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How to build a school classroom (It’s easier than you think)

School building projects can be intimidating. Between funding, timing, design choices and all the logistics of construction, it can be overwhelming. Where would you even start?

But despite these challenges, the possibilities are fantastic. Imagine the extra space and what you could do with it. Imagine a state of the art classroom that has all the gear needed for modern teaching. Imagine bright, warm, inviting rooms with windows that embrace the outdoors. Simply put, classrooms that teachers and students love, and don’t just endure.

Focussing on positive goals like these can help us push through with the more challenging aspects like practical logistics. But also, those logistics might not be as tricky as you think. With Vertis, in as little as eight weeks you could have your new classroom ready to enjoy. Here’s the typical journey of one of our standard build classrooms.

Step 1: What and where to build

The first step is consultation and identifying where to build. You can book a free, no strings attached consultation with us where we visit your school and see what the situation is. We can discuss the challenges you’re facing, and what your dream building would be like. Then we can go away and translate that into a concrete plan.

For the location of your building, that’s usually the edge of a playground or field, but we’ll look at where best suits your school. We’ll ensure that the space is available and geologically viable for construction. Then we’ll look at the building’s orientation in relation to the sun and the rest of the school estate to ensure the best possible setup for the future. With the site location secured, we’ll look together at the specific layout of the classroom. You can identify your ideal teaching wall, display spaces and room configuration. There’s future-proofing to think about too – keeping the building flexible for future technological updates should you want them. We work under JCT Design and Build Contracts. You can project manage these contracts yourself, or you can appoint a Chartered Surveyor to handle them for you. Then there’s just the planning application and tender process to sort, and we can help you with that too. Once we have been awarded your contract for the project, then we can arrive on site.

Step 2: Preparing the site

Next, we arrive and start preparing the site. We’ll level the ground, removing any soft landscaping, equipment or existing buildings in the way. Then there’s a ground test, taking readings to ensure the ground can support a building using our regular foundations. A detailed structural design of the building will be completed. The production and pre-fabrication of your building will begin off-site.


Step 3: Laying foundations

Next stage is a health and safety review, setting up the building site ensuring a secure and safe space. Remember, all this can run in term time with minimal disruption to your school environment.

Then come the foundations. We’ll also install utility services, doing trench excavation for power, water, drainage and cabled connections (i.e. fire/ security alarms, and data connections for internet access).

Step 4: Above-ground building

At the eight-week mark, above-ground work starts on site, the bulk of the construction process. That means:

  1. Erecting the building superstructure

  2. Installing windows and doors and making the building weathertight

  3. Internal fit out – here we manage liaison with your school's existing fire, security, and data contractors.

  4. Electrics and plumbing services

  5. Drylining, plastering and internal decoration

  6. External finishes on the building

  7. Final internal fitout – flooring, ceiling, heating,

With those complete, we hand the building over to your contractors and they’ll sort soft and hard landscaping on the outside of the building.

Exterior view of Vertis modular classroom at a primary school

Step 5: You’ve made it!

Your building is complete and is now open! It’s all yours and you can start equipping and setting up your new space ready for teaching.

Hopefully reading this shows you that though a building project can be intimidating, there’s a logical flow to it, it doesn’t need to take months and months, and crucially - we take care of it for you. At Vertis we make an effort to stay out of your way and keep disruption to a minimum.

If you’d like to start talking and dreaming for your next school building, you can book a free consultation here.

Watch a classroom come to life

In the video below you can see a timelapse of the creation of new classroom we built for Offley Primary School in Hertfordshire, and hear what Head Teacher Mr Edwards thought of it.