Education in the frame
Forming part of the £250M
Building Fife’s Future
Programme, which has seen
five secondary schools and two
primary schools built in Fife over the past
10 years, the new Madras College in St.
Andrews will, on completion, bring 1,450
pupils together into one campus from the
existing school’s two separate sites.
Madras College has a long and
distinguished history and was founded
in 1833 by Rev. Doctor Andrew Bell.
The name of the college derives from
the tutoring system Bell initiated while
working for the East India Company in
the city of Madras, which is today known
Both of the college’s existing sites are
considered to be out-of-date and not
suitable for modern teaching methods.
The new 14,500m2 college, located in the
Langlands area of St Andrews, will consist
of one large three-storey building with a
focal courtyard, a connected two-storey
games hall and a separate energy centre.
The main building will be surrounded
by three outdoor social spaces alongside
two all-weather pitches.
Working on behalf of main contractor
BAM Construction, Hescott Engineering
has fabricated, supplied and erected
1,200t of structural steelwork for the
project. BAM Construction is working
in partnership with hub East Central
Scotland to deliver the building on behalf
of Fife Council.
The new school is being built on a
greenfield site and forms one of the
initial developments for a much larger
masterplan for the area, which could
include the construction of more than
1,000 new homes.
Prior to any steelwork arriving on site,
BAM Construction had to engage in a
major cut and fill, and soil stabilisation
programme. The school’s grounds were
then re-profiled to the designed levels,
which then allowed 700 precast piles to be
For design purposes, as well as ease of
construction, the large college building
was divided into six phases; two classroom
blocks, a dining hall/library block,
assembly hall block, a sports hall and the
sixth phase consisting of link corridors.
The structural design consists of a steel
frame supporting precast floor planks
and a concrete topping. This solution
was chosen for its speed and ease of
construction, as well as for aesthetic
“The nature of the precast soffits allows
an exposed finish to be adopted, where an
acoustic ceiling is not required,” explains
AECOM Senior Structural Engineer
This form of construction is considered
to be a tried and tested formula and one
the client is keen to reuse. Most of the
recently-completed schools in Fife have
used the same construction method,
including the Waid Community Campus
in Anstruther (see NSC May 2016), which
also had a project team that included BAM
All of the precast planks were supplied,
delivered and installed by steelwork
contractor Hescott Engineering as part of
its overall package, which also included
lifting precast stair units into place.
Although precast planks have been used
to form the majority of the college floors,
there were a few exceptions. In some
areas, the planks could not be used as they
would have been too difficult to install.
This included a plant slab, where the
presence of service penetrations made it
A tried and tested method, using steelwork in conjunction with
precast flooring planks, is being successfully used for a sixth
educational scheme in Fife.
New Madras College,
St Andrews, Fife
hub East Central
Scotland, Fife Council
Steel tonnage: 1,200t
The college is being
built on a greenfield
site on the outskirts of