News from William Birch & Sons


on Tuesday, 12 May 2015. Posted in Latest News

Fulford School students are getting useful hands-on experience of the design and building progress of their new sports hall and classrooms, being carried out by York’s William Birch & Sons Limited (WBSL).

Fulford School pupils inspect the steel frame for the new classrooms with Fulford School’s design technology technician Alan Bell (l) and William Birch site manager John Boundy (r)

Engaging local students with great learning experiences in design and construction has been part of William Birch & Sons Limited’s remit at Fulford School for this important project recently awarded by York City Council. A series of learning events have been arranged during the construction period to show students what goes into a project like this and ways in which they might consider a career in architecture or construction – and the latest digital modelling techniques are also being seen, to inspire tomorrow’s architects and builders.

The most recent session involved architect WBSL’s design and build architect Ben Kripp from architects William Saunders talking to pupils about the work, which is progressing towards the September completion of the new classroom block, and in December the opening of a new sports hall.

Digital Modelling

The drive, over the last four years, for government departments to adopt the building management technique Building Information Modelling (BIM), on all major projects, is now being employed by William Birch at Fulford. This is the first time York City Council has used this technique and the Council is hoping, by employing WBSL and its consultants, to learn the benefits of the process for use on future schemes. BIM is the means by which everyone can understand a building through the use of a shared digital model, enabling those involved with the building – such as teachers, students, parents and others – to ensure it is made more useful throughout its life and less prone to any errors. Using BIM saves long-term costs and improves the building’s ongoing energy efficiency, too. It was demonstrated to Fulford students last week before they had a guided tour of the site by WBSL to see the new classrooms, IT room and resources room being constructed and where the steel frame has already been erected.

Fulford School head teacher Lorna Savage said the project was engaging students, even those not actively considering careers in construction: “This is proving a unique opportunity to give our students greater insight into the application of technology into the workplace and being able to talk with professionals is almost like going behind the scenes at a theatre. Through this experience students can see different and multi-disciplinary technology in action and potential careers they can consider; it’s been a fabulous opportunity for them.”

The £3.9 million project is also providing work to local York apprentices such as Austen Aldridge, an 18-year-old working with William Birch and studying at York College, who recently won an award from the college as its first ‘Apprentice of the Year’.

Paul Turner is WBSL BIM co-ordinator and he commented: “We are relishing the challenges the Fulford School project presents us with, including meeting zero carbon aspirations, satisfying environmental targets (BREEAM) and implementing BIM (Building Information Modelling). The project will form part of our construction curriculum support programme which includes a series of 14 site update visits along with guest speakers. We are also hosting work placements, four of which will be offered to students. The BIM demonstration helped the students have a better understanding of the Fulford School project as they were able to explore, in depth, the ‘virtual’ models in 3D.”

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