Helping war-torn Liberia to rebuild its education system, a large-scale school-building programme is under way in this West Africa nation. Due for completion in 2015, the two-year programme to build almost 70 schools forms part of the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. A generation of young people had little or no access to education, and many were child soldiers during more than two decades of political and economic instability.

The current administration, led by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf since 2006, is working to improve children’s access to education. The schools, from nursery through to secondary, are being built in 40 locations, with construction split into two phases to accommodate the six-month rainy season that makes many roads impassable.

Many of the schools are being delivered in the most remote areas of the country and constructed without the use of power tools. However, the standards of the design and construction — using traditional construction methodology — are being managed and supervised as a whole programme to create a consistency of approach.

The superstructures/external walls are loadbearing block work, generally plastered block work, and external walls are finished with plaster and paint. Roofs are constructed of timber trusses covered by aluminium profile sheeting.

For the project teams a truly collaborative environment has been centred around creating a legacy of education buildings for Liberian children with over 50 local staff employed and trained on the project. There are now equipped teams who can manage and develop more schools to specific standards in the future.

The first phase of the programme was completed in June 2013 and our project managers, cost consultants and engineers from UK and Africa offices, are working with local contractors and architects from the World Bank, and the development charity Plan International.