READ Construction

Abbey School
and Boarding House

Innovative | Sustainable | CollaborativeOptimised Construction Solutions


Project name: Abbey School and Boarding House

Scope of Works: Refurbishment and alterations

Location: Chester

Contract: JCT

Value: £6,250,000

Duration: 80 weeks

Client: Abbey School Ltd


Award winning scheme to transform the unoccupied Grade II listed buildings to form a new school and boarding house for children with special education needs. Based in the heart of Chester, the buildings originate from the 1700’s.

The project included the refurbishment and alterations to two separate buildings within the same site. The completed scheme is a private boarding school for children with ASD and similar challenges. The extremely constrained site required logistical planning with ‘just in time’ material scheduling necessary to progress the works without obstructing the highway. The delivery team ensure close supervision of all supply chain members to ensure the strict access & egress rules are adhered to.

The building’s grade 2 listed status required regular liaison with the heritage officer to ensure features of historic significance were not disrupted and to seek approvals for construction materials and techniques. The Read site team managed the liaison and interface with the conservation officer, heritage consultant, architect and client team ensuring full communication and audit trail of approvals and samples. The completed project had zero instances of damage or compromise to the heritage aspects.


The scheme was awarded the LABC National Award for Best Non-Residential Conversion. The judging panel highlighted the exemplar project, which exceeded the standards for a refurbished historic building.

Lorna Stimpson, LABC Chief Executive said, “The Cheshire West and Chester building control team recognised the complexity of the project early and assigned two building control officers to ensure continuity at the plans stage and availability through the inspection stages. On site design meetings early in the process established clear strategies for fire, access, energy use, ventilation and acoustics and same day inspections took place throughout the project.”

What was said ...
  • Craig Barron, Director - Barron Design

    Matt has managed the programme very well, even with all of the challenges this project has given the Team. The site team delivery has been very good throughout, but the time management on site by Joe in particular has been outstanding and without compromising quality – truly exceptional.

    Andrew has managed the costs and looked to find the best value for the customer at every opportunity. We have had every confidence in the financial reporting throughout the project.

    An absolute tribute to the systems Read have developed over many years to be able to manage such a complex project during such difficult times with no lost hours accident or incident.

    Reads approached this project with a collaborative and open attitude from the outset. The scope has evolved as the project progressed and the team has responded, delivering an exceptional set of buildings on programme and within the agreed cost.

    An exceptional Team effort and an exemplar in partnering for construction contracts.

    We are looking forward to negotiating the next phase of works in the near future.

  • Kate McDonough, Associate - Barron Design

    I just wanted to show my thanks for all your hard work for the entirety of the process, after a full academic year the school is almost full of day students and is taking its first residential students in the New Year, and more importantly than that, the staff and pupils are still loving the space we have created. It was wonderful the other week while I was walking through the Quarry car park to hear the children using the spaces to their fullest.

    This was a real team effort and this award is a recognition of all your hard work. We just could not have done it without your experience and commitment over the most challenging 18 months.

    Please send my thanks to the whole team and all your subcontractors for their outstanding efforts. They really provided the highest standard of workmanship and still looks as good as it did on handover.

  • Darren Twist, Project Engineer - Thomas Consulting

    Credit to everyone involved, great team effort and a pleasure to be involved. I was considering setting up camp at one point. Wish you all the best in the future and hopefully we can work alongside each other again.

  • Neil Tunks, DNSurveyors Ltd

    I would like to thank you and the team during what has been a difficult job in any give date and year nevertheless of COVID causing havoc.  However, the way that you have dealt with it has been very impressive.

  • Kate McDonough, Associate - Barron Design

    It has been an absolute pleasure working with you all. It was a job Craig was always keen for you to do and it was obvious from the start that you were the right construction team for this project.

    Everyone, from the Client to subbies, to building control have all remarked on your professionalism and standard of work. I always worry that if a company has that high standard, it is difficult to maintain right to the end and finish it properly, but that is not the case for Abbey School and Abbey Green.

    You’ve created two beautiful projects that are perfect for the end users and will be a huge benefit to the children’s lives and the adults who will work in them.

You may also be interested in ...

Take a look at the work we do.

Your Next Project Starts with Us Please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you. Get In Touch