School operations

Buildings and Grounds Maintenance and Compliance

If your school has been damaged in an incident or event (including floods) and you require assistance to make the site safe, please call the Make-safe service hotline on 1300 133 468

Make-safe Guidelines

Program overview

The Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) Make-safe Program assists schools that have sustained damage through an incident or event, where that damage presents an immediate health and safety concern for students, staff and/or the community.

These guidelines are also applicable to incidents of malicious activity, such as vandalism or break-ins.

The Make-safe Program is delivered via a contracted service provider, Programmed Facility Management, who provides professionals services under the program and oversees all phases of the process.

If your school has been damaged in an incident or event and you require assistance to make the site safe, please call the Make-safe service hotline on 1300 133 468.

  • Schools impacted by bushfires can access assistance through the VSBA. As a first step in this process, the area should be isolated and contact made to the Make-safe service provider on 1300 133 468.

    For any other questions about bushfire damage to school infrastructure, please contact

  • Event
    One or a combination of any of the following events:

    • Fire
    • Flood
    • Storm
    • Cyclone/Hurricane/Typhoon/Tornado
    • Tsunami/Tidal wave
    • Volcanic eruption
    • The VSBA has discretion to respond to events not listed above that cause physical loss, destruction or damage of school property or infrastructure

    Any malicious activity that makes a site unsafe. This includes:

    • Vandalism
    • Damage to buildings
    • Theft of infrastructure critical to safety
    • Riots
    • Strikes
    • Civil commotions
    • Malicious damage
    • The VSBA has discretion to respond to events not listed above that cause physical loss, destruction or damage of school property or infrastructure

    Urgent works required to make a school site safe. The works required to make a site safe are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

    Reinstatement works
    Works required to return a school site to operational capacity. Reinstatement works are not guaranteed and are subject to eligibility criteria.

    School-funded threshold
    The designated dollar threshold ($5000 plus GST) at which the VSBA will fund reinstatement works. Reinstatement works estimated to cost below this amount are to be funded directly by the school.

  • Principals

    Principals are responsible for maintaining their school’s buildings and grounds.

    Principals may be supported by other members of staff, such as Business Manager, Facilities Manager or Assistant Principal.


    Schools are responsible for raising a Make-safe request by contacting Programmed Facility Management on 1300 133 468. If required, the school should also isolate the unsafe area until it can be assessed by Programmed.

    Programmed Facility Management

    As the Make-safe service provider, Programmed coordinates and delivers the VSBA’s response to incidents and events, and will liaise with schools to deliver the urgent works and reinstatement works.

    VSBA — Response Programs Unit

    The VSBA Response Programs Unit oversees the Make-safe Program. The Response Programs Unit, through Programmed, is responsible for making the site of an event or incident safe for staff, students and the community.

    In certain circumstances, the VSBA may reinstate school facilities to an operational standard.

    DET Incident & Security Operations Centre

    The DET Incident & Security Operations Centre provides an alarm-monitoring function which may trigger awareness of Departmental assets being damaged in incidents.

    ISOC’s alarm system does not automatically raise a Make-Safe request.

    DET Regional Offices

    Regional Offices provide support to the schools as required. Regional Offices do not have a mandatory role in the Make-safe process, but may facilitate communication between schools and the Make-safe team. Regional Offices may be requested by schools or the VSBA to assist with issues resolution.

Make-safe Procedure

Immediate action and notification

In an emergency where there is an immediate hazard to students and staff, schools must contact Emergency Services (Fire Brigade, Ambulance, Police) on 000.

Schools should provide the following information about the incident when contacting Programmed:

  • the name of the person reporting the incident
  • the nature of the incident
  • the location of the incident (school/campus, building/area/room(s) etc.)

Programmed will attend the site to assess the scope of the Make-safe works. When Programmed is notified of the incident by other parties, Programmed contacts the school to commence the process.

Schools agree on a time for Programmed to attend the site. Programmed are required to be on-site within:

  • 4 hours of the agreed scheduled site attendance in metro area; or
  • 8 hours of the agreed scheduled site attendance in a regional area

Identification of works

Programmed will attend the site and determine the works necessary to make the site safe for staff, students and the community. Programmed will also complete a Make-safe report and submit a quote for any identified reinstatement works to the Make-safe Program Manager at the VSBA.

