Streamlined - Guarantees on timescale and budget


Click on the questions below to get more detailed information
on exactly how Sunesis delivers.

» Why chose a Sunesis school?
We know from our long experience of building schools that it is effective leadership and high quality teaching that have the biggest impact on how well children do at school. What we also know, however, is that well designed and built, fit for purpose accommodation supports the work of schools in providing the best possible teaching and learning and raising standards.

The Sunesis designs are based on own experience but, more importantly, solid, practical advice from experienced teachers and educationalists. We have listened carefully to people who understand both good classroom practice and what else schools need to operate effectively and provide a safe, welcoming and supportive setting where staff want to work and children want to learn.

The key elements of Sunesis designs are:

• Light, bright, well proportioned and well ventilated spaces that are big enough to accommodate 30 children comfortably;
• Classrooms that have enough electrical and computer points, water and storage to allow them to be self-sustaining;
• Break out areas and group rooms that are well located and facilitate a wide range of small group activities;
• Easy access to toilets and cloakrooms, external play areas and circulation to the rest of the school;
• Well located, flexible shared spaces that can be fitted to deliver specialist subjects according to each school’s needs;
• Circulation routes that are easy to navigate with good passive supervision and scope for multiple uses;
• Fully accessible for adults and children with a range of disabilities;
• Halls and other large spaces that can be used in a number of ways to deliver assemblies, PE, drama, meals and other large group activities;
• A welcoming, but secure, public entrance;
• Well located and designed administration and staff areas;
• Good, safe hard and soft external play areas and high quality landscaping designed to create an attractive setting for the building;
• A secure boundary and security features that provide effective but unobtrusive protection for site users.

These elements combine to create buildings that are truly fit for purpose, provide a stimulating environment and allow schools to concentrate on their core function of providing the best opportunities they can for all their children.
» Is the cost truly fixed?
We have allowed for everything that is required to deliver a fully functional school - in simple terms the floor, walls, roof, internal finishes and fixed furniture.

Essentially everything you see on the drawings is included in the costs.

Externally we have allowed for a car park, playing fields, playgrounds, fencing, a habitat area and a Hard Play Area, based on a notional site.

Your site may however have restrictions and render our standard design unsuitable or uneconomical to use. You need to know this before spending significant sums of money and for this reason we will carry out a free due diligence review of your site before you commit to spending any money.

Even if your site is suitable there are still certain aspects of a project we sometimes cannot control, for which our base price will be amended accordingly.

Adjustments will be done in full consultation with you and only when we agree the adjustment in time and cost will your commitment to proceed be requested. We will assess the suitability of the site within the first six weeks of the project order.

Our price is offered on an all-inclusive lump sum basis.

This price includes all elements as noted on the product drawings and the specification, both of which we can supply to you.

The only exceptions are the things we don’t understand about your site or what you plan to bring with you from your existing school (if you have one).

For this reason, we haven’t included for loose furniture and ICT, as we recognise that you may either have existing purchase agreements or legacy equipment from an old school.

Just like buying a car there are a number of optional extras available to allow you to customise your school, these include loose furniture, ICT and further enhancements to reduce your energy bills. These are all listed and costed on this website.

Our base price, as advertised, naturally does not take into account any site specific abnormals or survey fees (and their findings) as, by their nature, these need to be identified and addressed on a site by site basis. We will work with you in an open, collaborative manner to progress such items where they occur.
» What about OJEU?
All publically funded Sunesis projects can be delivered through the Scape National framework, for which Willmott Dixon are the sole contractor.

Willmott Dixon’s selection as the sole contractor for delivery of construction works was made after a rigorous and fully OJEU compliant tender.
» What about programme and cost certainty?
Sunesis provides certainty - each design has a defined layout, an upfront specification, with a fixed cost and known time to construct.

You do not need any budget contingency.

When we sign the contract everything will be known and fixed. For each building we have a defined design and specification. The cost and time to construct each is clearly defined. There is no guesswork. There is only confidence.

Sunesis offers remarkable value for money. Against the usual benchmarks the Sunesis way means the whole process is around 30% cheaper than the alternatives.
» How does Sunesis guarantee everything?
By having a defined product we can lock into our extensive relationships with suppliers all over the UK. By making sure what we deliver is consistent with the specification, we can guarantee the price and delivery.
» How are specific site factors dealt with?
This is the one thing that can change the price of our product. It would not be good value to offer a design that allowed for every possible site anomaly. It is doubtful that it could be done.

