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More for less on school construction

A second batch of private finance schools have come to the market through the PSBP (Priority School Building programme) and are entering the final stages of the tender. The PSBP has claimed that its aim is to take a ‘more for less’ approach and hopes are high that they will deliver on their promise.

The government believes that the new building programme will deliver a 30% reduction of costs and will save up to nearly £6million per school compared to labours ‘Building Schools for the future project’, that was scrapped within weeks of the coalition coming in to power.

The PSBP claims that every new primary and secondary school that will be built in the future will be more efficient, sustainable and cheaply constructed, in line with new baseline designs that have been set out by the department of education in October 2012.

Experts have concerns that the ‘one fits all’ construction method may have limitations on each of the schools individuals requirements, but that the straightforward – talking programme will do exactly what it says and is allowing a new generation of school buildings to be produced with good teaching spaces that are so desperately needed, as conditions in some of the schools were so severe that urgent action was needed so that the conditions that students and teachers were studying and working in improved dramatically using the limited amount of grant funding available.

The government is claiming that the PSBP offers a whole new approach, hoping that it will be more disciplined and ensuring that costs of new schools will be kept low. They are also shortening procurement times and challenging contractors to save in all areas of construction. From the savings that the PSBP are promising it means that more schools will benefit from the programme.

587 schools applied for the new programme 261 of them will be rebuilt or have work done so that their needs will be met. The first school, Whitmore Park Primary, is due to be completed in 2014.

The amount of work for the construction industry in the education sector is set to rise, as the government is steadily increasing funding through the PSBP, this may come as a relief to many of the firms that had suffered through Labour’s ambitious ‘building schools for the future project’ that cancelled over £55billon worth of construction work.

Posted 10th September 2014

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