Bexhill High School was built as part of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) Programme, funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). It had been chosen by East Sussex County Council as their One School Pathfinder project. Designers and constructors worked as an integrated team with Bexhill High School and East Sussex County Council in three Design Quality Indicator (DQI) workshops to develop a common understanding of the goals and needs of the users. The new school will open in November 2010.

The one-day briefing workshop was attended by delegates including pupils, teachers, governors, the head teacher, the programme manager and representatives of East Sussex County Council including IT and maintenance specialists.

Since the architect and constructor were appointed, two mid-design stage workshops have taken place in order to evaluate the design solutions presented by the design team. Consultation has been beneficial to the development of the whole design. There has been a massive input from everyone.

The building meets the 60% carbon reduction target set by the government, through a strategy of lighting and an innovative acoustic natural ventilation solution and uses very little primary energy. This has avoided the need for mechanical systems within the large learning zones and has contributed towards low impact on the environment and a very good BREEAM rating.

Using the DQI tool gave the school community (teachers, pupils, governors, East Sussex County Council and representatives of other stakeholder organisations) the opportunity to input into the project brief, and contribute to developing a design that suits their needs. In the briefing workshop and mid-design reviews, the school has been made aware of the financial, time and regulatory pressures on the design and construction team and the school’s expectations have been managed through proactive dialogue.

The design team (architects, engineers and surveyors) has benefited from discussing and clarifying the priorities of the school against the structured set of DQI statements reviewed in the briefing and mid-design workshops. Potential misunderstandings have been reduced through formal and informal face-to-face presentation and discussion in the workshops. This should lead to a reduction in the level of rework in design.