North Oxfordshire Academy

North Oxfordshire Academy

  • CLIENT; United Learning Trust C/O North Oxfordshire Academy (NOA)
  • STATUS; Completed May 2015
  • SIZE; 262m2 internal floor area
  • PRICE £PSM: £1,423 (Full Turnkey inc. Airsource, bringing all services to site & hard landscaping)
  • ARCHITECTS; Richard Walker, Walker Graham
  • STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS; Ian Harban Associates
  • AIR PERMEABILITY: 2.47 m3/h/m2 @50pa
  • Download Drawings Here


In August 2014 Timberworks Europe Ltd were contacted by Walker Graham Architects to tender for the supply and finish of a high quality, thermally efficient contemporary Nursery Building classroom ready for use by babies and infants from April 2015. Following an extensive quality/price analysis Timberworks were delighted to win the tender ahead of three others.


Throughout the initial consultations with the client and their architects, the intention was that the building had to deliver a fabric led solution to deliver high levels of energy efficiency as well as delivering a bright, useful and happy place for young people to learn in. The building is positioned so as to derive the maximum amount of natural light and solar heat gain and is laid out so that it delivers versatile space for the children. Having reviewed the plans, elevations and outline specification with our fabricators and the clients’ architects and our principle sub-contractors the final building specifications were agreed and the North Oxfordshire Academy issued their letter of Intent in late September 2014.

The building

The building was built off site in our facility in Estonia.

The client and their advisers were particularly keen on off site manufacturing for the following reasons;

  1. The speed of building shortens site times, reduces weather delays on site and provides significant cost savings.
  2. Improved quality and consistency of build.
  3. Reduced site times minimise Health and Safety risks associated with delivering building projects in a working school during term time.
  4. Reduced traffic movements (all the materials for the superstructure arrived on 4 lorries) lessens the impact on neighbours and the environment.

The whole structure comprised of only 63 panels. All the internal, external walls as well as the roof were delivered as panels on four articulated lorries and were offloaded and installed using a 35t crane. The panels were pre-clad internally in Fermacell and externally in either battens for diagonal cladding, or PowerPanel for rendering on site. The panels were insulated with 150mm of Rockwool insulation prior to delivery and the pre-installed Alu-wood framed windows were double glazed and Argon filled as were the external doors.

Energy performance

The as built energy performance figures for the building are as follows;

  • The roof has a u-value of 0.16w/m2K and the walls deliver u-values of 0.22 w/m2K.
  • The Air Permeability of the finished structure was an impressive 2.47 m3/m2/hr @ 50pa.
  • Heating and hot water is provided by an Air Source Heat Pump and fed through 2.5km of underfloor heating pipes.

… And the building has an overall EPC rating of A

With energy performance figures like these it has been estimated that the running costs of the nursery will be significantly less than an equivalent building built to current UK average EPC and Air Permeability standards… And that is before any consideration is made of the cost offset via Renewable Heat Incentive payments generated by the Air Source Heat Pump.

Julie Hughes, the Academy Business Manager who co-ordinated the project for the school is quoted as saying …

“We are absolutely thrilled with the building; it does everything we asked for and more. I’d be extremely happy to speak to anyone who is looking to undertake a similar project”.

…and Richard Walker (Architect and Contracts Administrator) commented saying…

“We are absolutely thrilled with the building; it does everything we asked for and more. I’d be extremely happy to speak to anyone who is looking to undertake a similar project”