Santa Sophia Catholic College

Prefabrication innovation delivers $150M school in 16 months

Buildcorp delivered the $150million Santa Sophia Catholic College in Sydney’s Box Hill for the Catholic Education Diocese of Paramatta in just 16 months due to an innovative prefabrication strategy and a high level of quality control.

The new multi-storey, co-educational Kindergarten-to-Year-12 opened in November 2021 and will cater for up to 1,860 students and 130 full-time staff members. The school consists of five building zones, each rising to between four and six storeys, connected by podiums full of interactive play elements suited to the different student age groups. The diverse range of spaces includes collaborative learning areas, creative and performance hubs, open space, sporting facilities and an early learning centre for up to 60 children.

Take a virtual 360 degree tour of the completed school here.

Early Design outcomes

Buildcorp developed the design during an ‘ideal’ six month Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) period with key partners including TSA (Project Managers), BVN (Architects), Northrop (Structural Engineers), WT Partnership (QS) and Euroline (Joinery). The team worked closely to shape the building design from the outset, using an off-site prefabrication strategy and building information modelling (BIM) to coordinate key areas. The solutions that were developed helped to achieve the architectural and pedagogical design aspirations and significantly reduce the on-site delivery time.

Engaging with other key subcontractors early in the process enabled a seamless process, with façade and steel subcontractors on board before the design was finalised.

Prefabrication strategy

  • Structural steel framework: To manage supply chain capacity and risks, the structural steel prefabricated elements came from 16 supply chain locations within NSW.
  • Pre-cast concrete core and walls
  • Façade: Combination façade solution of curtain wall and modularised framing including all balustrading. Four different façade types across 2,000 façade panels and 1,600 balustrade panels. Full-scale façade mock-ups were created to validate the quality of the design and performance, and to ensure they were weatherproof.
  • Joinery + floor, wall & ceiling modules: 70% per cent of the joinery and interior panelling was made off-site by Euroline who sourced 100% Australian-made materials. Prototypes were created in the Euroline factory early in the process to enable the team to inspect samples before signing-off on full production and then storage before eventual site delivery.
  • Furniture: multiple modular furniture booths to facilitate flexible teaching and learning pods.

During construction, students of CathWest Innovation College were offered apprenticeships and work experience placements. Santa Sophia Catholic College students participated in the construction process though site tours, project team interviews and creating their own STEM project to get to know the school layout. Buildcorp developed 10 ‘digital construction milestone’ films that will be embedded in the school for future learning. View milestone films here.


Client

Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta

Architect

BVN

Contract sum

$150m

Program

16 months on site + 6 month ECI

Completion

October 2021