Blue sky at last!

The sun was finally shining when I headed up to site with my camera to catch the mobile crane on site for the day. It was there to load half of the roof panels up onto the steel structure ready for the roofer to start the fitting process which will continue over the next few months.

Mobile crane in action

Mobile crane in action

The crane arrived, pushed out the four stabilisers shown in the picture below. The crane then ‘unfolded’ itself. The driver then became the operator as he climbed into the lift fitted on the side of the crane and then went up into the cab to begin his work.

Crane operators cab

Crane operators cab

The crane was able to reach across the full width of the school. Steel panels for just over half of the school where lifted into position ready for the roofers to commence their work. it’s a long process with the steel panels, insulation layer and final board all to be fitted over the entire area of the school.


Mobile crane in action lifting roof panels ready for fitting

Below can be seen the swimming pool, situated at the front of the school. The contractors responsible for all aspects of the pool begin next week. Note the ‘gluelam’ beams above the pool. These will be visible from the inside pool area.

Swimming pool

Swimming pool

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Another grey day

It’s been a while since I have managed to get on site to get some more pictures – but when I did, it was yet another grey day – I’m hoping for some blue sky next week when the mobile crane arrives for a day to load the roof panels up onto the roof.  All of the steel work is now up and over half of the slab sections are now in. Things are progressing well and even with the recent inclement weather the builders are managing to keep on schedule.

The pool steelwork. The deeper hole is where the pool will be. You can also see the 'Gluelam Beams' which will be visible from inside

The pool steelwork. The deeper hole is where the pool will be. You can also see the ‘Gluelam Beams’ which will be visible from inside

Some of the insulation panels are in place and the building is beginning to take shape. The view below is looking from the back of the site towards the Food Tec and Art & Design areas. Once everything is complete no one should be driving into Art & design in a yellow dumper truck as is happening below!

View of' Food Tec' and 'Art & Design' at the back of the school

View of ‘Food Tec’ and ‘Art &Design’ at the back of the school

The view below is again from the back of the site along the primary side of the school. it’s possible to see the foot print of the class room ‘pods’ – an area of each classroom with a lower roof above (supported on the horizontal steel attached half way up the verticals)

Vie down primary side. Note the classroom 'pods'

Vie down primary side. Note the classroom ‘pods’

There’s a small strip of land which will be left in it’s natural habitat to enable the badgers to pass by the school without interruption – and even while the building is going on this is kept clear for them!

Happy badgers!

Keeping the badgers happy.

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Hand me another bolt

Week 16 saw the beginning of the steelwork rising out of the ground. It all seems like a gigantic Meccano set (for those of you who remember them), with the steelwork arriving, the crane lifting and the workman fixing and bolting it all together – and hopefully someone following the instructions carefully too!


Bolting together sections of steelwork over the staffroom

You can view more photos by following the ‘photos’ link in the menu above. You will find a link to Flickr, with lots more photos already there and more coming soon. If you haven’t already signed up to receive notifications of all updates as they happen, you can do so by entering your email address over to the right.


The two ‘buckets’ are sitting in the (not yet dug out) swimming pool.


This looks like a bit of fun!

The main service pipes are now in from the main entrance up by the road all the through to the site. The yellow pipe is for gas and two blue ones for water – one is ‘metered’ for all the water we use, the other, an ‘unmetered’ one for the fire sprinkler system which will be fed from it’s own separate underground tank close to the school building.


Service pipes – yellow for gas and blue for water (metered and unmetered)


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Week 14, 51 to go.

It’s hard to believe that we are over 20% through the building programme, but we are and there is less than a year to go to completion. Earlier this afternoon, on another bitterly cold day the three Davids (head, deputy and governor) made a site visit to see the progress. We had our usual site instructions from Mark before heading off around the site. On site, Dave was able to stand on the spot where his new office will be and take in the view. (click photos for larger view)


Mark gives us our safety instructions.
(I’m not sure what the actions are for!)


A meeting in the headmasters office?


Final levelling of the car-park


Everything is ready for the steelwork construction to begin


View to the back of the site
and theodolite for making measurements

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Snow stops play!

