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RIBA urges community involvement in school contract procurement

Staff, students and local communities should have more involvement in the construction procurement process for new school buildings or refurbishment works, according to the Royal Institute of British Architects.

In its submission to the James Review of Capital Investment in Schools, RIBA called on the Government to ensure that investment in schools results in better buildings that are “cost-effective, fit for purpose and fully meet the needs of teachers and students”.

As part of this, the Government should involve students, teachers and the local community in the selection of construction teams more rigorously, in order to make the most of the consultation period, thereby avoiding unrealistic expectations and abortive costs, the Institute said.

The Government should also ensure that different procurement routes are available to suit the different size and complexity of individual projects and enable the most appropriate and cost-effective allocation of risk, according to the submission.

RIBA president Ruth Reed said:  “Billions of pounds and huge amounts of time have been disgracefully wasted in the last decade in an attempt to improve our desperately poor school estate. It is time for wiser spending and we welcome the James Review as an opportunity to achieve greater value for money and the improved delivery of better school buildings.

“Many of our existing school buildings are simply not good enough. There are serious issues, ranging from school capacity, due to demographic change, and health and safety, to fitness for purpose and the ability to accommodate current and emerging educational practice.

“The Government urgently needs to simplify and improve the process of delivering better schools before any more time and money are wasted.”

The RIBA’s full James Review consultation response can be viewed here.

 

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