Meet the Finalists

2022 | Secondary Schools

Thomas Prince MCIOB
Willmott Dixon

Christ Church, Church of England Secondary Academy, Birmingham: construction of three-storey school and sports hall, completed in 86 weeks. 

Client: Department for Education 

Contract: ESFA framework, design and build 

Value: £19m 

About the Project

Christ Church, Church of England Secondary Academy, Birmingham

programme fidelity on this new-build school. 

Instead of removing 600mm of topsoil, he retained it all on site, using lime and cement to stabilise the poor ground conditions. This dispensed with hundreds of muck-away lorry trips. It also generated the cut-and-fill material for building up the levels of a grass pitch and the soft landscaping.  

Tom’s drainage strategy was a model of how to gain on the programme and the budget. He realised that stormwater could be diverted to a brook connection off site rather than into the utility company’s water network. It would save the client £50,000 every single year. And the retained ground material came in particularly handy for forming flood-defence bunds around the pitches. 

His use of prefabricated rooflight soakers reduced cost and design time and boosted quality. They protected the single-ply membrane and minimised the roof works required. He simplified the roof construction by incorporating internal drainage to dispense with downpipes.  

And on a site plagued by theft, vandalism and antisocial behaviour, where the police could be called in twice a day, Tom deployed a host of measures. He employed a guard who had a rapport with the local kids, helped the neighbourhood football club out with fundraising, and made the works more bearable for residents by planting trees against the site boundary. 

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