I’m a little late in posting this and it seems a while since the recent snow bought things to a halt for about a week. Snow covering the ground is a health and safety hazard.  On a building site it means that you cant see the holes in the ground – and there are lots of them, big and small! Not only that, but to pour concrete the temperature has to be above 3C. The diggers remained silent until the rain over the weekend washed the snow away and work could commence again. The project is now behind schedule, but indications are that it will be back on track soon!

The diggers are silenced as snow stops play.

The diggers are silenced as snow stops play.

With no activity out on site it gave the opportunity to have a quick look around the offices where everything is managed from. The walls are covered with plans, diagrams and schedules; the shelves are full of relevant files and documentation; and Ashmount’s head Dave Thomas has his induction to the do’s and don’ts of being on site.

Dave Thomas receives his site induction training

Dave Thomas receives his site induction training

3D view  (colours not accurate)

3D view (colours not accurate)

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The Dance of the Diggers

With the arrival of the New year there’s a bustle of activity on the field behind Charnwood College. The access road has been laid; the site buildings are all in place; and the machinery  and their operators are hard at work.

view up the access road

view up the access road

The view below is underneath the main car-park. The big tanks will collect all the surface water; store it temporarily and then release it at a set rate into the drainage system. It’s required to make sure that all the drains don’t get suddenly overwhelmed with too much water that they cannot cope with.

part of the retention system under the main car park

part of the attenuation system under the main car park

Throughout our visit to the site diggers were hard at work either digging, filling or leveling. It was like the ‘Dance of the Diggers’ with the the silhouettes of their arms stretching out against the setting sun. Only a few more sunsets and it will all be complete . .

Please don't dig me up too

Please don’t dig me up too

The Dance of the Diggers

The Dance of the Diggers

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The invasion of the diggers

Monday 19th November was the day that building began – week one – only another seventy or so to go! The first tasks are to set up the site, put in the access road, and start leveling the site. A quick glance at the field might suggest that it flat, but it’s not – it slopes. In the design stage we had to decide at what level the school would sit relative to the other buildings on the site, and relative to the access road into the new car park – and that decision had an implication as to how much soil had to be moved around and moved offsite.

Preparation for new access road (looking towards where the new front of the school will be)

Preparation for new access road (looking towards where the new front of the school will be)

They say that winter is never an ideal time to start a building project and with some of the recent weather we have had we can understand why – during the first week there was one day when the diggers were mostly digging up water!

diggers at work at the back of the site

diggers at work at the back of the site

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Smiles all round at the turf cutting ceremony

It was smiles all around as the sun shone down on the long awaited cutting of the turf ceremony on November 5th. Peter Lewis, Chairman of the County Council spoke of the many different people who had worked so well together to get us to this exciting point in the project. He then wielded his spade to make the first incision into the field – but thankfully wasn’t let loose in the digger that was parked up for the photographs.

Peter Lewis, (County Council chairman), Dave Thomas (Ashmount Head) and Mark Sutton (Charnwood College Head) pose for the photographer

Pupils, staff and governors from Ashmount School were on hand to witness the event, along with members of Charnwood College school council. Every one was kitted out with visibility jackets and hard hats to play their part in the happy occasion.

Smiles all round at the cutting of the turf


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Bricks and blocks in the autumn sunshine

There are just a few days to go now until the turf will be cut and building work commences. It’s a fantastic autumn day today and we were up on site to go through more details and make sure everything is on track.

I took the opportunity to grab the samples of the bricks and blocks to be used (being supplied by a local manufacturer) and get a picture of them out in the sunshine. The red bricks, appropriately named the ‘Leicester Autumn Multi’, compliment well the ‘Fireborn Cream’ blocks and both looked fantastic against the autumn colours under the blue sky and glorious sunshine.

Bricks and blocks to be used on the New Ashmount School

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Final approved granted – the countdown begins . . .

This morning we heard confirmation that the final hurdle has been cleared and the countdown begins for the building to commence. It seems a long while since the planning application went in, but following the Local Authority Planning Department’s approval; the Secretary of State’s approval; and now the final approval of Section 77 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990, we are ready to begin.

Final approval for the new school is granted

The school has waited many years to reach this point. At last building can commence to build a new Ashmount Special School. Last year the school was classed as ‘outstanding‘ by Ofsted. We can now move forward and build on that success and make sure Ashmount School continues to provide the best possible education for special needs children well into the 21st Century.

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