• Location


  • Contractor/Developer

    Willmott Dixon

  • Project Size


The project: Plymouth City Council needed a new primary and nursery academy in the Derriford area of North Plymouth. To achieve value for money, quality of build and a shorter construction timeline compared to traditional build methods, they chose a standard model concept from the innovative Sunesis range of schools. Sunesis is a JV between Scape Group and Willmott Dixon.

The brief: St Matthew’s was scheduled to open in September 2015 and provide facilities for 630 local students. Located within the city boundaries, site access would be restricted and absolute certainty of build was needed so, Plymouth chose the Sunesis Dewey school model – designed specifically for sites of this nature.

The solution: Recognising the significant benefits that offsite manufacturing has over traditional forms of construction, Sunesis uses a range of enhanced offsite construction technologies. And, having worked with Fusion for well over a decade, Willmott Dixon knew its light gauge steel solution and manufacturing process would be ideal to deliver the Dewey school design.

The delivery: Working as part of an integrated supply chain, Fusion contributed to St Matthew’s being built in just 39 weeks, against a base programme of 44 weeks. This was the fastest time the Dewey model had ever been delivered and significantly faster than traditional build methods would have been.

Fusion’s panelised system allowed for flexibility during onsite erection which made it highly compatible with follow-on trades. And the overall success of the project was achieved in part through collaborative workshops with the supply chain at key stages to develop the delivery programme.

“Cost, programme and performance certainty are the cornerstones of the Sunesis guarantee. With construction programmes from as little as 26 weeks this demanding timeframe can only be achieved through offsite manufacturing techniques. We’ve worked with Fusion since 2001 and St Michael’s is one of many Dewey model schools we’ve built with them as an offsite partner.

“Manufacturing in a factory environment, with quality control processes, enhances build quality and delivers significant time savings. – up to 50% compared to traditional build methods. This is part of our overall aim for Sunesis, driving an evolutionary change in school procurement.”

Tim CareyNational Product Director, Willmott Dixon