage solution, changing from an underground pumping station to a gravity fed system which saved in the region of £40,000.

A Close and Collaborative Relationship

  • At the start of the project the Site Manager conducted an assembly every morning for a week to the school population discussing the project and in particular, health and safety.
  • To drive the project forward out of hours and weekend working has been in place to push the project on.
  • The site team have worked closely with the Rushcliffe School management team and caretakers to coordinate work and ensure that works that could impact the school were carried out outside of term time. This included the installation of the attenuation tank for the drainage and gas/water main works within the access road.
  • The Caretaker was involved early for advice on future maintenance considerations.
  • Total Regeneration found and employed the site manager who successfully built the previous phase for the school, which was a sixth form block. The client had been very happy with this site manager. Advertised a job opportunity for a site labourer.

Key Achievements

  1. Apprentice Project Manager employed
  2. Engaged and helped give careers in construction advice to A Level student at the Rushcliffe School
  3. Facilitated a publicity generating musical concert on site.
  4. Church Lukas, the appointed Architects, will attend an open day on site with their trainees and assistants.
  5. Work experience placement provided to shadow Site Manager.
  6. Local Spend within 40 miles = 92.35
  7. Local Labour within 40 miles = 82.61%

Building Excellence

Rushcliffe School

A new build, design and build, 2,200m2 Performing Arts and Languages Building at the Ofsted Outstanding school.

Witham St. Hughs Academy

Working within a live site in a new residential area, we undertook the construction of a predominantly timber framed extension to the existing school. 

Research Acceleration Demonstration Building

Known as the Research Acceleration and Demonstration (RAD) building, the 2500m2 centre, is being delivered on the University of Nottingham’s Jubilee Campus, 

Bishop Grosseteste University Phase 1

A significant element of the project was the installation of new structural steel to open up the building by removing structural walls. 

De Montfort University – Castle Hall Business School

The team behind the transformation of Leicester Castle into a leading business school have described the challenge and excitement of bringing such a historic building back to life.  

Loughborough University – Multi Faith Centre

Refurbishment and remodeling of the Edward Herbert Building first floor at Loughborough university saw Woodhead deliver :  a Christian Chapel, Multi-faith prayer rooms, male and female Muslim prayer rooms.


A St John’s College is an independent day school for boys and girls aged 3 to 18. This project involved the construction of a new extension for the provision of new classroom space and library facilities.



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