Planning a building project at a school isn’t as easy as choosing a quote and agreeing a date for works to commence. Schools not only have budget constraints to consider, there are also several regulatory factors to account for.
Here we look at some of the main points to consider and how a School Building Consultant can help.
Consider all your obligations
Before you commence any project, you will need to ensure that all relevant policies and regulations have been considered. These not only include legal statutory duties, such as Planning Consent and Building Control, but also any other parties or bodies that apply to your school, for example, Landlord Consent and compliance with your Academy Order.
You may also have other policies to adhere to – for example, any procurement undertaken by an academy school must comply with the Academies Financial Handbook.
Look for funding
Depending on the nature of the work involved and the status of the school (Academy, Sixth form, MAT etc), you may be able to apply for funding. One of the most popular routes is the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF), but other opportunities include the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and Urgent Capital Support Funding.
Choose suitable contractors
Any contractors that are appointed will need to have the relevant qualifications and meet all Health and Safety and legal requirements.
During the tender process, you will need to ensure that the contractor has priced for all elements of work at the outset, with any exclusions specified. Quotes should include a detailed cost breakdown to ensure fair comparison between contractors at tender stage.
Put paperwork in place
Before any building work is commenced, all of the correct paperwork should be in place. This will include the contract with the contractor(s) undertaking the works, which should cover matters including disputes, workmanship, defects and payment terms.
Consider and plan timings
To keep pupils, parents and staff safe, most schools try to conduct interior building projects and major repair works during school holidays. Depending on the scale of the works, waiting until the summer holidays will provide the best chance of getting works completed on time and ready for the new school term.
Ensure all legislation is followed
There are lots of regulatory matters to consider when planning and undertaking school building projects, including Asbestos Regulations, Building Regulations, CDM Regulations, Health and Safety, Fire Safety, etc. A School Building Consultant can advise you on all of these areas and ensure that correct procedure is followed and paperwork obtained.
Consider appointing a School Building Consultant
With so many factors to consider and elements required to be in place, schools often outsource some or all of the process to an experienced School Building Consultant. The consultant can act on behalf of the school to obtain all of the necessary information and see that every base has been covered before the works commence.
They can help to control tight budgets by managing project variations/omissions and using their building knowledge, can help to select the contractor and materials that will deliver best value.
During the works, the consultant can act as Project Manager to oversee the timings and quality of the work being delivered and that the contractor is adhering to current regulations.
At the conclusion of the works, they can review the quality of workmanship with a technical eye and look for any defects, ensuring that these are rectified to a good standard before the work is signed off.
Lea Hough’s School Building Consultants are able to advise education establishments on the successful implementation of building projects. Our services are available on a standalone basis or alternatively, we are able to work alongside schools on an ongoing basis. for a no obligation conversation with one of our education specialists, please get in touch.