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Ealing Fields High School, Adapting screen support to overcome wind loading

Big Foot

Screen support, plant deck


Little Ealing Lane, Ealing, London


Plant screening

Contractor:    Bowmer & Kirkland, Head Office in Derbyshire, regional offices in Birmingham, Manchester, Motherwell, Newark, London, Reading and Sunderland and from offices in the USA

Timing:     Construction began in January 2016, screen support was installed in June 2020 and the school completed by the start of the September term in 2020

In 2016 students at Ealing Fields High School, a secondary free school for 480 students, moved into temporary accommodation in Ealing while a nearby property, Place House, a Grade II listed mansion, was renovated and three new buildings constructed. The goal was to have all the works completed by September 2020, in time for the new school term.

Place House is of particular historic interest as it was built in 1693 for John Loving, Teller to the Exchequer of Charles II. By the end of the eighteenth century Place House had been substantially rebuilt and was renamed Ealing Park. In 1838 the property was bought for £9,000 by William Lawrence, President of the Royal College of Surgeons and his wife Louisa Senior, a leading garden designer. Any work done on it’s renovation had to adhere to strict planning guidelines.

Big Foot Systems was approached at the early stage of the project to design and supply the support systems for the lightweight plant screening. Working closely with the architects, we proposed a non-penetrative solution to support the 150 linear metres within loading, space and height constraints. Although the roof space is vast, it is also home to a large collection of PV arrays and therefore landing space between these and the ventilation, soon became a challenge to overcome.

We offered our standalone screen support, with perimeter posts and safe access points. We varied the width of the perimeter framework and foot size to meet the needs of M&E plant, duct, pipe and cable layouts on the inside. Our componentry was on site in full within four weeks and included dimensioned drawings and calculations from our in-house Engineering Team.

Along with our design capabilities, we were able to provide the correct options at the right time and met cost and quality requirements, from planning through to site sign off. We also advised on the base adaptation to compensate for wind loading.

Speaking about the Big Foot Screen Support installation, Emmanuel Oluwarounke, Project Engineer said: “It was a pleasure to work on this project from the beginning however the main challenges came later whilst completing the final design, drawing pack and loading calculations. As the landing space was tight and due to the long runs of screen, we had to overcome higher than expected wind loading. This was achieved by adapting the base, lowering the centre of gravity, yet still be within the confines of the typical base design.”


As usual, with quite a long window from concept to install, it was a pleasure to be a part of this project throughout and keep momentum at each twist and turn. Even within a global pandemic we were able to keep to our stated manufacturing lead time and supply in full.

James Hayes

Big Foot Project Manager - South

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