With a week left until Christmas, construction works continue apace in order to achieve 'Practical Completion' towards the end of February. The work force has reached its peak with around 180 workers of various trades on site.
Two major milestones will take place in January. The first is the 'Air Pressure Test'. Once the final doors and windows are installed to 'seal' the building, we undertake a pressure test to ensure the building does not 'leak' excessive amounts of air. A huge fan is placed at one of the external doors and basically blows air into the building until it reaches a prescribed pressure (50pa) to enable calculations to be undertaken to establish the quantity of air which may be leaking through any minor gaps around the building. A successful test is required as one of the criteria for obtaining Building Regulation approval.
The second milestone is the turning on of the permanent heating to the building. During January different areas of the building will be 'switched on' to test the various services that have been installed. This is a primary aspect of the commissioning programme, which ensures every system has been fully tested and that the building works as designed. Ensuring the correct environmental conditions within the school is not only critical for the staff and students but also some of the instruments which are sensitive to moisture. Most of the building has a control environment to ensure the relative humidity is maintained at 55% (+/- 10%).
Many of the finishing trades are now well underway. Floor tiling, skirtings, timber doors and vinyl flooring have started and in January we will start laying carpets and applying final coats of decoration throughout the building.