Why Modularity by Rendine scores A+ from schools
Running a school whilst major on-site building works are taking place is traditionally a chaotic experience.
The noise, disruption to services, loss of classroom space and obstructions can last up to 18 months, placing students and teachers under duress and adding to the burden of administrators.
At Rendine Constructions, minimising the impact of construction on school life was a key consideration in devising the Modularity by Rendine system.
Using this clever and highly efficient form of modular construction and installation, we hand over sparkling new, architecturally-designed buildings in around half the time taken by traditional methods of construction.
The key lies in our ability to precisely engineer and fabricate buildings in smaller, or 'modular' sections. This is done at our dedicated factory facility at Moolap, in Geelong, not on the client's site.
As Rendine's skilled fabrication team progresses each modular section through our purpose-built production line, an installation team is simultaneously clearing and preparing the site.
When the pre-built modular sections arrive by truck, we lift them into place, bolt them together and connect services. The lengthy inconveniences associated with traditional construction are compressed into a few weeks, says Rendine Constructions General Manager, Michael Thornton.
“There's a real buzz around the school the day the buildings arrive on the truck. Within hours, an empty site has become a new classroom or an entire new wing,” he says.
“It's a 'wow' moment for everyone at the school, and it doesn't take long for us to connect everything up, complete cosmetic work and landscaping, and hand over the keys.”
The precision built into the process - from the first pen stroke in our design studio to the final rivet at the site - means each project can be designed to complement its new environment, optimising factors such as orientation to capture natural light, and site topography.
Rendine Constructions was founded in 1973 and has constructed and maintained dozens of schools over several decades. This results in a deep understanding of educational needs, says Managing Director Greg Mills, adding that sometimes, small details make the biggest difference.
“When you ask the kids, what they say is soft carpet, because that's where they sit,” he says. “It seems obvious, but that stuff gets missed by other builders. I've been building schools all my working life and I've never once heard anyone ask, 'what's the carpet like to sit on for four hours a day?' It's our job to understand those things - easy to overlook, but so important.”
Rendine's process also seeks to understand the specific needs of each school, says Michael Thornton. “Every individual school has different teaching methods, so we make sure the building is geared up to support that,” he says.
“At Tate Street Primary School, we constructed four classrooms with a dividing wall in the middle of each pair so you could team-teach with the door open, or have individual class spaces. There were areas with different colours so you could break into smaller groups, and there was a breakout room for some specialist work.”
Every step in the Modularity process is guided by Rendine's in-house team of specialists including designers, engineers, fabricators, builders, plumbers and more.
We even have our very own school-whisperer - former classroom teacher turned Rendine Design Manager, Amy van Berkel.
“We go to the school and find out what they like, look at the school's colours, what colours and materials are already in the school, and try and blend into their environment - unless they specifically want something to stand out,” Amy says.
With the entire project pre-planned and locked in at the outset - all the way down to door handles and light switches - absolutely nothing is left to chance. Any problems that arise are never a problem for long - the team tackles them head-on and aim to resolve them on the spot.
Unlike other modular offerings based on standardised, mass-produced units, Modularity by Rendine allows the client to specify a unique design, incorporating cutting-edge architectural elements or even add fully bespoke touches, such as school colours or themes.
The innovative Modularity architecture is also perfectly suited to incorporating cutting-edge Biophilic Design, examining natural features, lighting, colour, layout, sound, views, information richness and sense of security. The result is tranquil, nature-based classroom spaces that stimulate the senses of students, yet also feel welcoming and safe.
The process was developed in conjunction with Dr Philip Roos from Deakin University School of Architecture and Built Environment, building on the work of North American biologist and theorist Edward O. Wilson that suggests humans innately seek connections with nature.
“There's a very broad scope of design options, configurations and feature-richness that we can build into Modularity project - anything the client wants, really,” says Michael Thornton. “Crucially for schools, most of the work happens out of sight of their day-to-day operations, until it's almost complete. And then, boom. One day it's a vacant site and the next day it's a school wing.”
Michael says Rendine's clients are consistently astonished by the quality, speed and convenience of the process. “With Modularity by Rendine, we strive to make it a hassle-free experience for any school to undertake a major upgrade or renovation.”