Guidance on Capital Developments in Schools

Any building work in school is fraught with difficulty and I hope that this short guide will be a help in finding a route through the various stages.  A number of changes to an earlier version to take account of the move to Academy status and recent legislation have been highlighted in bold green italics for ease of reference.

The Guide also includes a list of consultants and contractors who have worked with our schools and although these are not formally recommended by the Diocese, we have added a note where relevant giving the name of those schools with whom the consultant or contractor has worked in case you want to make contact and receive first hand information.

For reference I have attached a copy of The Blue Book which is the DfE guide to funding capital projects in Voluntary Aided Schools.This was last published in 2011 but the advice and regulations still obtain.

I am always happy to receive feedback on projects which have gone well (and on those that have met with problems) so that I can share experiences with colleagues in other schools.  I also welcome feedback on the attached document.

Schools are reminded that, in most cases, the buildings are managed by the Governors on behalf of the owners (either the Diocesan Trust or a Religious Order) and that work should not be authorized until it has been approved by the relevant Diocesan or Religious Order representative.For schools owned by the Diocesan Trustees, this can be done via NRCDES Buildings Officer (Ken Daly).

Local Authorities contactors may appear with an order to carry out some work but they should not be allowed to do so until the project has been properly agreed.  The most common misunderstanding relates to Disabled Access work which, in Voluntary Aided Schools, is the responsibility of the Governors (and therefore liable to VAT and a 10% contribution), but which many Local Authorities assume can be carried out automatically – beware!

If Governors or the Headteacher wish to carry out work to the fabric of the building this should be in accordance with the school’s Asset Management Plan and Condition Survey and any scheme should be drawn up in accordance with the Diocesan guidelines (cf “Managing a Capital Project in Schools” a copy of which is available on the Education Service website).  Schools should notify the Diocese (via Ken Daly) in advance of beginning any work.

Once work has been completed it is the responsibility of the school to inform the Local Authority and the Diocese of any changes to the layout of the school building or any alteration or extension which has taken place as these may affect net capacity and the routes for emergency services.  Please see Appendix 8 of the Guidance for the relevant form.