education.vic.gov.au

School operations

School-funded Capital Projects

Policy

This policy sets out requirements for schools contributing or raising money to build or upgrade facilities. This includes new facilities, upgrades of existing facilities, maintenance projects and school contributions to buildings projects led by the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA).

Summary

  • Schools may, without VSBA consultation or approval, construct or carry out improvements to any building structure on school grounds, or improvements to school grounds, where the value of the works does not exceed $100,000 (including GST). However, they must comply with the Project Development and Construction Management Act, which has been translated into the Procuring Low-value Construction Works or Services policy and the Repurposing and Renaming School Spaces policy.
  • Schools must receive VSBA approval before commencing works or entering contracts for school-funded projects estimated to exceed $100,000 (including GST). VSBA approval must be sought via the online project proposal approval formExternal Link (school login required).
  • Regardless of value, all projects involving ramps must be VSBA-led.
  • For projects deemed to be high-risk with a construction value of between $100,000 and $500,000 (including GST), schools may be required by the VSBA to engage a contractor from the Construction Supplier Register (CSR)External Link .
  • Schools are also permitted to contribute funds to VSBA-led building projects. Regardless of value, all school-funded contributions to VSBA-led building projects must receive VSBA approval either via the online project proposal approval form or through an existing grants process.
  • Schools must not fund capital projects with equity funding or Student Resource Package (SRP) maintenance, annual contracts, or grounds allowance funding. However, SRP funding can be used to fund maintenance works.
  • School-funded projects valued at or above $500,000 (including GST) will be delivered by the VSBA, due to the risk associated with high-value building projects, as will any other projects assessed by the VSBA to be high-risk. Schools are required to pay a Portfolio and Management Allowance fee for school-funded projects led by the VSBA.
  • When changes to school facilities occur as a result of school-funded-and-led projects, schools must complete the School Asset Drawing Changes Checklist (PDF)External Link .
  • For information on capital projects that are not funded by schools, refer to the department’s policy on Capital Building Projects in Schools.

Details

Schools may raise money to build or upgrade facilities or contribute funds to building projects led by the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA).

This policy supports the department and school councils to fulfil their obligations under the Project Development and Construction Management Act 1994 (Vic)External Link and Ministerial Order No 1280 – Constitution of Government School Councils 2020 (DOCX)External Link .

This policy also ensures that school contributions to facilities align with the Government’s education provision, asset management and financial management objectives.

Planning school-funded capital or maintenance projects

When planning a school-funded project, schools are encouraged to speak to their regional provision and planning manager as early as possible. This will help to avoid issues later, such as having to resubmit an approval request if a project’s cost exceeds the VSBA approved amount.

Schools wishing to contribute school-raised funds to a VSBA-led building project should speak to the VSBA Delivery project officer assigned to their project.

Guidance materials have been developed to assist schools plan school-funded projects and school-funded contributions to VSBA-led building projects, on the Guidance tab.

Approval requirements

Schools do not require VSBA approval for school-funded projects valued at less than or equal to $100,000 (including GST). However, they must comply with the Project Development and Construction Management Act, which has been translated into the Procuring Low-Value Construction Works and Services policy and the Repurposing and Renaming School Spaces policy.

Regardless of value, all projects involving a ramp must be VSBA-led. For more information regarding projects involving ramps, refer to the section on works involving ramps on this page.

Schools must receive VSBA approval before commencing works or entering contracts for school-funded projects estimated to exceed $100,000 (including GST). VSBA approval must be sought via the online project proposal approval formExternal Link (school login required).

Regardless of value, all school-funded contributions to VSBA-led projects (excluding VSBA-led grants programs) must receive VSBA approval via the online project proposal approval form.

