Pencoedtre High School

“It is fascinating to see how sustainable the new school is going to be with the solar panels on the roof. It is great to see that this is where I am going to sit my GCSEs and go on to sixth form.” Ellie Clark, Year 9 Student Ambassador

Bouygues UK is delivering Pencoedtre High School for the Vale of Glamorgan Council as part of the Welsh Government’s 21st century school’s investment programme.

£32.2
million
1200
pupils
4
storey school

Pencoedtre High School is located on the grounds of Barry’s existing Brynhafren Comprehensive School. The first phase of works has delivered a new state-of-the-art 4-storey school for 1,200 pupils. Key features include expansive science labs, music studios and an open-plan dining area.

Our project team additionally re-sequenced works to deliver an all-weather sports pitch in Phase One, ensuring a better provision of the school’s external and physical curriculum during the project. This additionally freed up space from the Phase Two areas, allowing the client’s earlier sale of this land for development, benefiting their revenue streams.

Bouygues UK is now working on the second phase of works, demolishing the old school buildings, after the removal of asbestos. Following this, areas created will provide additional on-site parking areas plus landscaping and sporting facilities that include a four-court sports hall, all-weather hockey pitch and grass rugby and football pitches.

The new school’s external areas also provide performance spaces for creative pursuits like theatre and dance, for use by the school and community. Pupils can now additionally benefit from longer opening hours and an evening meal, as part of the Welsh Government’s extension to the school day pilot.   

Even with stretching targets agreed for Social Value with Vale of Glamorgan, Bouygues UK has over-performed against the requirement. Exceedances across local employment, local spending, provision of educational sessions and training opportunities created an aggregated performance score of 181.8% against agreed targets.

“[Bouygues UK] has made the move a lot easier than we anticipated. Your patience has been outstanding, facing the demands you have been subjected to. Our staff are full of compliments and praise for your team. I look forward to getting together to celebrate the great efforts and this amazing building.” Kelly Williams Project Manager, Vale of Glamorgan

Challenges

The tight residential nature of the roads surrounding the site was immediately a concern to Bouygues UK. A primary target for us was to work closely with the local community and not create any disruption resultant from our works. We created on-site parking zones for operatives’ use and tightly controlled this, preventing on-street parking. Safe access for staff, students and visitors to the existing school were maintained with the bus drop-off zone and delivery routes kept clear throughout the project.

The scheme’s most significant challenge became apparent in the first weeks of the project. The site’s topography meant extensive engineering works were needed to form a 5m high concrete retaining wall. This sat centrally in the building, creating a 3-storey structure on the site’s higher levels and a 4-storey structure on its lower levels.

Excavation works were challenging due to the ground’s combination of dense clay and limestone cobbles. These required lengthy processing and we had to appoint an external specialist to oversee these earthworks.

Bouygues UK’s approach with both client and supply chain was collaborative from the beginning. The trust-based relationships we constructed reaped countless benefits.

We instigated weekly collaboration workshops with our partition/ceiling and MEP partners agreeing ways in which their works, normally carried out one after the other, could be achieved concurrently. This created a culture where people worked beyond their usual daily responsibilities, forming cross-team cooperation that helped us complete Phase One on time.