education.vic.gov.au

Policy last updated

18 January 2023

Scope

  • Schools
  • School councils

Date:
January 2020

Policy

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 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 $50,000 (including GST). However, they must comply with 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 $50,000 (including GST). VSBA approval must be sought via the online project proposal approval formExternal Link (school login required).
  • For projects deemed to be high-risk with a construction value of between $50,000 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 and essential safety measures, 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 2020External 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 $50,000 (including GST) However, they must comply with the Procuring Low-Value Construction Works and 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 $50,000 (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.

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 and essential safety measures, 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 $50,000 including GST)
  • Consultant engagement (for fees exceeding $50,000 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.

Relevant legislation


Guidance

Guidance for School Funded Capital Projects

This Guidance contains the following chapters, which can be accessed using the right-hand side menu bar:

  • Overview
  • Step 1: Planning for investment in capital or maintenance projects
  • Step 2: Submitting an online project proposal approval form
  • Step 3: Proceeding to tender and contract for project delivery
  • Step 4: Completion of the project

Overview

Overview

Schools may fund and lead capital or maintenance projects in their entirety or contribute funds to building projects led by the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA).

An online process streamlines the approval process and enables tracking of school project proposals to ensure their timely consideration by the VSBA.

There are 4 key steps to the process:


Step 1: Planning for investment in capital or maintenance projects

Step 1: Planning for investment in capital or maintenance projects

Schools can contribute to existing VSBA-led building projects or invest in school-funded capital or maintenance projects.

Planning for investment in capital or maintenance projects should be proportionate to the type of project being pursued, for example, a maintenance project of existing facilities is simpler than building a new facility.

For school-funded projects that require VSBA approval (projects exceeding $50,000 including GST), schools are encouraged to speak to their regional provision planning manager. If a school wishes to contribute school-raised funds to a VSBA-led building project, they should speak to the VSBA Delivery project officer assigned to their project.

When schools submit their project proposal to the regional provision and planning team (Step 2), the proposal is reviewed and endorsed based on the information provided (refer to the list of required documents for assessment in Step 2).

Once the regional provision and planning manager has endorsed the project proposal it is submitted to the VSBA for assessment and approval. Once the project proposal is approved, any variations to scope or additional funding requires reassessment and reapproval.

Finally, schools must obtain school council approval of the proposal before submitting a project proposal approval form to the VSBA. Schools must upload a completed school council declaration form (using the School Council Declaration template (DOCX)External Link ) to the online project proposal approval form.

Engaging a consultant for support with project proposal development

Schools are allowed to engage a consultant to assist with preparation of the project proposal (preliminary scope of works and preliminary cost estimate only). However, schools should limit the engagement of consultants to the project proposal stage. Should the consultant contract value exceed $50,000 (including GST), schools must seek VSBA approval prior to proceeding to consultant tender and consultant engagement and seek a minimum of three written quotes.

Prior to engaging a consultant, schools are strongly encouraged to seek advice from their regional provision planning manager or the VSBA, and refer to the section on engaging a consultant under Step 2. Additionally, where a consultant is required, the VSBA recommends the selection of pre-qualified consultants from the Construction Supplier RegisterExternal Link . The VSBA Project Delivery Officer can provide advice to schools regarding consultant fees, consultant selection and recommend an appropriate VSBA Consultancy Agreement (contract).


Step 2: Submitting an online project proposal approval form

Step 2: Submitting an online project proposal approval form

Schools are required to seek approval from the VSBA for any proposed investment in capital or maintenance projects valued over $50,000 (including GST), using the online project proposal approval formExternal Link (school login required).

The online project proposal approval form asks schools to specify the proposal type by selecting if the project is a school contribution to an existing VSBA-led building project, a stand-alone school-funded capital project (where there are no active VSBA projects on school site) or a maintenance project.

Schools should provide as much information as available to facilitate the assessment and approval process, including detail on funding sources, equity funding expenditure and other relevant detail to demonstrate compliance with the School-funded Capital Projects Policy and other relevant policies.

Information required for approval process

The information required for the online approvals process is tailored to the different types and sizes of projects.

When submitting a project proposal, schools should use the school login account. Schools are encouraged to consult with the applicable checklist outlined below to understand the form requirements.

Schools can save the project proposal as a draft and access it later using the same link: online project proposal approval formExternal Link (school login required). Project proposals should only be submitted when finalised (including all required attachments) and when ready for review.

The VSBA cannot assess and make a recommendation for approval of a school’s project proposal unless all required documents are submitted.

