design, with each wing containing two rows
of classes separated by a centrally-positioned
corridor,” adds Mr Hinde.
“Our design fine tuning has led to us
using a 7.2 × 7.86m grid pattern which
we now consider to be the most efficient
position for column spacings.”
Each classroom space has enough room
for all of its intended components but, if a
larger space is needed in the future, the steel
design has in-built flexibility as partition
walls can be removed without having to
remove a column.
The school’s steelwork supports precast
planks to form its floors and roof. This
method is considered by BAM to offer a
quick final product, even though a concrete
screed topping must always be added.
The underside of the planks are left
exposed within the ceilings of the completed
classrooms, and the few services that do run
through the rooms are also exposed and
hung beneath the steel beams.
Most of the steel frame incorporates two
storeys, apart from three large open-plan
areas; a sports hall and two multi-functional
halls next to the main entrance.
In these areas, precast planks have not
been used as a lightweight metal decked roof
has been installed, which is considered to be
a more efficient method when dealing with
In the open-plan areas, which rise
uninterruptedly to the building’s full height
and are mostly grouped towards the back
of the U-shape, Westok cellular beams have
been used to form the spans.
The spans in the sports hall are 18.5m
long, while the other two halls feature even
longer spans of 21m.
The project is on schedule and has
escaped any major hiccups, although
working next to a functioning school can
throw up a few challenges.
“When we began our works the school
was just starting its exam process and the
sports hall where most are held is right next
to our site,” says Mr Kelly.
“We had to be mindful of their exam
times and, consequently, when we could
operate plant equipment such as the piling
The new school building is founded on a
series of CFA piles which have been installed
to a depth of 17m.
Once the site, which was previously
occupied by sports fields, had been piled,
the steelwork erection programme was able
to begin in June, with the majority of this
work completed during the school summer
Steelwork contractor for the English
Martyrs School project was Harry Marsh
Engineers and it is now working with BAM
on the second school in Hartlepool, High
Tunstall College of Science.
The school is scheduled
to complete in May
The steelwork supports
precast planks to form
Stability for the frame
is derived from cross