Established in 1995, BHA focuses primarily on the public sector, concentrating on Victorian projects in the areas of education, health and indigenous affairs. In recent years, the company’s presence in the offsite construction arena has grown through its involvement with school buildings, as BHA Program Manager Nick Strongman confirms.
“We have offices in both Melbourne and Geelong and have maintained an excellent association with VSBA – the Victorian School Building Authority (formerly Department of Education and Training) for over 20 years in the areas of educational facility planning, design and management.”
“Since 2011, as the program coordinator of the Relocatable Accommodation Service (RAS), BHA has actively supported VSBA and the current relocatable contractors to significantly modernise the design and construction of relocatable buildings in Victorian schools.”
Examples of this process include:
- Implementing LED lighting into the new relocatable buildings;
- Assisting in the removal of asbestos from relocatable buildings;
- Orientation considerations for relocatable buildings on site;
- Construction of new relocatable buildings (Including the prototype ENVI building);
- Recycled waste and rainwater;
- Heating and cooling;
- Use of daylight;
- Improved learning environment;
- Alternative energy sources;
- Master planning of school sites;
- Improving acoustic levels
Interior of a double storey relocatable building.
This building is a five module general purpose classroom that provides the school with two teaching spaces and entails five days’ construction time.
A two storey relocatable building delivered to Clifton Hill Primary School. This style of building takes 10-15 working days to construct and an additional 14 days on site to connect it to existing services and provide access.
Strongman confirms the company has been involved in the procurement of over 400 relocatable classroom buildings since 2011.
And as Victoria’s population booms, particularly in growth corridors, demand for additional school teaching spaces is at an all-time high.
“Relocatable teaching spaces produced via multiple factories across the state provide an extremely efficient and responsive solution to the demand for additional accommodation. BHA currently manages four relocatable contractors producing, transporting and installing relocatable buildings throughout the entirety of the calendar year. In 2011 the relocatable program was undertaking between 150-180 transfers of relocatable classrooms per year.
Over the last three years enrolment pressures have swelled that number to between 280- 300 per year, with new brand new relocatable classrooms supplementing a severely depleted and aging existing relocatable building stock.”
BHA has supported VSBA and the relocatable contractors in the design development and pre-fabricated construction of two-storey relocatable classroom buildings, while during 2016 RAS also committed to delivering innovative three-storey relocatable/ modular classrooms.
The majority of the relocatable program is required to be completed between August and February each year, in advance of the commencement of school, typically in the last week of January.
This is set up to provide each school with enough teaching spaces for their enrolments each year,” “says Strongman. “The majority of pre-fabricated 5mod classrooms have a 10-12 week turnaround from the initial order until occupation of the buildings on site. In the event of a fire or other emergency, the reinstatement program has the capacity to deliver and complete a relocatable building installation within a seven day timeframe to ensure minimal disruption.”
One of the KPIs under the current contract is to flatten out the peak period between November and February when the program has historically been most active over the Christmas holiday period.
“BHA has successfully managed to significantly increase the number of relocatable buildings delivered and handed over to schools between March-October. This is supported by the figures from September 2015 where the program had placed orders for 26.1% (81 relocatable classrooms) required for the start of the 2016 school year. At the same time this year the RAS program had placed orders for 61.6% (197 relocatable classrooms) which is an increase of 35.5%.”
The RAS program delivers between 280 and 315 relocatable classrooms for enrolment growth each year, all of which are required to be completed and occupiable for the first day of the following school year. As part of the ‘No Asbestos in schools policy’, this number has further increased as existing relocatable buildings containing hazardous material have been safely removed and replaced with new relocatable buildings.
“Over time, the school facilities have expanded with a mix of relocatable and permanent building developments making transport access to deliver multiple relocatable buildings to many sites increasingly challenging. The successful delivery of the program requires strategic pre-planning and exceptional communication and day-to-day execution by the relocatable contractors.”
Strongman confirms the construction of these buildings offsite significantly increases the efficiencies and quality control of the final product. “The 12 week average turnaround for a 5mod GPC means these buildings can be produced and installed swiftly to meet fluctuating enrolments and population growth.”
“An increase in production volumes offsite ensures the VSBA achieves value-for-money and the RAS can deliver a large program in a constrained timeframe, whilst ensuring limited disruption to schools.”
“Since 2011, as the program coordinator of the Relocatable Accommodation Service (RAS), BHA has actively supported VSBA and the current relocatable contractors to significantly modernise the design and construction of relocatable buildings in Victorian schools.” Nick Strongman – BHA
Meanwhile, following a review of current relocatable building practices in other states and territories, the VSBA has successfully implemented a Major Refurbishment Program to rejuvenate between 50-100 existing relocatable buildings each year.
“These buildings, typically in poor condition and/ or previously containing hazardous material, are stripped back to steel frame in the relocatable contractors’ factory and re-built to the building type in demand. The lack of supply has previously meant the RAS program had limited stock of ‘ready to go’ buildings in a suitable condition for modern teaching purposes. However, within 12-24 months the RAS program expects to have a fleet of 50+ refurbished relocatable buildings that can be delivered as required to support the accommodation requirements of all Victorian schools.” ■