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Atom Consultants played an integral part in Balfour Beatty winning the bid for the Hertfordshire Building Schools for the Future programme (BSF) and came up with a ground breaking industry standard for modular school builds. Unfortunately, this £1.3 billion project got later scrapped by the government and only 2 out of the 100 schools pledged got built. These prototype schools were Marriott and Lonsdale in Stevenage, Herts.

The key objective to Hertfordshire council was to reduce the expenditure on educational facilities, while addressing the increasing capacity needs, providing equal quality of education and maximising the value of existing assets. The predominantly ’60s and ’70s estate, built according to the SEAC/Hill System ( South Eastern Architects Collaboration) needed revamping and a more fitting System Build Method was sought, while still realising significant and rapid economies of production and scale. Atom’s challenge was to come up with a modular method, which would complement as well as fit into existing SEAC build. Hence a BBSB (Balfour Beatty System Build), later renamed to BBi600, was born.

Key advantages of BBi600 are:

  • Deliverability, complete testing, factory commissioning
  • Improved flexibility
  • Expanded product/component range and specifications
  • Better established construction programme and continuous improvement
  • Demonstration of quality to HCC and schools
  • utilisation of smart components to increase efficiency and cost effectiveness
  • creation of flexible, adaptable spaces, which are light, generous, comfortable and well ventilated as well as flexible

All internal components were also delivered in a modular method, i.e. all toilet pods, external facades, wall systems, ICT hubs, stair cores and sports halls were manufactured off-site and later installed on site. What’s more, the components were designed to be adjustable to further enhance design flexibility.

BBi600 has set a new industry standard to school builds in UK and is currently used to develop leading edge educational facilities for our future generations every day.


” The implementation of Off-Site manufacture for this school delivery programme was an essential part of our winning bid. Atom Consultants helped us develop this exceptional new delivery method for schools and provided our bid team with many highly detailed images which helped explain our proposals to the Clients team. “

Robert Preston
Project Director
Balfour Beatty Scottish & Southern

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