Delivery of immediate Make-safe works

Programmed will complete Make-safe works to eliminate the risk of immediate hazards resulting from the incident or event. For example, Programmed may:

  • cordon off dangerous areas
  • secure hazardous structures
  • dislodge pipe blockages
  • install drying equipment
  • board up broken windows
  • perform water and gas leak detection

Should a school require temporary relocatable classrooms due to a Make-safe incident, the Make-safe team will facilitate this process alongside the Relocatable Buildings Program.

Once Programmed have completed Make-safe works, Programmed will issue an email notification to the school that Make-safe works are complete. Programmed will advise the school when the affected areas are safe to reoccupy. If an area cannot be made safe during the initial works, Programmed will work with the school to minimise disruption.

Reinstatement works

Following the completion of emergency make-safe works, the VSBA will assess the requirements for any reinstatement works that may be required to repair or restore the site to its pre-loss condition.

Reinstatement works may include:

  • painting and replastering of ceilings and walls
  • replacing carpet or vinyl
  • minor roof works, such as replacing skylights or installing flashings

As part of this process, the VSBA receives a detailed report, scope of works and quote from the Programmed. Based on the eligibility criteria listed below, the VSBA reviews the reinstatement quote and determines whether to fund any reinstatement works.

When the VSBA has completed its assessment, the school will be notified via email. The VSBA aims to inform schools of their Reinstatement approval or declination within 10 days of the initial make-safe completion. This may vary as works are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Eligibility criteria

Where damage to a school facility is severe enough to warrant reinstatement, the VSBA will determine a school’s eligibility based on whether:

  • the safety of students and staff is at risk
  • the damage has been caused by an incident or event
  • the school has insufficient funds from all sources (including in reserves) to fund the repair work. Assessment of funds includes:
    • the school’s bank balance
    • the school’s committed contracted works and
    • a base budget requirement calculated by the number of students enrolled in the school)
  • the minimum cost of the works exceeds $5000
  • the work is urgent, and unable to be addressed in the School Maintenance Plan (SMP) or the Rolling Facilities Evaluation (RFE)
  • the damage is not covered under separate insurance purchased by the school through the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA) and
  • the site of the works is in entitled space (works at Special Development Schools (SDS) and Special Schools will not be subject to facility area allocations).
    Schools should note that entitled space extends to school grounds and issues such as external burst pipes and fallen trees are within scope for the Make-safe Program.
  • The approved scope of works is carried out by Programmed and their sub-contractors. A nominated Project Manager contacts schools directly to arrange a suitable date to attend the site and commence works. Contractors will make every effort to minimise the impact on school operations while works are being completed.

  • Where reinstatement works are declined, schools have several options:

    • proceed with the proposed scope of works as a school-funded project, which can be arranged through the VSBA and managed by a VSBA project manager
    • engage a Technical Leadership Coach (TLC), all ex-principals who are best placed to provide advice for the school moving forward
    • apply for a financial review if the VSBA has judged the scope of works as being within the school’s capacity to undertake using available funds. Schools apply for this review by replying to the declined reinstatement email and providing documentation to explain the school’s financial position


If your school has been damaged in an incident or event and you require assistance to make the site safe, please call the Make-safe service provider Programmed Facility Management on 1300 133 468.

Victorian Regional Offices

South-Western Victoria Region

Ballarat, Footscray, Geelong, Keilor and Warrnambool
1300 333 232

North-Western Victoria Region

Bendigo, Coburg, Greensborough and Mildura
1300 338 691

North-Eastern Victoria Region

Glen Waverley and Benalla
1300 333 231

South-Eastern Victoria Region

Dandenong, Frankston, Moe and Sale
1300 338 738

Central DET Office

Victorian School Building Authority
Response Programs Unit
33 St Andrews Place
East Melbourne 3001

Guidance on funding arrangements under the Make-safe Program

Reviewed 14 October 2022

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