Rayleigh Primary School

Rayleigh Primary school, Essex

Construction of play area

Rayleigh Primary School

DF Clark Design Team

Five weeks

Timber edged concrete paths, proprietary & bespoke play equipment, tree & shrub planting, stone boulders

Access to the play area was challenging with this site, the car park at the top of the school grounds was able to facilitate a grab lorry for the delivery of materials but access to the area of work was by foot only, with all materials moved with barrows and trollies. A mini digger was carefully tracked down a narrow foot way for excavation works and an area of grass was sacrificed and re-instated enabling stockpiling of raw materials.

An old chain link fence was the only boundary treatment to the area and was the first element to be removed and replaced with a bespoke castellated timber fence. While the fencing works were in full effect the design of the play area was marked out on the ground, excavation of ‘boulder river’ and the concrete paths was carried out using the mini digger and a healthy stream of work force with barrows stock piling soil that couldn’t be re-used on site. Timber edging for the paths was built in as the paths were excavated to maintain a flow of works, the edging finished close after the digger left to go to another site.

The bridge and hobbit tunnel were constructed at the same time as the installation of timber edging in preparation for concreting the paths.

The concreting was carried out in one day spreading and laying in 3m sections with surface dressing detail of 10mm flint stone laid and tamped in circular patterns straight after each section was screeded. At this stage the totem pole was also set into its foundations.

Following the hardening of all concrete works, all proprietary & bespoke play elements where bought in including boulders up to 1.2m3 that were trolled and moved into position by hand. To create and fit the tepee camp fire holes were drilled in both the concrete path and the fire pebbles, chem-fixed into position and left to set. The timbers of the fire were previously fitted with timberlock screws to the base of each timber and chemfixed into predrilled holes on the concrete as per the pebbles. This ensured all elements of the camp fire were root fixed and so could not be moved by the children. The hobbit play houses were bespoke made in the DF Clark yard, hand painted and stored ready to be installed when all other works were complete.

Tree and shrub planting added living vertical elements to the build as well as green softening. A litter pick and sweep down of all paths completed the build