Cardiff West Community High School


A £30m secondary school is under construction in the Cardiff suburb of Ely, with Bureau Veritas assisting main contractor, Willmott Dixon, to discharge its duties as the Principal Designer.

The Cardiff West Community High School is located on the site of the former Glyn Derw High School in the west of the city. It caters for 1,200 pupils comprising 11-16 year olds plus 320 over-16s with accommodation provided in three separate, but closely linked, two-story buildings.

Property of Willmott Dixon Construction

The design, by architect, Powell Dobson, separates the 11-16 pupils from the post-16 students to encourage progress to post-16 education with the senior building designed with a more collegiate feel.

The site layout groups the buildings around a publicly accessible plaza to encourage community access and engagement with the school. The new playing fields, linked to the adjacent public Trelai Park, include a 3G pitch, grass pitches and extensive external hard play, combined with social spaces and external classrooms/performance areas.

Willmott Dixon began the 78 week project in September 2017 with completion scheduled for early in 2019. The main client is Cardiff City Council.

Bureau Veritas is assisting Willmott Dixon in discharging the duties of the Principal Designer stemming from the CDM Regulations 2015.

During the early stages of the scheme, Bureau Veritas reviewed the pre-construction information provided by the client and identified that one of the buildings which remained following the demolition of the existing school had not had an asbestos survey. The contractor was therefore able to procure one and avoid unnecessary exposure to asbestos or delay in programme following its discovery.

Bureau Veritas has also worked in partnership with Willmott Dixon and the design team to ensure the school’s future cleaning, access and maintenance needs were reviewed so that the building would be safe to maintain and operate for the duration of its lifecycle.

In particular, a review of access requirements and work height for each of the school blocks was undertaken to make sure comprehensive access and fall prevention measures were included within the schemes design and not inserted as an afterthought. This has led to the staircases being extended to roof level and suitable parapets being incorporated within the design to allow safe access. This should yield savings of both time and cost over the school’s life cycle as it avoids the need to employ trained individuals utilising bespoke fall arrest systems.

The new building is being jointly funded by the city council and the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools and Education Programme. When it opens, the school will be linked to a number of groups including theatre, film and television agencies to help teach pupils creative skills and set up work experience placements.

To find out more about Bureau Veritas' Construction Consultancy please click here or alternately email

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