The project team consists of WSP, providing architecture, structural, geotechnical and civil input as well as Brewer Davidson (architectural) and managed by Interlink Modular (Portacom).
The buildings are designed to a standard criterion so they can be placed anywhere around Aotearoa New Zealand, while the foundations aredesigned for the individual sites.
Classrooms are delivered to site and placed directly on the foundations where they are fixed down. The modular buildings are designed as flexible spaces, which can be easily adapted for teaching, staff and student support spaces including science laboratories, technology blocks, toilets and changing rooms, and administration or reception areas.
The units arrive on site fully clad and with completed internal finishes, and are designed to be fixed together on site to givea variety of layouts. Ancillary items such as verandas, access ramps and steps and storage units are generally modularised and assembled on-site.
The modules are generally volumetric steel framed units with infill timber structure. An earlier structural system using glulam timber frames was also developed, while the typical foundation system uses timber piles designed for the specific conditions of each site.
CLIENT BRIEF/PROJECT CHALLENGES
The challenge for the WSP team was to develop a classroom that was functional as well as transportable by truck to each site, constraining the design to fit within a certain size.
There were also local challenges of designing to differing site conditions including steep slopes, liquefaction prone ground, over buried services and coastal locations from the Bay of Islands to Invercargill.
This modular offsite construction method provides a fast, simple and effective solution to the ever-increasing demand for flexible classroom space. Classrooms are constructed in modules which can be either a single studio or connected in a series to make a large open plan and modern teaching space.
Working with multiple stakeholders (including School Boards) added a layer of complexity to the project beyond the geographic and topography issues.
We centralised our design team to deliver on projects across the country. This was supplemented by our more locally-based inspection teams during the construction phase.
WSP ensured a single point of contact for each of the primary disciplines, who made decisions for the best outcomes on a portfolio basis,rather than on a case-by-case approach which would lead to programme inefficiencies. Each point of contact was underpinned by a dedicated design manager,who ensured the project was running to task and issues were being raised early and solved as a collective.
Flexibility was the core principal that drove the design, which provides: •
- A variety of learning spaces
- Speed and cost efficiency
- Adaptability to a range of ground and environmental conditions
Our sustainability-led design represents lower whole of life costs as well as an environmentally responsible approach. Our base design reflects green star targets and allows for additional eco-options such as solar panels and rainwater tanks to be added. The units are designed to be transportable and can be deconstructed and shipped to a different location. The foundation systems are mostly localised and permanent,but some can be relocated and re-used.
Collaboration with the client set the expectation for the programme of deliveries over the set timeframe. This forecast was programmed into the master factory production and site installation schedules. The project is set up to swift and efficient delivery. This required effective planning and execution, and was achieved by running aspects such as consents and manufacture in parallel. WSP's strong relationships with local suppliers ensured reliable delivery.