Thomas K12 Author: editor

Author: editor

Legal aspects for building school

Building a home is far different from building a school. While a contract for your home with the builder will usually have the plan, the materials to be used, time of completion and the costs, building a school goes a step further. It has to be remembered that it should also cover children’s safety, health and hygiene and child specific features. The laws relating to building schools are very stringent and it is always advisable that you carry out intensive research in this matter and have detailed discussions with the school regulatory bodies before taking the first step.

  • Finalising a contractor – After the location of the school is finalised the next step is to identify the contractor and builder. It is not as simple as it seems. Contacting a top builder might not do if that firm is not accredited with the local school district or board. Get a list of building contractors who are authorised to build schools in your area. The contract that is ultimately finalised between the builder and you has to be vetted by the local school district.

The next step is carrying out due diligence while finalising your builder and this will help you know if the contractor can be relied upon. Get a list of school projects that the contractor has worked on before. For each of the projects find out the grade levels it was built to accommodate and the area under construction. Both should match the school that you have in mind.

Construction costs, whether the project was finished within the stipulated contractual time and any penalties paid due an error on the part of the builder are some of the other things that also needs to be looked into while verifying the antecedents of the builder.

  • Professional liability insurance – Most contractors have a professional liability insurance of around a million dollars while in reality a school project can cost ten times that. You can get the contractor to increase the coverage but that might in turn mean higher fees charged by them. Alternately, the school district can ask the contractor to have a specific project liability insurance that covers your school project from all defective work carried out by the engineers, architects, surveyors and anybody connected with the project.

  • Contract issues – Clarify contract issues with both the architect and the construction manager. Some of the aspects that should be taken into account are scope of basic services and fees, standard of work, review of work carried out by consultants and other trade contractors and independent testing agencies. Ensure that there are no conflicts among various project agreements. However, these factors are quite complicated and definitely beyond comprehension of the common man necessitating legal advice in this regard.

While school districts do have safeguards in place that make sure that contractual agreements are followed to the letter, there is no harm in exercising caution in this regard. Get in touch with a law firm of property and business lawyers in Melbourne or wherever your project might be to take care of the legal aspects, especially the contractual side of building the school.

You can also have surety bonds linked with the bid packages to ensure that the performance bonds remain valid and in effect till all the contracted work has been completed and in some cases even years after the project has been completed.

These are some of the legal aspects that should be taken care of when building a school. As said, it is preferable to leave these matters in the competent hands of business lawyers.


How to Become a School Builder

Building a school may be a part of general and civil construction but there are other areas that need to be carefully looked into as the health of children is very important. Hence, specific ideas and concepts have to be formulated and put in place before a school building can be constructed. If you want to get into this exclusive chosen field of construction, following a few steps will help you on your way.

Get the required qualifications – You might choose to be a hands-on builder who will be involved in every aspect of school building or you can have an office and employ engineers, architects and builders. In both cases it is advisable that you acquire basic qualifications. There are a lot of courses offered by different Australian Universities and Institutions where you gain an in-depth knowledge of construction. Civil engineering courses usually have definite areas of specialisation like building of residential units, commercial complexes or plants and factories. You can choose to focus on building schools.

Get necessary licences and permits – In all States of Australia, general construction laws and regulations are very precise and strict, more so for those aspiring to be a school builder. Instead of trying to unravel the complexities on your own, it is recommended that you get an experienced business consultant to do it for you. He/she will know the relevant documents to be submitted to the licensing authorities as well as the required fees. You’ll be taken through the steps until you get the required permits to start off on your venture.

Get a business plan – As a school builder, your business plan will be a bit different from the general ones. In conventional business plans related to manufacturing or trading ventures, one business plan is formulated taking into account financial, marketing and other verticals. But for you there will be a difference. Any school project that you take up will be unique in its kind. What will be required for a kindergarten will be different from that of a middle school and high school.

Every project has to be taken in its entirety and plans made to suit it. However, you can get the consultant to make an approximate estimate of your working capital requirements based on a fixed and expected number of constructions per year. You can also estimate the capital investment in construction equipment and have all these factors incorporated in the plan. However, in the early stages, lease expensive equipment instead of outright purchase to reduce the quantum of initial investments. Submit this plan to lenders and financial institutions if you need credit limits sanctioned for your company.

Get experts on board – You will need to hire staff from the word go – architects, engineers, equipment operators (if you buy equipment). They will be the backbone of your company, good for any project that you take up. On the other hand, there are painters and carpenters and masons that you will need too. Their numbers will depend on the size of the school that will be built. Hence, it is preferable not to hire permanent tradesmen but get them as per your requirements. Here too, you will get help at hand. If you are a resident of Victoria, contact labour hire companies in Melbourne to take up this hiring exercise. Likewise for other states too. These companies have databases of skilled and unskilled labour looking for jobs and your vacancies will be filled up in no time, even though on a temporary project to project basis.

Start small –If you are aspiring to be a school builder, start small, say with a small kindergarten or primary school building. There are two advantages to it. First, your investment will be low and you don’t have to depend on external borrowings to start work. Secondly, you will gain the required experience of building schools and can expand your skill sets as you go along.

Follow these simple steps to become a school builder and you will surely succeed in your chosen field.