Schools seeking to contribute funds to VSBA-led grants programs (for example, School Shade Sails Fund, Inclusive Schools Fund, Minor Capital Works Fund) are not required to use the online project proposal approval form unless the school-funded contributions exceeds the maximum amount that can be approved as part of the grant application process. Schools that are not required to use the online project proposal approval form must still receive VSBA approval through an existing grants process before contributing funds to a VSBA-led grants program. Refer to individual grant program guidelines on the VSBA websiteExternal Link for further information on co-contributions.

Schools seeking to contribute funds to the Greener Government School Buildings (GGSB) program are not required to use the online project proposal approval form as school-funded contributions are approved as part of the GGSB program application process. For information about the GGSB program, refer to the Sustainable Facilities Policy Resources tab, or email greener.schools@education.vic.gov.au

Schools must receive approval from their school council before seeking VSBA approval for a school-funded capital project, or for a school-funded contribution to a VSBA-led capital project or grants program.

Works involving ramps

Regardless of value, all projects involving a ramp must be VSBA-led. This includes all construction or improvements to any building structure on school grounds, or improvements to school grounds.

Approval form

The online project proposal approval formExternal Link (school login required, for example: Edu001\S123456) is tailored to the type and estimated value of the proposed project.

Schools must complete each section of the form and attach all required documents.

The VSBA cannot approve a school’s project proposal unless all required documents are submitted. There may be instances where the VSBA ask schools to provide further evidence of compliance with this policy before their proposal is approved.

Refer to Step 2: Submitting an online project proposal approval form in the Guidance tab for more information on how to complete the approval form, including required documentation.

Approval criteria

The VSBA will consider the following when assessing a school’s project approval request.

Funding sources

  • Schools must provide details of their proposal’s funding source/s.
  • Schools must provide details of their maintenance funding source/s.
  • Schools must not fund new capital building projects with equity funding or Student Resource Package (SRP) maintenance, annual contracts or grounds allowance funding. However, SRP funding can be used to fund maintenance projects, including maintenance projects that exceed $50,000 (including GST).
  • Schools must demonstrate sustainable ongoing funding for any proposed facilities outside the schools’ designated facility area. Facilities built outside a school’s designated facility area are ineligible for SRP funding. Schools may demonstrate ongoing funding through a Community Joint Use Agreement or hire and license fees. For more information, refer to the Community Use of Schools – Hiring, Licensing and Community Joint Use Agreements Policy.

Condition and Maintenance of existing facilities

  • Schools must demonstrate that existing facilities are in good condition before new facilities are proposed.
  • Schools must demonstrate good asset management practices either through an endorsed and implemented School Maintenance Plan (SMP), if a Rolling Facilities Evaluation (RFE) has been conducted, or by the school’s maintenance activities history, if a RFE has not been conducted. For this purpose, schools must code revenue and expenditure in CASES21 as outlined in the Finance Manual.
  • Where applicable, the approval process will assess if the school’s SMP is up-to-date.
  • Schools are encouraged to invest in capital or maintenance projects in line with their existing SMP, if applicable.
  • Where the proposed project is not consistent with the school’s SMP, schools need to provide reasoning behind deprioritising maintenance priorities.

Facility area

  • Schools are encouraged to ensure projects are in line with their designated facility area schedule and, if applicable, with any existing asset management plan (AMP). Schools proposing departures from their designated facility area schedule or an existing AMP are required to provide reasoning behind the proposed project.
  • Projects should not reduce the enrolment capacity of the school unless the school has excess space and the reduction in enrolment capacity is endorsed by VSBA. For more information refer to the Capacity and Area Allocation Advice.
  • All demolition projects must comply with the Demolition Policy.

Approval decisions and timelines

All proposed projects submitted via the online project proposal approval form are first reviewed by the relevant Regional Office provision and planning team, before progressing to the VSBA for assessment and approval.

Approval timelines are dependent on the value and complexity of the project.

Schools should note the following indicative timelines when planning their proposal.

  • Regional Office review – 2 to 4 weeks after proposal submission via the online project proposal approval form.
  • VSBA approval – 2 to 8 weeks once the Regional Office review has been completed.