Our price presumes that the site is ready for development. For this it will need to have an electric supply, water supply and telephone to the site boundary and a sewer connection at the boundary too.

If these things are present and the site does not have anything that prevents development - for example protected wildlife or contaminated land - then the building should be able to be delivered for the price advertised, although statutory connection fees will be treated as an abnormal.

In order to confirm this we will need to do an audit of the site (called Due Diligence). Any adjustments to the price will be calculated in an open manner. All you will have to pay is the cost of dealing with the change plus a pre-determined percentage administration charge.
» Is the cost the same for any location in the UK?
The costs for each Sunesis product is based on a Nationally Averaged Price, which is then adjusted using an industry recognised set of price indices (BCIS) – published at - to reflect costs in your particular location.

The base design will work in the majority of locations within the UK. However we may to adjust the base cost if your project is in a particularly exposed location i.e. in an elevated location, very close to the coast or in an area of the country with abnormal snow loads.
» Personalisation vs. Customisation: what is the difference?
All Sunesis products can be “personalised”. You can choose the colours of your floor and wall finishes and also the doors, windows and the outside walls too - albeit the planners will have some say. This is included in the price.

Optional Extras – these are listed on the website and include items such as loose furniture, ICT and the like. All of which are also offered at a fixed cost - just like buying a car.

“Customisation” – whilst we firmly believe that using our pre-designed layouts will give you the maximum benefits in terms of both cost and speed, we also appreciate there will be times where our designs either do not fit on your available site, or require adaptation to meet your particular requirements.

We have successfully worked with a number of Clients on adapted Sunesis models and would be happy to do the same with you.

Any design changes would obviously incur associated design fees but we will make you aware of these up-front so that you can make an informed decision. There may also be some additional time during the pre-commencement process to work through these – again we will discuss and agree with you.
» How do we measure changes and site abnormals?
Our standard designs and costs are based on a flat, serviced site with no ‘abnormals’.

For each site we will need to work out if the base design will work on your particular site and if there are any additional works required.

Any potential abnormals will be identified early on, technically assessed, and then priced by our supply chain. We will then present these costs in an ‘open book’ manner for your review and approval.

We will also confirm if the works have any effect on the delivery programme.
» What about Building Regulations?
All Sunesis designs comply with all Building Regulations current at the time of initial offer, and has a Building Control building Type Approval from HCD - an Approved Inspector.

This Type Approval does not cover external works or any site-specific abnormals which can only be assessed upon site selection.

The choice of body to undertake Site Inspections (Local Authority or Approved Inspector) will be discussed and agreed with you during the Pre-Construction period.

It is strongly preferred that – due to their historical involvement – HCD undertake this role.

If you would prefer that your own Building Control department act as Inspectors then this can be accommodated by agreement, but please note that if they interpret the Regulations differently to HCD and this results in design/spec changes being required away from the base models then such changes would be treated as project-specific abnormals.
» What about BREEAM?
Our Sunesis buildings adopt the key principles of the BREEAM 2011 New Construction (Non-Domestic Buildings – Simple Buildings criteria), full details of which can be found at

We are currently in discussions with the BRE with respect to obtaining BREEAM ‘type approvals’ for our Sunesis designs - however this is not something they have historically offered.

Given this, and that achieving a specific level of performance under BREEAM is often dependent upon the specific location and associated amenities of a particular site, means that each project will need to be assessed on its own merits, and an appropriate strategy developed.

If BREEAM is required, we will work with you during the Pre-Construction period and appoint an appropriate BREEAM consultant (costs to be treated as an abnormal) to provide specialist advice and manage the accreditation process, and will confirm costs for this on a project by project basis.

Materials and products specified, where applicable, have high performance ratings under the BRE Environmental Profiles Certification Scheme targeting A+ where available and BBA Agrement Certification as a first choice.

We will carry out a Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) of your school to assess its performance against our estimates of energy usage and will issue this data to the Client.
» Have the designs been developed in BIM?
All Sunesis Education models are fully developed to Level 2 BIM, with federated models incorporating architecture, structural, civil, services and FF&E information.
» And finally, what does Sunesis mean?
Sunesis has a double meaning. It can be found in ancient Hebrew texts and relates to something that is greater than the sum of its parts like where two rivers join to become a bigger river. We like to think that the success of Sunesis is due to the partnership of Scape and Willmott Dixon being more than the sum of the parts.

The word Sunesis is also used in ancient Greek texts and means knowledge. Now that you know this you also have knowledge!