Information required for the online project proposal approval form – school-funded capital project

For school-funded capital or maintenance projects with an estimated value of less than or equal to $50,000 (including GST)

VSBA approval is not required, refer to Procuring Low-Value Construction Works or Services Policy.

For school-funded maintenance projects estimated to exceed $50,000 (including GST)

You will need to provide the following information:

  • details of the scope of the proposed project, and where applicable, alignment to the School Maintenance Plan (SMP) (note: the SMP must be endorsed by the VSBA)
  • preliminary project proposal cost
  • maximum amount of school funds available to invest in the delivery of the project
  • information on the source of funding
  • school council declaration: attach minutes from a school council meeting, approving the investment in the proposed project.

Required documents for assessment under this category (as relevant):

  • marked up School Plan (formerly SAMS Plan) – indicating the location of the proposed project works
  • drawings or specifications – if applicable at this early stage to communicate the project
  • site investigation reports, including:
    • asbestos/hazardous materials audit required for all internal upgrade/maintenance projects.
    • geotechnical report required for all project proposals requiring excavation works
    • soil contamination assessment (geochemical investigation) required for all project proposals requiring excavation works
  • cost estimate – high level costs in the form of a cost plan from a quantity surveyor or order of probable costs from an architect
  • any other documentation that may help the VSBA to assess your project proposal.

If you require assistance with the required documents, contact your regional provision planning manager in the first instance.

For school-funded upgrade projects estimated to exceed $50,000 (including GST)

Project scope

Schools must provide details of the scope of the proposed project, including:

  • marked up School Plan (formerly SAMS Plan) – indicating the location of the proposed project works
  • Asset Management Plan Stage 2 (AMP2) – no older than 5 years/deemed current (if applicable)
  • drawings or specifications – if applicable at this early stage to communicate the project
  • site investigation reports, including:
    • asbestos/hazardous materials audit required for all internal upgrade/maintenance projects, internal construction etc.
    • geotechnical report required for all project proposals requiring excavation works
    • soil contamination assessment (geochemical investigation) required for all project proposals requiring excavation works
    • details on flood overlay (if applicable)
  • cost estimate – high level costs in the form of a cost plan from a quantity surveyor or order of probable costs from an architect:
    • may include construction costs, consultant fees, 10% construction contingency, cost escalation
    • note: 5% Portfolio Asset Management Allowance (PAMA) fee is applicable for all school-funded projects delivered by the VSBA in accordance with the School-Funded Capital Projects Policy
  • any other documentation that may help the VSBA to assess the project proposal.
Maintenance and condition of existing facilities

Schools are required to provide several documents related to the maintenance and condition of existing facilities.

Schools that have had their Rolling Facilities Evaluation (RFE) must provide their VSBA-endorsed School Maintenance Plan (SMP) (refer to School Maintenance Plans and Rolling Facilities Evaluations Policy). Schools that have not had their RFE must provide a relevant maintenance schedule. All schools must provide confirmation that the school has addressed all outstanding priority maintenance either identified in the school's SMP or relevant maintenance schedule.

Where applicable, schools must provide information on whether the project aligns with the school’s SMP or maintenance schedule, and attaching an overview of maintenance priorities.

Schools must also provide information about any Emergency Maintenance Program or Make Safe Program funding received in the last 24 months.

Facility area

Schools must provide information on how the new or upgraded facility will be used, including:

  • whether changes to school facilities will occur as a result of the project
  • whether the facility will be used for curriculum purposes (in accordance with the Capacity and Area Allocation Advice)
  • information on how the school will fund ongoing maintenance costs of the facility, where applicable
  • how the project proposal aligns with the Asset Management Plan and/or the school’s educational direction, where applicable
  • how the proposed project will affect the student capacity of the school (for example, whether the project aligns to the school’s excess space strategy and whether it reduces or increases the capacity of the school).
Funding source

Schools must provide information about how the project will be funded, including:

  • preliminary project proposal cost
  • maximum amount of school funds available to invest in the delivery of the project
  • information on the source of funding
Risk assessment of the project

Schools must provide information about risks associated with the project, including:

  • information on any risks for delivering the project that the VSBA should be aware of such as hazardous material removal or uneven/rocky terrain
  • information on bushfire status of the school, including:
    • whether the school is in a Bushfire Management Zone
    • whether the school has budgeted for additional bushfire standards compliance work
  • a marked-up School Plan (formerly SAMS Plan) with the location of the proposed project
  • school council declaration: attach minutes from a school council meeting, approving the investment.

Information required for the online project proposal approval form — Contribution to existing VSBA-led building projects

Contribution to an existing VSBA-led building project estimated to be less than or equal to $50,000 (including GST)

Schools must provide the following information:

  • details of the scope of the proposed contribution
  • school council declaration: attach minutes from a school council meeting, approving the investment
  • completed and signed Form 35 School Contribution facilitated by the VSBA project officer responsible for the project.