VSBA Delivery Division will notify the school when the Regional Office review has been completed and their proposal has been progressed to the VSBA for approval.

Further information on the approval process is available on the Guidance tab.

Approval to proceed to tender and contract

If the proposal is approved by the VSBA, approval is provided either as a school-led or VSBA-led project.

Should the project be approved as VSBA-led, the VSBA will oversee all stages of the project including procurement, design, construction and defects liability period.

Should the project be approved as a school-led project, schools will need to seek formal approval from the VSBA for the following project stages:

  • Proceed to consultant tender (for fees exceeding $100,000 including GST)
  • Consultant engagement (for fees exceeding $100,000 including GST)
  • Proceed to construction tender:
    • For projects up to $500,000 (including GST) it is preferred that schools seek tender prices from pre-qualified building contractors on the CSR. For projects in this value range deemed to be high-risk, schools may be required by the VSBA to engage a contractor from the CSR
    • For projects exceeding $500,000 (including GST) the VSBA must issue an Advanced Tender Notice on behalf of the school prior to calling of formal construction tenders by the school. Tender prices must be sort from pre-qualified building contractors on the CSR
  • Enter into construction contract with preferred contractor

Refer to the Resources tab for relevant templates to be submitted to the VSBA.

Further information on proceeding to tender, entering a contract and the Construction Supplier Register is available on the Guidance tab.

Exemptions from planning permit requirements

The Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic)External Link establishes a planning system that sets out how land may be used and developed. Under these schemes, planning permits provide legal permission for using or developing a 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 projects.

However, schools must consult with relevant municipal councils during the key planning phases of high value school-led capital projects that may impact the local community. For example, a new auditorium or sports field and where possible, design buildings that comply with the intent of local planning schemes.

Building permits

All construction and capital works projects on school sites must comply with the National Construction Code (NCC), the Victorian and Australian building standards, the Building Quality Standards Handbook, and all relevant departmental infrastructure related policies. For more information, refer to the Building Quality Standards Handbook (BQSH) — School Construction and Design Standards Policy.

Certain building projects may require a building permit. Building permits are documents certifying that a proposed building complies with the relevant building regulations.

When planning a school-funded project, schools should speak to their regional provision and planning manager about building permit requirements.

Good neighbour guide

The department has developed the Good neighbour guide (PDF)External Link to support schools in informing and preparing their school and local communities for any change or 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.

School-funded facilities on non-school land

Schools seeking to fund capital projects on non-school land may do so via a Community Joint Use Agreement. For more information, refer to the Community Use of Schools Policy.

Recording of school-funded contributions

To ensure transparency, all funding from ‘third-party’ contributors (such as schools) is captured in the Victorian Government’s annual Budget Paper 4.

Definitions

Construction Supplier Register (CSR)
The CSR is the pre-qualification scheme for building contractors and consultants interested in obtaining work from Victorian Government departments and agencies.

Designated facility area
To ensure equity across schools, the department has developed the facility area schedules which indicate the spaces required for a school to deliver the curriculum for a certain number of enrolments.

The facility area schedules are tables that set out the number and type of learning spaces and/or square metres of space that are required for a school of a certain size and type – for example primary, secondary, special and special developmental. This space is known as a school's designated facility area. A school’s designated facility area allocation is key to calculating resource allocations and determining the size of new facilities in capital projects.

Ramp
A ramp is defined as an 'inclined surface on a continuous accessible path of travel between 2 landings with a gradient steeper than 1 in 20 but not steeper than 1 in 14'. Ramps will be designed in accordance with the Australian Standards.

Relevant legislation

Department policy on requirements for schools contributing or raising money to build or upgrade facilities

Reviewed 09 May 2024

Policy last updated

15 December 2023

Scope

  • Schools
  • School councils

Contact

Victorian School Building Authority Project Delivery Unit

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