5 Tips to Improve the Building of New Schools

by Oct 29, 2020

The Building of New Schools is an Increasingly Complex Process.

High rise school buildings, greater use of technology, and more regulation is driving a need to ensure the right information is provided at the right time.

While some in the industry think a USB loaded with hundreds or thousands of files is ok and it can be delivered 3, 6, or 18 months after handover, are in for a shock.  The old ways of expecting school asset managers to sort the mess later, well after the occupation are going to change.

The ongoing building reform process and the risks of not getting it right will have an impact on current practice.

In NSW it is a condition to have proper building manuals in place before the issue of an occupancy certificate[1].  In other states, regulations require that the owners are given information that meets 3 basic criteria, in short, adequate descriptions, evidence of compliance, and instructions on safe and proper use.  This applies to contractors and designers.

Some leading commercial property managers are already ahead of the game and easily meet the requirements of the above regulations.  Here are 5 key tips you can follow to improve your School project handover, be organized, and comply with the current regulations.

[1] NSW EPA Act Division 6.8 Miscellaneous, 6.27 Owners building manual

5 Tips to Build New Schools and Meet Industry Requirements.

  1. Make the provision of all Building Manuals, Asset Data, As-Built Documents, and Compliance Certificates a condition precedent to project completion and handover. Moving in and occupying a new facility without proper information is a high-risk approach for school asset managers.  If things go wrong, fines can be in the millions and it can include imprisonment.  And don’t think the builder’s 12 month warranty period will save you, once you commence using you have no excuse.
  2. Specify in the contract exactly what information is needed at handover to allow the asset manager to commence the proper operation and maintenance of the new facilities. If you have asset management systems incorporate the data requirements into the process to ensure the information is properly linked.  A spreadsheet of assets alone will not comply without all 3 criteria being in place.  It needs the ‘narrative’ the evidence and instructions all linked.

  3.  Develop a detailed handover plan that includes advance review and checking of the Manuals and documents well before project completion. This is not a last-minute job.  Consultants need to provide guidance and checking of the content before others review the documents to ensure they are compliant with the regulations and the contract.

  4. Capital Works project teams need to engage early with the responsible school asset managers to create a ‘no surprises’ approach to project handover. The very best project handover is one with nothing to discuss.

  5. Reward the project teams and contractors who produce a ‘no surprises’ handover with more work. These firms and their staff take a great deal of pride in ensuring the projects ‘moment of truth’ is well managed.  They also utilise the very best digital technology like Omtrak to ensure asset managers can have confidence they have the right information at the right time.
OmTrak - Adelaide Vertical HighSchool

Pictured Above:  Adelaide Botanic (Vertical) High School in the Adelaide CBD. The Adelaide Botanic High School is a 5 Green Star Rated building, linked by a glass atrium with 7 storeys, a basement, rooftop terrace and caters for 1250 students.

OmTrak Software has tools to manage all building information and documents throughout the design phase, construction phase, and maintenance phase of a school project. OmTrak software has already been used to manage the construction and assets of schools in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. To find out more you can download the case studies here; OMTRAK SCHOOLS CASE STUDIES

Reduce costs & time delays.

Our products have been developed by industry experts and refined over the last twenty years to ensure high quality project outcomes. Our consulting services provide additional support for those that just need a little extra help.