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Ysgol Maes Y Gwendraeth


As part of Carmarthenshire County Council’s Secondary School Development Strategy, we were commissioned to merge two of the three schools recommended in a major rearrangement plan.

The Brief

A large part of the scheme saw the reorganisation of Maes Y Gwendraeth Secondary School, resulting in the closure of two existing sites due to excess building stock.

We were asked to carry out a development strategy to manage how the project could operate successfully. We needed to work closely with the client team to set realistic target costs and invite contractors under a two stage D&B agreement to deliver the works.

Although we were initially appointed by the Council, our team were novated to the main contractor to provide architectural services during Stage 2 Tendering and Construction. This included providing full construction information in a detailed and timely manner to tie in with the strict programme and end dates.

Our Solution

In total, we completed:

  • An assessment of the buildings, site and external areas
  • A summary of building areas assessment
  • An analysis of areas using existing layouts
  • A condition assessment

The sites had a mix of new buildings and refurbished areas that needed to be assessed through a number of phases so that the school could remain in operation throughout the project. Working in a live environment created a major challenge, so close liaison with the main contractor was crucial to make sure extensive plans for temporary classrooms were in place.

We worked closely with the school to develop a schedule of accommodation and room data sheets that assisted with the reorganisation of faculties, ensuring smooth transitions and handovers during the key term start dates.

We also led extensive stakeholder consultations with staff and governors, including evening events with pupils, parents and neighbours to make sure we were thoroughly managing expectations.

The drawdown of Welsh Government funding and changes during the project meant that we had to adapt phases to ensure the funding could be spent at the right time. This also involved the coordination of consultant and sub-contractors design elements.

We successfully obtained Planning and Building regulations approval, including managing discharge of conditions. The new block achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating.

The Council were extremely pleased with the project as we ensured appropriate solutions were provided with the correct refurbishment and remodelling of specified areas.

Lawray has been a partner of the Corporation of the Church House for over 20 years and in that time has been heavily involved in several large refurbishment projects. The team’s knowledge and skills have proved invaluable in the areas of design, planning and project administration. When redeveloping a listed property, Lawray have ensured that they treat the architecture with sympathy whilst producing space that is effective for modern day requirements. Lawray continues to work closely with our in-house team on forthcoming projects and we would have no hesitation in recommending their work to others.

Mr Ian Bessant, Facilities Manager

The Corporation of Church House (Aug 2013)