As a new build education facility intended to take 60 young adults with profound physical, learning, and other difficulties, Trent View College in Scunthorpe incorporates a diverse range of facilities including a hydrotherapy pool and Design Technology Workshop. These are accommodated within an advanced engineered timber and steelwork structure that, despite the site’s shape and topography, has achieved the coveted Passivhaus standard while meeting the Department for Education’s (DFE) broader requirements.

Heralded as a remarkable success by the education sector, Trent View College in Scunthorpe is a Passivhaus SEN school that uses the benefits of a hybrid engineered timber and steel structure, delivered by B&K Structures, to embody exceptional standards of sustainability. Created in close collaboration with the DFE, the college has been conceived to offer its students life-changing opportunities in an ultra-modern, purpose-designed facility. To create such a versatile, robust, and environmentally friendly building, the DFE appointed Morgan Sindall as main contractor, while BKS worked with supply chain partner Curtins to design the CLT and steel structure. As the market leader in mass timber and steel projects, B&K Structures was selected to design and deliver the main structure and envelope of the single storey building. They used CLT from supply chain partner, Stora Enso for the roof and walls, while structural steelwork provides mid-span support internally.

CLT offers high load-carrying capacity, excellent airtightness, and carbon storage for the life of the building. The Wellspring Academy Trust and its lead design consultants, HLM Architects are both committed to sustainability, making engineered timber and elements of structural steelwork an ideal solution for creating a complex and large-scale structure. This offsite solution meets multiple criteria including cost certainty, increased accuracy, reduced time on site, and enhanced quality, to an exacting timetable, while simultaneously offering high environmental standards.

Significantly, the use of mass timber has allowed the college to be constructed to lock in carbon while also targeting the prestigious Passivhaus standard of energy performance, which sets very tight limits on air permeability as well as insulation. HLM Architects said: “The Passivhaus design focuses on energy efficiency, thermal comfort and air quality to minimise heat losses from the building and to reuse heat from solar and internal heat gains to reduce the environmental impact of the building.”

Josh Greaves, Deputy CEO at Wellspring Academy Trust, stated: “We are delighted that Trent View College will be built to stringent Passivhaus environmental credentials, supporting our commitment to carbon responsibility and environmental sustainability. The building’s design principles will offer teaching opportunities and provide excellent material for inclusion in the College’s broad curriculum.” The ambition to use an engineered timber construction solution to achieve the coveted Passivhaus standard was decided on at an early stage of the project and the DFE have become strong advocates of offsite timber and hybrid solutions on projects nationally. Several other Passivhaus projects, of similar construction, are in the pipeline across the country, and the methodology is gaining traction for the DFE’s GenZero design for the future initiative.

Overall, from design through to manufacturing, transportation and onsite installation, the team used the latest digital tools collaboratively to ensure the project’s speedy and accurate construction. Full and early design collaboration between B&K Structures, HLM, Curtins and the supply chain partners – including full 3D modelling – enabled a compressed and efficient programme, resulting in a quicker overall speed of delivery for the client.

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