Contribution to an existing VSBA-led building project estimated to exceed $50,000 (including GST): within VSBA documented design and scope

Schools must provide the following information:

  • details of the scope of the proposed contribution
  • information on any prior contributions to this project
  • preliminary project proposal cost
  • maximum amount of school funds available to invest in the delivery of the project
  • information on the source of funding
  • school council declaration: attach minutes from a school council meeting, approving the investment
  • Completed and signed Form 35 School Contribution facilitated by the VSBA Project Officer responsible for the VSBA-led building project
  • note: 5% Portfolio Asset Management Allowance (PAMA) fee is applicable for all school-funded contributions to VSBA-led building projects in accordance with the School Funded Capital Projects Policy.

Contribution to an existing VSBA-led building project estimated to exceed $50,000 (including GST): outside VSBA documented design and scope (requiring design documentation)

Project scope

Schools must provide details about the scope of the proposed project.

Maintenance and condition of existing facilities

Schools must provide the following documents related to the maintenance and condition of existing facilities:

  • confirmation that the school has addressed all outstanding priority maintenance either identified in the school’s School Maintenance Plan (SMP), Maintenance schedule or otherwise (note: SMP must be endorsed by the VSBA)
  • information on whether the project aligns with the school’s SMP, where applicable
  • information on any Emergency Maintenance Program or Make Safe Program funding received in the last 24 months.
Facility area

Schools must provide information on how the new or upgraded facility will be used, including:

  • whether changes to school facilities will occur as a result of the project
  • whether the facility will be used for curriculum purposes, in accordance with the Capacity and Area Allocation Advice
  • information on how the school will fund ongoing maintenance costs of the facility, where applicable (for example, through hiring the facility for community use)
  • whether the project proposal aligns with the Asset Management Plan and/or the school’s educational direction, where applicable
  • how the proposed project will affect the student capacity of the school (for example, whether it aligns to the school’s excess space strategy and whether it will reduce or increase the capacity of the school).
Funding source

Schools must provide information about how the project will be funded, including:

  • preliminary project proposal cost
  • maximum amount of school funds available to invest in the delivery of the project
  • information on the source of funding.
Risk assessment of the project

Schools must provide information about risks associated with the project, including:

  • information on any risks for delivering the project that the VSBA should be aware of such as hazardous material removal or uneven/rocky terrain
  • information on bushfire status of the school, including:
    • whether the school in a Bushfire Management Zone
    • whether the school has budgeted for additional bushfire standards compliance work
  • a marked-up School Plan (formerly SAMS plan) with location of the proposed project
  • school council declaration: attach minutes from a school council meeting, approving the investment.

Step 3: Proceeding to tender and contract for project delivery

Step 3: Proceeding to tender and contract for project delivery

Once the project proposal is approved, the VSBA will also communicate the decision regarding the delivery model of the project (i.e. school-led or VSBA-led).

School-funded projects estimated to be between $50,000 (including GST) and $500,000 (including GST), and considered to be low-risk, will be led by the school.

School-funded projects estimated at or above $500,000 (including GST) or projects assessed to be high risk regardless of value, will be VSBA-led and attract a 5% Portfolio Asset Management Allowance fee.

Projects delivered by the school

Similar to the project proposal approval process, the tender and contract process varies depending on the project. There are different tender and contract processes for:

  • school-funded projects estimated to be $50,001 to $200,000 including GST
  • school-funded projects estimated to be $200,001 to $500,000 including GST.

Information required for the tender and contract process for consultants and contractors

In accordance with the revised Ministerial Directions, all procurement activities must now follow the following rules for works undertaken by a single supplier (builder):

  • up to $50,000 (including GST in value) – at least one quote is required
  • between $50,001 to $200,000 (including GST in value) – at least 3 quotes are required
  • between $200,001 to $500,000 (including GST in value) – formal tenders must be sought from a minimum of 3 builders
  • over $500,000 (including GST in value) – VSBA must issue a Forward Notice/Expression of Interest (EOI) to all pre-qualified builders on the Construction Suppliers Register (CSR)External Link prior to calling of formal construction tenders.

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 school-funded projects estimated to be $50,001 to $200,000 (including GST)

Stage 1: Consultant engagement

It is unlikely that consultants engaged for works in this project cost category will require VSBA approval as fees will not exceed $50,000 including GST.

