Restoring a fire damaged school in a conservation area

Extensive fire damage at Parracombe Primary School in September 2011 destroyed the central portion of the main building, leaving the facilities in an unsafe condition and open to the elements.  It was therefore decided that the opportunity should be taken to rebuild the school, to adjust the accommodation, layout and facilities to better suit current education practice.


Emergency works followed to make the site safe, to clear the debris, and to provide temporary protection to the hall in order to minimise further damage to the stone and cob wall structure.


NPS was on hand to provide expert advice and support to the client, guiding them through the process at every stage of the work. The decision to rebuild the school required them to demonstrate no overall betterment to the insurers.  Being within a conservation area, communication with Exmoor National Park was vital, and early consultation with the Park planners led to a helpful and constructive dialogue throughout the project.


Works progressed well despite initial difficulties including discovery of buried asbestos debris, and an underground culvert found to be in a different position to that indicated on record and survey drawings. Following a hasty redesign of the foundations and front portion of the building, the contractor, Skinner Construction, worked diligently to claw back lost time. Throughout the project all variations required loss adjustor approval prior to the issue of contract instructions and all parties worked together to resolve issues promptly.