Blog: Offsite SECBE Awards 2019 finalist - Robert Clack School

28 May 2019

Sponsored by Heathrow Limited

*** HIGHLY COMMENDED *** The Robert Clack School - submitted by Mid Group

On the Robert Clack School project, the Mid Group were approached by the Client when the original procurement fell over, as tenders were around  £12m over the original £35m budget. Following a 6-month review, undertaken fully in partnership with their supply chain, the Mid Group and its partners, reduced the costs from £47m to £36m, which enabled the project to proceed. Through adopting intelligent design that integrated with offsite solutions, Mid Group were able to shave 12 months off the original construction programme, greatly assisting in the savings. 

Mid Group used an offsite solution to ensure the new buildings were available for the increase in pupils at the school for the start of term and to hit the budget requirements. 

The use of many different offsite solutions on the Lymington site has significantly contributed to hitting the budget. The 3 different structural solutions, running at the same time, has resulted in around 7 months of programme saving alone - as 3 different frame contractors are erecting on site simultaneously. Eliminating time on site saves significant sums on prelims - around £4.5m on this project alone.

The standardisation of design to suit offsite has also reduced time and cost. For example, across the concrete frame for the secondary school, there is only one column type. This allows the economic pre-fabrication of precast concrete columns, both reducing time and cost. The pursuit of simplification has been relentless across various areas to save time and money.

In more detail

With a contract award date in December 2017, there was less than 8 months available to design and build the first phase of the new school, as pupils were arriving in September 2018. The 2nd phase started in May 2018 and completed in December 2018. The use of a hybrid offsite solution meant that the Mid Group were able to confidently and contractually state that they would both deliver the school in time for opening and to the standard of the employer’s requirements, having successfully previously used it on a prior project, Greatfields School.

The project involved construction works across 3 different campuses and involved the following works on each:

  • One 12 classroom and ancillary space teaching block, and new Kitchen Block (Lower School Campus)
  • One 12 classroom and ancillary space teaching block, as well as a major hall extension and refurbishment of existing teaching blocks (Upper School Campus)
  • One new 3FE Primary School, 6FE Secondary School and Sports Hall (Lymington Fields Campus)

The works are across c.16,000m2 of new build space and c.3,000m2 of refurbished space.

The prelims were originally c.17% of £47m, which reduced to c.10% of £35m through the adoption of an offsite approach. This saved c.£4.5m in preliminary costs alone, with reductions in both durations on site of staff and plant, and a reduction in the number of people on site, further reducing the temporary accommodation costs, for example.

Using three different offsite solutions, they ensured that the best value solution was used for different parts of the project. This could only be done with the partners working together.

During the 6-month review of the project, Mid Group had three different frame contractors working together on the design development of the Lymington Fields campus.

  • The decision was made that an Innovare SIP frame would best suit the primary school campus, from both a time and cost perspective, but that an Oranmore pre-cast concrete floor was required to meet the employer’s requirements. 
  • For the secondary school, a mixture of FP McCann precast and cast in situ concrete was utilised to deliver the frame, with an Innovare SIP system used for the external walls.
  • For the Sports Hall, a traditional steel frame was wrapped using a mixture of Kingspan Insulated Cladding Panels and Panelised Gebrik Brick Slips.

The different approaches ensured the most cost and time efficient solution was used on each element of the works. Also, as the frame had been built, Mid Group had three different frame systems working at the same time on site, with the 3 buildings built at the same time, resulting in the frames being complete and water tight in a third of the time that the tradition tenders estimated.

Mid Group was established to realise all the benefits of offsite construction. They believe their results and their annualised growth of c.350% per annum over the last three years demonstrates that offsite construction has a place within the industry.  


  • An offsite construction solution enabled the delivery of the new school buildings at c.35% less than a traditional solution, which allowed the project to go ahead and has resulted in the client appointing Mid Group to a further five projects, utilising similar offsite solutions.
  • An offsite approach facilitated the delivery of the new facilities in a mere 7 months, against 15-month tenders for traditional solutions, ensuring the school had classrooms ready in time for pupils who were already offered places and were starting later in the year.
  • The project has demonstrated that a hybrid approach to offsite construction can deliver exceptional outcomes to all parties in the process, with exceptional environmental performance, reduced deliveries to site and almost nil waste – with less than 1 tonne of waste sent to landfill.

For more details:

Visit Mid Group

The SECBE 2019 Offsite Award is sponsored by Heathrow Limited.

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