Project: Purpose-built education building
Location: Rougemont School, Llantarnam Hall, Newport
Client: Rougemont School
TC Consult Director David Champs, who has been involved in many key projects in his hometown, including the famous Newport City footbridge and the Riverfront Theatre, was approached by the architect, one of the school’s governors, to provide project management and quantity surveying cost management for this education development.
It was the kind of typically complex project in which TC specialise: building a state-of-the-art 600-seater auditorium, refectory and sixth form centre in the grounds of the independent Rougemont School at Llantarnam Hall in Newport, Wales.
Despite the best efforts of the Beast from the East in March 2018, which delayed work for a month with snow and ice, the new Frank Edwards building was opened in December 2018 by the TV chef and former pupil Matt Tebbutt, of BBC’s Saturday Kitchen.
Rougemont was founded in Newport the 1920s and in the early 1990s it expanded into Llantarnam Hall, a large Victorian mansion set in 50 acres of parkland on the outskirts of the city. As the school continued to grow to its present 560 pupils, new buildings were added created an increasingly inefficient network of water, gas and electricity services.
When the first cabin arrived on site to start work on the huge new purpose-built addition it became clear that the infrastructure was nearing obsolescence.
A raft of historical issues, such as intermittent loss of water pressure in some buildings at certain times needed to be addressed. It was clear TC’s role as project managers needed to consider the whole estate, including an ancient house and tree protection orders.
Outside the main construction project TC engaged new specialists and civil engineers and negotiated with utility companies to effectively switch the inefficient services off and turn on a new 21st-century set of services – all in tandem with the main project managed within the original site frame.
“About two thirds of our work is pre-construction, preparing, before we even put a shovel in the ground,” says David. But TC are not afraid of complexity having both experience and the network to handle it. “We will always ensure that our clients, who don’t construct very often, don’t feel exposed. It’s a team effort,” said David.
On top of the bad weather, the additional infrastructure and a decision to add air conditioning, there were the obvious health and safety risks of a building site with children. Drawing on a network of local experts TC cut the safety risks and managed delays by moving work into half-terms, Easter holidays, and Christmas – and delivered the whole project on time and on budget.
What a result. Vast lightweight partitions and seats that concertina back up to the rear wall “like magic” provide space for large corporate events, gala dinners, sporting events and lectures, all serving the wider community too.
“I was humbled to be invited to the opening performance to see the auditorium and refectory being used for the very first time,” says David.
Rougemont School is delighted.