With the ongoing Covid-19 crisis not going away, its a very challenging time for the UK Education sector due to all the new challenges it is now having to deal with. Consequently budgets have been cut, class sizes have swelled, and teachers, managers and other staff are being asked to do more with significantly less, in the same amount of space.

The need for social distancing has led to the maximizing of existing space and the need for additional teaching space. Covid-19 is having a knock on effect for construction in education, and the architects, specifiers and contractors who specialise in it. This is all at a time when project funding is increasingly hard to come by – and even when it’s been secured, there’s more pressure than ever to achieve the best possible outcomes at the lowest possible price.

That means that value engineering, once seen by many as an optional extra, is now often needed more than ever, and in some cases, essential. Value engineering isn’t just about minimising the costs of the construction work itself. More fundamentally, it’s about maximising functionality and cutting unnecessary costs throughout the whole lifetime of the institutions you’re working with, and the products you might be installing.

At the estimating stage, experienced contractors like Hazlemere Commercial are able to bring their expertise to bear to help achieve the best value. Drawing on data taken from thousands of past projects, they can help developments avoid the common pitfalls that can cause costs to spiral out of control. In addition, during project implementation, they can offer advice on planning and sequencing work as efficiently as possible, while keeping building users safe and minimising disruption. Value engineering is often at its more effective, however, when it influences product choice. Hazlemere, are independent fenestration specialists, who if appointed as main contractors on a window and door refurbishment, we can handle and coordinate every aspect of new build and renovation projects, but our greatest expertise lies in windows and doors.

For decades, aluminium has been the material of choice for commercial window, door and curtain walling products – and at Hazlemere, we offer an industry-leading selection of aluminium products from AluK, Sapa and Technal.

But one of the biggest shifts in fenestration in recent years has been the dramatic rise of PVCu as a high-quality material capable of delivering exceptional performance across the board. Once seen as aluminium’s poor cousin, it’s now possible for PVCu window and door systems to match the strength, thermal efficiency and visual appeal that have made aluminium so popular over the years – and do so at a much more competitive price.

That’s why, at Hazlemere, in addition to AluK, Sapa and Technal aluminium products, also offer windows, doors and curtain walling products from REHAU, industry leaders in PVCu.

REHAU’s commercial portfolio includes the Polytec 50 composite curtain-walling system, combining the structural capabilities of steel reinforcement, the sleek design and finish of aluminium, and the warmth and easy maintenance of PVCu. The ALIGA sliding door, designed to suit contemporary, open-plan interior spaces, and the versatile Total 70 window, which comes in both chamfered and sculptured iterations. So while it’s undeniably true that construction in education is facing challenging times, if contractors are willing to up their game, it is still possible to offer outstanding service at competitive prices. Hazlemere Commercial are also able to offer Profile 22 UPVC windows and doors.

For architects, specifiers, project managers and others overseeing projects, it’s well worth taking the time to identify firms with a long-standing commitment to value engineering, and a track record of bringing similar developments to successful conclusions –  in the long run, it could save you, and the institutions you work with, precious time and resources.