Fast Track Projects

Category: Frameworks

Anthony Gell School, Roofing Repair Works

Award winning scheme demonstrating excellence in customer service, customer understanding and collaboration to deliver urgent fast track works to a live school.

Anthony Gell School is a coeducational secondary school and sixth form located in Wirksworth, Derbyshire. It began as a Free Grammar School established by Anthony Gell in 1576. The school moved to its present site in 1908 and became a voluntary controlled school in 1944.

The building was designed by the distinguished county architect George H Widdows. It was one of a large number of new schools built to Widdows’ designs by Derbyshire County Council in the early 20th century. 

Widdows was at the forefront of the movement to build schools in which high standards of hygiene were as important as educational provision following 1907 legislation brought in by the Board of Health. Widdows developed a series of innovative designs introducing high levels of natural daylight and effective cross ventilation in schools. 

The school is understandably very proud of its building’s design and history, with a keen interest in preserving its heritage. 

When we were made aware of the project the school had been operating with structural propping in both front entrances to support two gabled roofs, which had suffered structural issues as a result of sub-standard roofing works, with some unstable Ashlar masonry to the front facade. 

Not only was the propping at the entrances causing inconvenience to the school and students, having been in place for over two years following the Covid-19 pandemic. The ongoing issues with the damaged roof had also left two vital teaching spaces unusable. These spaces were usually used for music tuition and provided private spaces for student counselling sessions. This meant the school had to run a bus service to music lessons off site and incurred the extra costs associated, and students’ access to critical counselling sessions was restricted during this time.  


We discussed procurement options available with Derbyshire County Council and their consultants Concertus. 

The decision was taken to use direct award through the SCAPE framework. This procurement route allowed us to provide Derbyshire County Council with early contractor and supply chain involvement through a free feasibility report on the project. This included an initial programme review, high level costings, review of logistics and the proposed completion timeline. 

Throughout the pre-construction four week period we completed surveys and investigations of the works, to ensure full understanding of the project parameters, and aligned the programme to robust details. We engaged our expert local supply chain to develop the scope and deployed our own direct workforce to resource the scheme, ensuring we could get moving on site quickly. 

We managed the risk of the roof collapsing and potential water ingress during the works through developing a temporary works design and ensuring suitable protection.


To begin the works we assisted the appointed structural engineers with the design to completely replace the roofs.

We formed good early working relationships with the school business manager and premises manager to ensure we understood the specific environment, safeguarding requirements and restrictions. We designed our site compound with minimal cabins and area required, and programmed our works to fit around the school schedule, with the project completing in time for the new academic year.  

Scaffold was installed allowing access to the entrances. The project required works to be carried out above each entrance to the school. These works were programmed to ensure one entrance could always remain in operation, causing minimal disruption.

We worked very closely with Concertus, the structural engineer and the building control officer, who attended the site regularly to inspect and sign off the works.

New roof timbers and valleys were installed, whilst new lead work was fitted to the valleys and rear of the Ashlar facade. A new breathable membrane was also installed. The new roof structure was attached to the masonry with metal straps and plates. The Ashlar stone was keyed into the building using helifix stainless steel rods and specialist mortar / resin as was the internal brickwork. New aluminium windows with masonry support systems were installed with fire stopping as directed by Concertus.

Re-pointing of the masonry was carried out as directed by the structural engineer. Internally, the two rooms were insulated, boarded and skimmed, new skirtings, window boards and pipe boxings were installed. Both rooms were decorated and fitted with new carpets.

Throughout the works we kept everyone on site updated with the day’s activities with daily meetings, email and phone conversations. We were also issued with a school walkie talkie for daily comms. 

Feedback & Positive Outcomes

The service, communication and quality of work were excellent throughout. In particular the site management by Andy Whitehead surpassed all expectations. It was an absolute pleasure to work with Andy and all of the team at Stepnell. In addition we received very positive feedback from school. There were no defects. All works were completed within the programme. Colin Bridges, Senior Building Surveyor – Concertus Design and Property Consultants Ltd

“I want to thank the construction team for all the hard work you have put in over the last few months to improve our school premises. Our students can now enjoy being in these classrooms, in a clean and bright environment. There is always some crisis to overcome in a school building and to have contractors who know what they are doing, tackle whatever comes their way with good humour and get the job done is a real bonus and much appreciated. Thanks for your hard work, expertise, and positive attitude.” Holly Walker-Riggott, School Business Manager – Anthony Gell School

Award Winning

The Anthony Gell scheme was awarded ‘Customer Service Excellence’ at the SCAPE Partner Celebration.


  • Zero RIDDORs – 100%
  • SMEs – 100%
  • Service Pre-Con Satisfaction Score – 9/10
  • Product Pre-Con Satisfaction Score – 10/10
  • Value For Money Pre-Con Satisfaction Score 10/10
  • Service Construction Satisfaction Score – 10/10
  • Product Construction Satisfaction Score – 10/10
  • Value For Money Construction Satisfaction Score – 10/10

Social Economic benefits

At Anthony Gell School, apprentice joiner Dale Martin spoke to six groups of Y10 students about his career journey, the work we were doing on the school roof, the traditional joinery techniques he was learning and has to demonstrate for his apprenticeship. Two groups managed to build the highest LEGO towers we have ever seen, topping over two metres!

Highlights included: 

  • Employability session with Derbyshire North Youth Hub for 16-25yo
  • Careers guidance for over 50s returning to work with DWP JobCentre Plus
  • Future Makers Mentoring
  • 5 weeks of apprentice training for Level 2 joinery
  • 5 mock assessment centre brick tower challenge workshops delivered to Y10 at Anthony Gell School
  • 69% local spend within 20 miles

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