Overheated school ‘operated within design parameters’

LES Quennevais school was built in accordance with the ‘bible’ used for building schools in the UK, the government has said, despite pupils being sent home several times this summer amid sweltering temperatures.

Pupils at the £40million school – which opened in September 2020 – have also been asked to wear PE kit instead of uniform during the island’s heatwave, due to health concerns. air conditioning which only needs to be fixed after the summer holidays, with the government having to foot the bill.

In response to a series of questions from the JEP, the government said the new school was operating “within engineering design parameters”.

The government’s response, endorsed by Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet, also confirmed that air conditioning was not part of the school’s original design – due to no maximum temperature for classrooms specified. by the UK Department of Education or School Premises (England) Regulations 2012.

The response also confirmed that there was no recourse against the contractor because “the building was performing to specification”. This means that the government foots the bill to correct the problems. The JEP has asked what the total estimated cost of this work is and is awaiting a response.

Deputy Minister Binet and Education Minister Inna Gardiner visited the school hours after they were elected to the new positions last month to assess the situation.

The design of the new school has been carried out to the Building Bulletin standard, the government confirmed, adding: “The specification accepts that there will be hot days and against this specification the school operates within engineering design parameters.”

When a heat wave coincided with the early stages of the fall term in September 2021, “problems in operation” were identified.

The response added: “These [issues] were resolved, but it became clear that even with these flaws corrected and the system functioning properly, the school management did not consider this to result in a good educational environment.

The mitigation options were commissioned by Jersey Property Holdings, the government team responsible for the project.

Although new air-handling units were due to be installed in the spring of this year, the units later became unavailable on just one week’s notice following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the government said. .

During the current summer holidays, they say, work is being done as follows: “Mechanical cooling units are being inserted to try and adapt the breathable building system to mitigate the higher temperatures for the bathrooms. specifically identified problem class. Additional sun protection and shading measures are also implemented.

When asked whose responsibility it is to ensure the building is fit for purpose and what responsibility exists, the response said: ‘The building has been constructed to best practice and operates within those specifications .

“Work is underway to determine if the UK school’s design specification is not acceptable on the island, what other specifications might be available. The cost impact of adopting an alternative specification would need to be assessed, as this would be an entirely new design parameter that would apply to the entire educational stock.

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