The government’s pledge to “build, buld build” and its announcement of “Project Speed” surely represents a great opportunity for schools and academies who have struggled for years, if not decades, with school buildings and facilities seriously in need of refurbishment, to grasp this opportunity and get their school refurbished.
Local authorities, Church of England and Roman Catholic diocesan Building Officers and all those with responsibility on school Governing Bodies, and/or school business managers employed in schools to manage the business side of education, need to fully exploit the offer this government announcement presents to them. This is, of course, provided schools can do this in tandem with overcoming the difficulties associated with fully opening schools in the current circumstances. No easy task – particularly when one also has to be prepared, as is the case in Leicester for example, for the possibility of further lockdown, if the COVID-19 pandemic flares up again in the locality.
In cases of straightforward refurbishment, the management of such projects can often be handled without difficulty by maintained schools, local authorities and church dioceses. In the case of less straightforward construction work, involving substantive development, there is pre-agreed/approved model documentation developed with government – for example Priority Schools Building Programme 2 model documentation, which can be used.
However for safety, one would recommend that schools get the documentation for any particular project vetted by retained solicitors. Also, to get any necessary site ‘due diligence’ investigation (legal and otherwise) done before the ink is dry on signed legal documentation, and not missed. If such a vital step is missed this can be a costly mistake likely to be “repented at leisure.”
For more information on this subject, please contact specialist lawyer Robert Cottingham.