Renovating and building high quality properties for schools
As experienced builders for education, we understand the challenges and priorities facing schools embarking on construction projects. The quality of the built environment has a profound impact on everyone but, in educational settings, it can be a real aid to learning. Our work renovating and rebuilding luxury residential properties makes us ideal partners; we’re renowned for high quality workmanship, strict budget management and disciplined scheduling.
We get involved in very different education build projects: theatres and performing arts studios, study areas, computing and science, and design and technology blocks. In many cases, we help schools create the kind of facilities that enable them to hire out the space to businesses and sports clubs.
Our school clients commission ambitious builds in line with the impressive plans they have for their students. As high-end builders, we not only bring the construction to life, we’re part of the design team ensuring buildability right from the start.
High-quality construction: a commitment to excellence
Whether it’s a completely new build or refurbishment of an existing building, we take immense pride in our craftsmanship and commitment to quality. Here are our three major considerations:
- Understanding the brief: we quickly get on board with the vision and understand the challenges facing our clients: timescale, safety issues, budget restraints and managing expectations of trustees and governors.
- Establishing buildability: our first role is working out how we can realise the architect’s design. Our affinity with the design process means that as a project progresses, we’re able to accommodate changes to the brief and recommend the most cost-effective solutions.
- Using the right techniques and materials: we recommend materials and construction techniques that are right for each individual job. Our aim is to meet the design brief while ensuring the cost effectiveness, durability and longevity of the build.
We have a solid reputation for problem-solving – that is coming up with solutions to problems and meeting challenges that inevitably emerge during a complex build project. Often, such events turn into opportunities of which we make sure our clients take advantage: a different, less expensive material or a simplified process.
Project management from concept to completion
The success of a building project hinges on the effectiveness of the process and management of every stage, from design to completion. Our planning ensures that every aspect of the project is coordinated, from scheduling 3rd party suppliers to the inevitable delays caused by changes in brief and availability of materials. Minimising the impact on budget and completion date remains a priority for us.
There are a number of parties for us to manage and liaise with: the school, their architects, and specialist suppliers. This is in addition to our own team of skilled trades people. As with all our projects, each phase of a build involves managing different materials and people, and inevitable re-scheduling. For example, the build of a new drama block will involve specialist suppliers and technicians to put the sound, lighting and full production technology in place. Basically, we assume responsibility for the whole project.
Two critical aspects of our project management are pragmatic scheduling and clear communication:
Pragmatic scheduling: minimising disruption to learning
Clear, consistent and informative communication is vital to keeping everything on track and everyone able to do their job. Our clients, the architect and the school bursars / business managers, need status updates to not only reassure but also ensure the timeliness of any decision-making on their part.
We encourage our clients to visit the site regularly so they can understand exactly how their build is progressing. Then, armed with detailed reports, they can update their trustees and governors with confidence. Essentially, we’ve always got the client’s back. They have Galower director level contact throughout the project but also know that a very capable site manager is on hand to answer queries and talk through any concerns.
Finance & Budgeting
Alongside the ‘vision’ and project timescale, sound financial planning is the other key metric by which the success of our building projects are measured.
We understand that schools operate within tight budgets; basically, every penny must be justified in terms of its impact on the educational experience of students. We run a transparent and detailed costings programme with data available in real-time to our clients. This includes providing accurate estimates, and identifying cost-saving opportunities as part of ongoing buildability. We work closely with quantity surveyors to help our clients achieve their goals while achieving an optimum spend.
We follow our clients’ procurement processes, and ensure that all financial transactions are clearly documented and communicated. Our unwavering commitment to financial transparency and accountability makes us the builder of choice for the education sector seeking a partner who understands and respects the financial realities of the sector.
Health & safety: prioritising the welfare of students and staff
- Compliance with regulations: we comply with a range of regulations and standards relating to both the build itself, as well as on-site health & safety.
- Risk assessment and mitigation: we conduct comprehensive risk assessments to identify potential hazards and concerns, and ensure that construction work proceeds safely.
- Safety training: our construction teams undergo regular safety training. They are well-informed about the unique safety requirements of working in educational environments.
- Secure worksite: safety measures, such as secured construction zones, are implemented to prevent unauthorised access to potentially dangerous areas. Our goal is to create a secure environment for everyone on-site.
We wanted a contractor who would be with us all the way, and that was definitely Galower. They faced some stiff opposition but ultimately, they won through: strong balance sheet, high standard of workmanship, the resource and ability to mobilise people to get the job done.
I relied heavily on Galower to keep me informed and able to report with confidence to my board of trustees. I felt they had my back. I had a direct line to Kevin and Mick and, together with foreman Hughie, they were always on hand to answer my questions. As for the build – it’s brilliant and inspiring. Just as we imagined it.”
Business manager, secondary school based in south London
Working with Galower Build: an inspiring experience
Our approach is characterised by professionalism, resourcefulness, reliability and a dedication to delivering an all-round great building experience. We've had the privilege of working with a number of schools and educational establishments, and our commitment to understanding the unique needs of this sector sets us apart.
From the initial consultation to the final walk-through, our team is accountable for every aspect of your project. This accountability doesn't end at completion; we stand by our work and are readily available for any post-construction support you may need. Our commitment to accountability ensures that you have a reliable partner who is responsive to your needs, now and in the future.
We understand that embarking on a construction project is a significant decision for your school, and we are here to support you every step of the way. We’d welcome the opportunity to discuss your construction needs, and how Galower Build can assist in realising your vision.