Lessons Learned from School Building Projects

Looking Back or Looking Forward?

A building programme on a school site can be a great learning opportunity. It can also be a major distraction or even a nuisance if the project drags on for weeks or months, as many seem to do. But, given the technology now at contractors’ disposal, should that still be happening? Have we learned the lessons of the past?

Almost everyone, it seems, is fascinated by watching construction projects in progress. Not many are quite as enthusiastic about hearing them in action. And nobody really needs any of this if they are trying to concentrate on teaching or learning.

The other thing about new school buildings is that they are always in the category of ‘badly needed.’ Projects are commissioned because there are not enough school places or because pupils are being taught in unsuitable surroundings. Minor or insignificant programme delays don’t really exist. A classroom that isn’t ready for learners at the start of term causes a major headache.

Choose Your Technology, Choose Your Outcomes

So, given these constraints and the priorities calling for school building projects to be rapid, non-disruptive and unlikely to overrun, what method would you choose? Imagine there are no preconceptions about building methods. There is no familiarity or sense of ‘doing what we’ve always done.’

On the one hand, you have an approach that takes longer, calls for a great deal of onsite activity and noise, and is completed late nearly half of the time. Added to that you can probably expect a list of quality issues that either delay handover or have to be resolved afterwards.

On the other, you have a rapid building method where most of the work takes place away from your school site. This method could even deliver the dry structure over a single weekend. There are fewer quality issues and your project will be completed faster and for no extra cost.

No Compromises

It seems hard to imagine anyone recommending the first option. The second option is obviously the modular route. ‘Ah,’ you might think, ‘you can’t do as much with modular from a design point of view.’

All we’d say is look at the photos below. They were all delivered using the i-SIP System. Do they look like projects where the architectural vision has been constrained?


The truth is that i-SIP opens up even more exciting design opportunities. It does so because there is a guarantee that whatever is designed can be delivered in practice.

You can find out more about why the i-SIP System is being specified on an increasing number of education building projects using our interactive guide. Simply click on the information icons to find even more reasons why i-SIP is the natural choice for your next education construction project.