M&E Project: The Abbey School

  • M&E Project: The Abbey School
  • M&E Project: The Abbey School
  • M&E Project: The Abbey School

The Project

The Challenge

Graham Ellis Associates (GEA) were commissioned by The Abbey School to prepare a CIF Bid application to the EFSA, to secure grant funding for an Essential Mechanical Upgrade Project to include Asbestos Removal.

A full Condition Report was commissioned from an M&E Specialist, which identified essential upgrade works that needed to be carried out urgently to the existing heating system, to avoid a complete breakdown and potential closure of the school.

The key recommendations of the report were to replace the obsolete boilers, distribution pipework and radiators, to the Main School Block.

An initial Budget was set of £430,000.00 to include Mechanical Plant Upgrades, new Plant Concrete Bases, Radiators, Valves and Removal of Asbestos etc.

The CIF Bid

The Application for Grant Funding required the format of the Bid to focus on the following criteria:

  • Project Need
  • Project Planning
  • Value for Money

Project Need – required GEA to provide information on the urgency of the need, the threat of closure of the school particularly in the winter months and the extent of the impact the upgrade works would have on the school.

Project Planning – needed to address the appropriateness of the solution put forward by GEA, the time scales and a delivery plan.

Value for Money – GEA competitively tendered the project based on the Condition Survey and Report prior to submission of the Application to give ‘cost certainty’ before works started on site. The accepted tender from Martin Environmental Services Ltd of £419,872.00 was within budget.

The CIF Bid Application proved to be successful and the school was notified.

The preferred Contractor was Martin Environmental Services Ltd (MESL).

The Remedy

GEA were tasked in conjunction with the M&E Specialist with providing the most cost-effective solution to deal with the problems encountered by the schools failing heating system, which was breaking down on a regular basis.

A detailed Options Appraisal was undertaken to establish the most cost-effective solution,

The works comprised the following:

  • Installation of new Boiler Plant.
  • Installation of new circulation pumps.
  • Introduction of new filtration and water treatment system.
  • Upgrade central plant controls/BMS system.
  • Installation of localised zone control values for balanced heat distribution.
  • Removal of redundant CWS Tank.
  • Removal of Asbestos.

The completed project also addressed the following issues:

  • Preventing closure of parts of the school.
  • Reducing maintenance costs.
  • Minimizing disruption to the curriculum when the heating system fails.
  • Removal of asbestos.
  • Improving energy efficiency.

The Development of the Project

Before Commencement on Site:

GEA chair a pre commencement meeting on site, with all the parties present, to establish and agree the following:

  • The Contractors Programme
  • To sign the Contract Document
  • To discuss any obligations imposed by the Employer on the contractor working at the school.
  • To discuss the site access route and position of the compound.
  • To agree Health and Safety rules, CDM Compliance.
  • To agree a start date on site after mobilization of the Contractor.

During the Project:

Weekly site visits were made by GEA to monitor progress on site.

A photographic record was maintained throughout the contract period on site.

Monthly site meetings were chaired and minuted by GEA and distributed to the school and the project team.

Monthly Financial Reports were provided to the Client to ‘firm up’ costs of any provisional sums or variations which occurred during the construction phase and to forecast the anticipated Final Account figure.

The End Result:

The works were completed to an excellent standard of workmanship.

The project was completed within the specified contract sum, with the Academy being kept fully informed with monthly financial reports during the construction phase, as to the anticipated final cost.

The before, during and after photographs show a vast aesthetic improvement to the refurbished blocks, with the additional benefit of thermally inefficient heating system and reduced maintenance costs.


Start Date: 6th August 2020.

Project Duration: 27 Weeks

Completion: 1st March 2021.

Project Value: £419,872.00

The Professional Team

Once notification had been received via the ESFA, that funding was available for the project, GEA were appointed as Contract Administrators, Quantity Surveyors, Principal Designers and Project Managers.

The successful Main Contractor was notified and a Programme for the works was agreed.

The Construction Project was to be carried out using the JCT Minor Building Works Form of Contract with Contractors design 2016.

Professional Fees were charged at 10% of the Contract Value (in accordance with those recommended by the ESFA).

Consultancy Services – Pre and Post Contract

The services provided by GEA on this project were as follows:

  • Budget Estimates, Feasibility Studies.
  • Agreeing scope of the works for the project with the school and M&E Consultants.
  • Advice on Procurement and Contract Selection.
  • Preparing Tender Documents.
  • Analysing Tenders returned, preparing a Tender Report with recommendations.
  • Producing Site Specific Scope of Works for the site and agreeing the Contract Sum with the Contractor.
  • Monitoring Contractor’s Progress on site.
  • Cost control – Interim Valuation payments and Financial Statements.
  • Monitoring Health & Safety on site.
  • Agreement of Contractors Final Account.
  • Sign off at Practical Completion (PC)
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