Sector: ,


Starbank All Through School, Birmingham

Construction value:


Design team:


Thomas Vale Construction Ltd


Associated Architects

Main Contractor: 

Thomas Vale Construction Ltd

A bright, comfortable and efficient new school building



Long-established as a very popular and successful primary school, Starbank School in Birmingham had been identified as an ideal candidate to become an all-through school, meeting local demand for places. The school proposed to construct a new two and three storey building on an existing site as accommodation for the additional pupils.



The nature of the existing site meant that there was a possibility that the planned works could impact on the amount of effective daylight in the classrooms, so it was important for the design to meet Education Funding Authority (EFA) criteria. We assessed our preferred solution by using computational fluid dynamics, IES software and daylight modelling Day SIM software.

The building is also a highly glazed external façade, which raised potential concerns over continual overheating. Our challenge was to keep the building naturally ventilated throughout, specifically in the classrooms, in line with BB101 criteria and the current Part L regulations.



Working collaboratively with the architects and client, we produced a cost-effective, low-maintenance and user-operated natural ventilation strategy.  Our design also incorporated passive measures to reduce the impact of external conditions:

  • Structural overhangs above the highly glazed areas
  • Internal blinds
  • Roof mounted atrium louvres
  • Heating – high level mounted radiant panels to alleviate the risk of cold currents

In terms of regulatory requirements, the design met the EFA criteria for climate-based daylight modelling and BB101 criteria for natural ventilation in educational buildings.

The entire design was delivered in BIM using Revit MEP (Mechanical, electrical & public health).



The school is due to open in 2016 and will be able to accommodate a total of 1,320 primary and secondary school pupils. The building, which is expected to achieve an EPC (energy performance certificate) rating of B, will be light and colourful, providing a warm, welcoming and much-needed learning environment for the local community.