As part of our specialism within the education sector, one of the ways in which we can help schools is to act as a School Building Consultant. In this blog, we provide details of what this entails, and the ways in which schools can benefit from our assistance.
A School Building Consultant is the sole professional appointed by a school to implement and oversee all building projects. The Consultant is responsible for the management of building projects from start to finish, including appointing all other professionals required to complete the outlined works and applying for funding.
The School Building Consultant’s remit extends to advising the school on all building matters including repairs and maintenance, refurbishment, alterations and extensions in order to meet a set level of condition, suitability and sufficiency of a school’s premises.
For any project that is planned, the School Building Consultant will obtain all necessary surveys, reports, and statutory approvals including planning consent and building regulations. The Consultant will also advise on any legal issues relating to a project, and generally ensure all aspects are in place for the successful delivery of building projects and works.
A consultant is usually appointed by the body responsible for running a collection of schools, such as an area’s Diocese or a multi-academy trust (MAT). Alternatively, independently run schools such as academies, free schools and private schools can seek out and appoint their own School Building Consultant to work with.
There are several ways in which a school or group of schools can benefit from the services of a specialist School Building Consultant. One area that Head Teachers and School Governors particularly value is the provision of a building development plan, which usually covers a 5 year period. These plans can be used to prioritise both ‘condition’ and ‘development’ building projects, providing an agenda for other initiatives the school may wish to develop. Alongside the building development plan, the school’s appointed consultant will usually visit the school twice a year to discuss whether requirements have changed and report back on completed projects. Again, this helps to see that a school’s buildings are adequately maintained and development projects are delivered when required.
Another significant benefit from working with a Consultant who has experience in the education sector is the ability to tap into their knowledge on routes to funding. The right School Building Consultant will be able to advise on the various funding streams, also being able to apply bids that meet the funding criteria, therefore improving the chances of success.
Dealing with building projects is a time-consuming process and where Head Teachers and Governors are already swamped with paperwork and red tape, having a trusted Building Consultant on hand can reduce the time that needs to be spent dealing with building works dramatically. Instead of trying to deal with multiple contractors, as well as liaising with Dioceses, Local Authorities, DFE, EFSA etc, the school’s head teacher or Board of Governors has a single point of contact for all matters relating to the school building’s maintenance and improvement who can act on behalf of the school in all relevant communications.
Lea Hough’s team have a wealth of skills and experience of working in the educational sector and we pride ourselves on providing cost effective, deliverable and practical solutions to building issues. Our service to schools is primarily delivered by two building surveying partners, Paul Dignan & Michael Harrison, both of whom have over 20 years of experience of working with the education sector.
We provide a comprehensive tailored service for each school, large or small. Our full range of property consultancy services, from a thorough assessment of the existing school building in terms of both maintenance and accommodation through to the identification of potential projects, budget costs, funding applications, planning, design, specification, tendering and project management, our professional advice means you know that your school is in safe hands.
Lea Hough act as a School Building Consultant for a number of schools in Lancashire, Cumbria and Greater Manchester. We are an approved consultant for Blackburn CE Diocese and Carlisle CE Diocese and have also undertaken several projects for Salford RC Diocese. Alongside this, we are regularly appointed by MAT’s, single academy schools, sixth form colleges, further education colleges, free schools and private schools in the North West region.