PFI school refurbishment and maintenance

joiner carpenter fixing rail to wall
£3 million
Kirklees, Yorkshire
Oct 2002
Sep 2004

Our school refurbishment successfully overcame the challenges of bringing buildings to an agreed standard without disrupting staff or pupils.

After main contractor Jarvis had challenges with a PFI schools contract, in 2002 they engaged VGC to complete their contract to refurbish and maintain sixteen schools in the Kirklees area of West Yorkshire.

The PFI contract was split into two phases. Initial refurbishment and, once the schools had been brought up to an agreed standard, subsequent on-going maintenance. The refurbishment of the schools was carried out in accordance with the main PFI contract and involved plumbing and electrical upgrades, joinery, building work, painting and decorating.

Undertaking construction work within schools has specific challenges. Before works starts, all personnel involved are subject to Criminal Record Bureau checks before being allowed on site. To ensure that the programme is achieved, VGC checked sufficient personnel to have resources available to cope with such issues as sickness and fluctuating workload.

To optimise the work programme VGC liaised with school heads and management teams to agree the best working arrangements. Normal daytime shifts were not appropriate because of availability of access and the difficulties in segregating work areas from staff and pupils. All work patterns were monitored to identify any access delays or other problems associated with working in an educational environment. By trialling different shift patterns and analysing the data collected, VGC optimised working arrangements to significantly improve outputs whilst at the same time minimising any disruption to normal school activities.

By working in partnership with all the stakeholders, significant savings were achieved. Building on this success VGC adopted this model on other PFI contracts for schools in Liverpool and at Lancaster and Nottingham universities.