Building brighter futures
Established to provide secondary school education and vocational training to nearly 400 pupils, Lake Bunyonyi School is located in one of the most deprived areas of Southern Uganda. Many students are orphans or have to travel up to 30 miles to attend, so boarding facilities are essential.
The work formed part of our Share Our Skills programme (SOS), which enables our engineers to dedicate time to projects that need it most, without charging a fee. With support from the Richard Feilden Foundation and the Happold Foundation, we carried out improvements including a new dining area, general infrastructure across the school, significant ground stabilisation and, most recently, a boy’s dormitory.
The latest phase of construction work took place over the summer of 2016. Working in close collaboration, the team completed the fit-out of the boy’s dormitory and carried out ground stabilisation and access work.
An important aspect of the project was ensuring that the staff and students have a comprehensive understanding of the works and future maintenance requirements, enabling the school to be as self sufficient as possible in the future. Another objective was to support the students in their learning, teaching them about elements of the construction that they will then be able to use in their prospective careers.
The school’s location on a steep slope presented a significant technical challenge, as they can become destabilised under the heavy rainfalls and may slip or collapse, damaging buildings and restricting access routes. A further challenge was the need to carry out construction in a developing country while maintaining the best health and safety practice possible.
Health and safety is not usually a consideration in Ugandan construction, so we needed to ensure the local workers understood the risks associated with the project and that they remained safe during the works. We established simple safety features – for example providing masks, hard hats and other protective equipment – while also instilling an understanding of how to reduce risk. Our advice on improving health and safely was positively received by employees.
The school’s location on a steep slope presented a significant technical challenge. In the wet season, these slopes can become destabilised under the heavy rainfalls and may slip or collapse, damaging buildings and restricting access routes. Many of the school’s buildings are constructed in areas that were excavated out of the existing slopes, leaving even steeper cut faces uphill of the buildings in need of support.
We installed adequate draining to direct water away from the slopes to protect the boy’s dormitory, and also constructed a revetment wall adjacent to the building to protect it from future soil slips. We utilised solutions that used recourses available in Uganda.
During the project, we showed workers, students and staff how the existing drainage paths were disconnected, and amended the guttering to function better.
As well as completing much needed improvements to the school to enable more students to attend, our team were also able to pass down skills to sixth form students by hiring them as part of the work force and providing them with invaluable site experience. Today the school is largely self-sustaining, and it is hoped they will continue to be in the future.
Services and approach
When we integrate our specialist teams around an approach, the benefits to the client multiply