29th April 2019

Thomasons meets Tatton MP at Rudheath Senior Academy

On 25th February 2018, Rudheath Senior Academy (then University of Chester Academy Northwich or UCAN) was ravaged by fire. Most of the building was destroyed, including the assembly and exam halls. Within a week of the disaster, however, staff and students were making every effort to resume teaching and learning as plans for reconstruction began.

Significant remedial work was needed before reconstruction could commence, which is now well underway.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Thomasons was appointed to reinstate the fire damage at the academy in line with UCAN’s insurance. As project managers, Thomasons provided multidisciplinary support in the areas of structural engineering, building surveying, quantity surveying, principal design and contract administration.

Safeguarding staff and students was the first priority, separating useable areas of the academy from fire damaged ones. Following decontamination and cleaning, Thomasons developed a refurbishment plan around the school’s greatest areas of needs, such as IT suites for exam preparation. The final phase commenced in February.

While addressing the fire damage, the team uncovered pre-existing defects, which weren’t part of the claim, such as structural elements which had exceeded their intended design life. Common with 20th century buildings, asbestos added another obstacle.

At the end of April, the engineers met the Rt Hon Esther McVey MP on site, while she visited to see the progress that had been made since the fire. After a tour of the academy, the former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pledged support to the project and the school’s bid for further government funding.

Last November, the academy was taken over by North West Academies Trust, one of the highest performing trusts in the country with a strong reputation for drastically improving schools. Only one month before the fire, UCAN had received a good Ofsted rating, which sets the foundation for future improvements in line with the school’s new motto: Resilience, Scholarship, Ambition.

Paul Robinson, senior project manager at Thomasons, comments: “The defects we uncovered, while a challenge, have empowered the trust to petition for additional grant funding to help resolve the issues not covered through the insurance claim. We hope our work at Rudheath Senior Academy will contribute to a safer and healthier learning environment for its staff and students.”

To read more about Thomasons work in insurance, click here.