Modularity transformed Rollins Primary School in just 16 weeks
Just 16 weeks was all that Rendine Constructions needed at Geelong's Rollins Primary School to replace an ageing school wing with a brand-new, state-of-the-art education facility.
Using the proprietary Modularity by Rendine system, the rolling disruption to school life normally associated with major building works was compressed into short, manageable windows. Under traditional on-site construction scenarios, issues of noise, traffic, access and dust can last for eight months or more.
The results speak for themselves. The 45-year-old school in Bell Post Hill, in Geelong's northern suburbs, is rejuvenated by the addition of an architecturally-designed, interconnected section incorporating four classrooms, a hallway that can also act as a classroom, an art room, a covered walkway, and an auditorium-style outdoor decking area designed to support to outdoor learning.
In addition, a new administration precinct incorporates a guest foyer, front office, school executive office suite, kitchen, staff lunchroom, server room and toilets. Attractive landscaping and pathways add the finishing touches to one of Rendine Constructions' proudest achievements to date.
Chris Rickards is one of Rendine's most experienced foremen, having overseen more than a dozen school builds using traditional methods of construction. The Rollins project was the first time he has led a school build based on modular construction , in which buildings are fabricated in sections at Rendine's dedicated production facility and transported to the site for placement and connection to services.
“It's mind-boggling,” Chris says. “One day there's virtually nothing there, and pretty much the next day, classrooms are being placed and it's taking shape. People watching couldn't believe it, I almost couldn't believe it myself.”
The Modularity by Rendine system allows us to clear the site of existing infrastructure and create new footings. Simultaneously, modular sections are being designed and fabricated at our modern factory facility. This duality is the key to the remarkable time savings we are able to achieve for schools choosing Modularity.
“I do like a traditional build, but I look at it from the school's point of view, and the limited time we encroach on the school is so much better for them,” Chris says. “I had a lot of trades on site at Rollins, yet it seemed to be easier to control it.
“There was noise for two months, and that's it. On a normal build, it'd be noise for six to eight months. It didn't seem to worry (the school) at all while we were there.”
A total of 32 modular units were transported onto the Rollins school grounds in two carefully orchestrated stages and assembled in a visually stunning V-shape, connected by the outdoor decking space.
The precision of the Modularity by Rendine system is astonishing, Chris says. Adjustments of mere millimetres to the footings guaranteed a perfect match as a heavy-duty crane lifted each module from the truck and gently lowered it into its assigned place. The innovative, angular floorplan was “a bit of a different Meccano set” to more traditional classroom layouts, but simple to position and secure.
The arrival of the first set of modules - each about 3.6 metres wide and weighing 6 to 10 tons - fortuitously coincided with an empty school due to the pandemic-related school shutdown in May 2020. When the second set arrived in June, the school was buzzing with classes and children at play.
“We set the crane up, put up safety barriers, and had traffic management out the front and inside the school. Trucks carrying 13 'mods' drove through a fenced-off corridor, with crossing points where we could let the kids through,” Chris says.
“The kids were absolutely fascinated with the crane and the trucks, and the process of watching the mods go in.”
Rendine Constructions handed the site over to Rollins just 31 days after the second delivery of modules, complete with attractive landscaping and pathways and ready for classes the next day.
“The quality is fantastic,” Chris says. “It looks like a traditional build. If you didn't know, you would think it had been built on-site. And that's really what you want.”