  • If the quote is under $50,000 (including GST) this is within the school’s financial delegation, the school can accept the quote and proceed with the works without needing to seek formal written approval from the VSBA.
  • If the quote is over $50,000 (including GST) and is therefore outside of the school’s financial delegation, the school will need to seek VSBA approval.
Stage 2: Seek approval from VSBA to proceed to construction tender

Schools are required to provide the following documentation to the VSBA:

  • tender drawings and specifications indication of compliance against VSBA’s Building Quality Standards Handbook (BQSH) and relevant standards
  • tenderer shortlist
  • completed conflict of interest forms (Conflict of Interest form template available on the Resources tab)
  • written request seeking approval to proceed to construction tender on a school letterhead (Approval to Proceed to Construction Tender template available on the Resources tab)
  • forecast date for commencement and completion of construction works.
Stage 3: Seek approval from VSBA to proceed to construction contract

Schools are required to provide the following documentation to the VSBA:

  • 3 written quotes
  • quote/tender evaluation recommendation report based on contractor selection criteria
  • completed conflict of interest forms (Conflict of Interest form template available on the Resources tab)
  • written request seeking approval to enter into construction contract on a school letterhead (Approval to Enter into Construction Contracts template available on the Resources tab)
  • forecast date for commencement and completion of construction works.

For school-funded projects estimated to be $200,001 to $500,000 (including GST)

Stage 1: Seek approval from the VSBA to engage a consultant (where engagement is estimated to exceed $50,000 (including GST)

Schools are required to provide the following documentation to the VSBA:

  • 3 written quotes
  • quote evaluation recommendation report based on consultant selection criteria
  • completed conflict of interest forms (Conflict of Interest form template available on the Resources tab)
  • written request seeking approval to engage a consultant on a school letterhead (Approval to Enter into Consultant Contracts template available on the Resources tab).
Stage 2: Seek approval from the VSBA to proceed to construction tender and tender evaluation

Schools are required to provide the following documentation to the VSBA:

  • comprehensive request for tender (RFT) documentation, including but not limited to DET approved contract, construction drawings and specifications (required RFT documentation confirmed by VSBA following project approval)
  • independent cost estimate for construction works (Pre-Tender Estimate/Cost Plan D)
  • name of 3 proposed contractors the school wishes to invite to tender (preferably pre-qualified building contractors from the CSR)
  • written request seeking approval to proceed to tender on a school letterhead (Approval to Proceed to Construction Tender template available on the Resources tab).
  • completed conflict of interest forms (Conflict of Interest form template available on the Resources tab).

Schools should establish a tender evaluation panel (consisting of members of school staff and/or school council representatives and consultants) to review the tender submissions and provide a recommendation for contract award based on evaluation criteria (i.e. value for money, capability, capacity, program, risk and experience).

Stage 3: Seek approval from the VSBA to enter construction contract

Schools are required to provide the following documentation to the VSBA:

  • all tender submissions
  • tender evaluation report
  • conflict of interest forms from all involved parties (the school and consultants) (refer to Resources tab for Conflict of Interest form template)
  • forecast date for commencement and completion of construction works
  • written request for approval to enter contract on a school letterhead (Approval to Enter into Construction Contracts template available on the Resources tab).

Schools are required to provide the VSBA with an electronic copy of the fully executed construction contract.

Confidentiality and conflict of interest during the tender process

It is important that tender pricing remains confidential until the tender period has concluded, and construction contracts have been executed by both parties.

The school should form a tender evaluation panel (consisting of members of school staff and/or school council representatives and consultants) to review the prices submitted by building contractors.

It is also important that any real or perceived conflict of interest is avoided throughout the tender process. For all school-led projects, the following situations present a clear conflict of interest and must be avoided:

  • members of school council and school staff (including relatives) providing pricing for goods/services
  • individuals or businesses coordinating the process of obtaining pricing for works where they are also submitting pricing (this provides that individual or business with an unfair commercial advantage).

Schools should use the Conflict of Interest template (DOCX)External Link and provide it to the VSBA when appropriate.

Refer to the School Council – Conduct and Conflict of Interest Policy for information on school council obligations in relation to their Code of Conduct and conflict of interest.

Obtaining independent cost estimates – required for projects over $200,000 (including GST)

Prior to proceeding to tender for the construction works, schools with school-led projects estimated to be between $200,001 to $500,000 including GST must ensure that the estimated project cost is within available school funds and within the maximum amount specified in the approved project proposal form. Schools must obtain an independent cost estimate for the project.

The cost estimate must be provided by an independent organisation, who will not be tendering or carrying out the actual construction works.

For example, if the school wishes to seek actual pricing from a builder for the construction works, that builder cannot provide an estimate to inform the project budget as they are not independent and will have an unfair advantage over other builders who submit their prices.

