Tilbury Douglas (DfE for Sheffield City Council)



Project Value



HLM Architects


Tilbury Douglas

Project Brief

We provided the civil and structural design for this new build two-storey school for eighty pupils aged 7 to 16 years with learning difficulties and social, emotional, and mental health needs (SEMH). The building’s simple and sustainable design and construction uses natural light and ventilation to create a safe, calm internal environment that connects to external break-out spaces.


We used BIM for coordinating our structural design for the steel frame with the architectural building model. This allowed us to highlight and resolve design clashes early in the design process. We assisted with design adjustments to meet the required light reflectance values and maximise natural light. We used ProjectVault to share drawings with the design team.

We designed the foundations for the main building and external plant compound, assessing existing tree influences in relation to depths and to mitigate against heave ground conditions. We helped coordinate an external gabion retaining wall to ensure proposed drainage was unaffected. We liaised with the precast concrete manufacturer to confirm the capacity of the floor planks to support plant and provide temporary material storage during the build.

We developed sustainable drainage measures such as permeable macadam and rainwater attenuation within the new MUGA. Our drainage solution complied with the local authority’s aspirations for a softer SuDS, adding an open dry swale to help slow run-off into a nearby brook and improve water quality. We produced a detailed Stage 3 cut and fill external surface model for the entire site.

We modelled the school building, hard standing paths, car park and landscaping areas to formation, coordinating with the landscape architect’s layout. We calculated the contamination levels within the cut and fill. We produced access tracking plans for maintenance and emergency vehicles.

We provided written updates to our client to contribute to SEND Gateway Reviews with the DfE.

Images courtesy of Tilbury Douglas (John Kees Photography)