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Capital Building Projects in Schools

Policy

This policy explains the roles and responsibilities of schools and the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) for capital building projects delivered by the VSBA.

Summary

  • A school’s responsibility for delivering capital building projects will vary depending on the project value and complexity.
  • For information on capital projects that are funded by schools, refer to the Department’s policy on School-funded Capital Projects.
  • Schools must work with the VSBA to prepare an Asset Management Plan in line with the Asset Management Planning Policy before undertaking a capital project.
  • Schools must not obtain tenders or quotations, commence works or enter any contracts associated with works estimated to exceed $50,000 (including GST) without written approval from the relevant VSBA project delivery manager.
  • Schools engaging in capital works should be familiar with the Good neighbour guide.
  • This policy falls within the 'Build' stage of the School Asset Lifecycle.

Details

The VSBA works with schools to deliver capital building projects identified through asset management planning.

Schools are engaged throughout delivery of all capital projects, but their level of responsibility will vary. The VSBA plays a greater role in more complex projects due to the experience and resources required to manage risk and cover possible liabilities. 

Schools may also fund and deliver capital projects independently, or contribute funds to projects delivered by the VSBA. Refer to the School-funded Capital Projects Policy for more information.

Asset management planning and project governance

Schools must work with the VSBA to prepare an Asset Management Plan (AMP) before undertaking a capital building project. The allocated budget must cover every aspect included in the AMP. For more information, refer to the Asset Management Planning Policy.

Authority to enter contracts – Department-funded planned maintenance and capital works

Under the Project Development and Construction Management Act 1994 (Vic), the Department is the only body authorised to enter into contracts and approve capital building project budgets. However, schools have delegated authority to enter into and pay contracts for capital projects valued at $50,000 (including GST) or less.

Refer to Procurement of Low Value Construction Works and Services for more information.

Schools must not obtain tenders or quotations, commence works or enter any contracts associated with works (capital or planned maintenance) estimated to exceed $50,000 (including GST) without written approval from the relevant VSBA project delivery manager.

Project management

The VSBA will assess the project management needs of schools on a case-by-case basis, considering project complexity and the available budget.

In general, schools can manage projects with budgets less than $50,000 (including GST) from start to finish.

Schools may choose their level of involvement in delivering projects between $50,000 and $200,000 (including GST). Note that projects that involve building reconfigurations (for example, structural changes) require a greater amount of documentation, as changes to school design must align to the school’s educational specification.

Projects valued at more than $200,000 (including GST) are managed by the VSBA. The VSBA will determine what specialist expertise is needed, which may include an architect, cost manager (quantity surveyor) and an independent project manager.

Where a school is responsible for delivering a capital building project, the school council must comply with the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic) by ensuring they:

  • spend all funding for proper purposes
  • keep records explaining their financial operations and position
  • follow financial processes and procedures that are:
    • effective
    • regularly audited
    • designed and managed to reduce risk with a separation of duties.

All templates, forms and procedures for tendering and delivering school infrastructure projects are available through the VSBA’s Project Management Framework (PMF). Schools can access the PMF via the TWOcx reference page (staff login required).

Good neighbour guide

The Department has developed the Good neighbour guide to support schools in informing and preparing their school and local communities for any disruption that capital works may cause.

The Good neighbour guide includes templates and examples of letters that can assist schools engaging with their local community. These are also extracted as downloadable Word documents in the Resources tab.

Planning Act and exemptions

The Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic) establishes a planning system that sets out how land may be used and developed. Under this scheme, planning permits provide legal permission for using or developing a particular piece of land.

The Minister for Education is exempt from obtaining planning permits for government schools under section 16 of the Act. As such, the VSBA and schools do not require local planning permits to undertake capital building projects.

However, the VSBA and schools must:

  • consult with relevant municipal councils during the key planning phases of capital projects
  • where possible, design buildings that comply with the intent of local planning schemes.

Planned Maintenance Program

Schools allocated funding through the Planned Maintenance Program must comply with the Buildings and Grounds Maintenance Policy and the Planned Maintenance Program Guidelines.

Definitions

Capital building project
Capital building projects involve constructing new school facilities, or refurbishing or reconfiguring existing school facilities. They typically require the development and assessment of a spatial analysis plan (as part of the Asset Management Plan).

Planned Maintenance Program
The Planned Maintenance Program (PMP) supports schools to maintain their facilities through the targeted allocation of funding for school maintenance projects that mostly address priority defects identified by the rolling facilities evaluation (RFE).

Governance for PMP projects is similar to, but distinct from, governance for capital projects. For example, schools do not need to develop an AMP for most PMP projects. For more information, refer to the Building Maintenance Policy and the Planned Maintenance Program Guidelines.

Asset Management Plan (AMP)
AMPs identify projects to be completed using capital project funding allocated through the annual State Budget. Most schools that receive capital project funding are required to develop an AMP in partnership with their Department regional office and the VSBA. This will ensure the funding is spent as each party expects.

AMPs have two distinct stages. AMP 1 outlines the school’s educational directions, educational specification, and facilities analysis (which considers functionality, condition and spatial analysis). AMP 2 involves developing a master plan/spatial analysis in addition to broader site and project requirements. AMPs also link infrastructure funding to specific details set out in the school fact sheet that schools receive when State Budget funding is announced.

For more information, refer to the Asset Management Planning Policy

Relevant legislation

Department policy on the responsibilities of schools and the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) when undertaking capital building projects

Reviewed 20 August 2021

Policy last updated

21 May 2021

Scope

  • Schools

Contact

Victorian School Building Authority

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