This independent cost estimate may be either:

  • Cost Plan D – a breakdown of all construction works, and costs prepared by a qualified quantity surveyor.
  • Estimate of probable costs – a breakdown of likely construction costs prepared by a consultant (architect or project manager).

VSBA assessment of documentation provided for approval to proceed to tender and contract for project delivery

When all documentation has been submitted, the VSBA will conduct a technical review of the documentation. VSBA Project Delivery Branch will assess whether the proposed works:

  • comply with the department’s current Building Quality Standards Handbook (BQSH)
  • are documented to a sufficient standard to enable the school to obtain accurate pricing from builders
  • offer good value for money for the school.

Approval to proceed to tender

Once VSBA has assessed the independent cost estimates and supporting documents, the school will receive formal approval to proceed to tender, signed by the VSBA Project Delivery Manager.

Approval to enter a construction contract

When construction tenders have closed, the school and/or consultant should evaluate submitted proposals to determine the preferred contractor. The VSBA Project Delivery Manager can provide advice and template documents to assist the school with the tender evaluation process, if needed.

The school must seek approval to enter a construction contract from the VSBA Project Delivery manager with the preferred contractor before the school contacts the contractor and advises that they have been successful.

It is vitally important that tender pricing remains confidential until the tender period has been completed and construction contracts have been signed between the school and the successful contractor.

The VSBA Project Delivery manager will review the documents to ensure that:

  • no conflict of interest, real or perceived, in accordance with the School Council – Conduct and Conflict of Interest Policy, exists between the school/school council and any of the tendering contractors
  • correct procurement process was followed
  • thorough tender evaluation process was followed.

Once the VSBA has completed the review, the school will receive formal approval to enter a construction contract, signed by the VSBA Project Delivery manager. The school or their consultant can then contact the preferred contractor and advise that they have been successful. Construction contracts must be signed between the school and the contractor and a digital copy provided to the VSBA before construction works can commence.

Insurance

The department has portfolio-wide insurance cover in place for construction risks and products and public liability related to construction works on school sites. Whilst all registered builders and tradespeople are required to have their own insurance policies in place, all works carried out on school sites are covered by the department’s Insurance for Schools Policy as well.

VSBA Project Delivery periodically updates the department’s insurer with a comprehensive list of all active government funded projects, as well as a list of current school-funded projects. This means that if there are serious issues during the construction of a school-funded project, the school’s builder may be able to draw upon the Insurance for Schools Policy rather than their own policy.

VSBA Project Delivery can provide the relevant insurance policy documents for inclusion in your construction tender and contracts as well as advice on insurance matters should the need arise.

Projects delivered by the VSBA

For projects delivered by the VSBA, the VSBA works in partnership with the school to deliver the approved scope of works throughout the project delivery stages, until the conclusion of the defect liability period.

If your school’s project is approved to be VSBA-Led

School-funded projects delivered by the VSBA follow a similar approach to State Budget-funded capital works projects. This includes:

  • an estimated 68-week duration for planning, design, and procurement (master planning, schematic design, design development, tender documentation, tendering and tender evaluation) to the commencement of construction, followed by a 12 month defects liability period after project completion.
  • completion of a Form 15 area analysis which forms part of each design milestone review (noting that there may be additional over-entitled area being constructed)
  • independent design and project quality assurance.

The school must transfer to the VSBA 10% of the school-funded project value at commencement and 90% prior to construction contract award.

For high value/high risk projects delivered by the VSBA, schools are required to pay a Portfolio Asset Management Allowance (PAMA) fee of 5% of the total project costs.

Confirmation of available funds

For constructing or upgrading facilities, schools must provide written confirmation of available funds at the following project milestones:

  • AMP Phase 2
  • schematic design and design development (if applicable)
  • tender documentation
  • tender evaluation and contract award.

To ensure that all project transactions are captured in the VSBA’s project management system, the VSBA will make payments directly to consultants and contractors on behalf of the school.


Step 4: Completion of the project

Step 4: Completion of the project

Once practical completion has been achieved, the school must advise the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA). This is regardless of the duration of the defects liability period.

After completing a school-funded capital project, schools must review and complete the steps under the school-delivered capital projects section of the School asset drawing changes checklist (PDF)External Link .


Resources

Resources

Forms and checklists

Good neighbour: Guide, checklist, and templates

Building Quality Standards Handbook (PDF)External Link – sets the minimum quality criteria for all Department of Education and Training (DET) capital projects, including new construction, refurbishment and maintenance works. Its purpose is to assist architects and designers to create high-quality designs for school facilities across Victoria.


Reviewed 21 May 2020