Procurement and supply chain management



As part of the drive for free state-funded schools, aYork-based parent-led educational group has secured funding (£55m – a non-negotiable budget) from the Capital Spending Programme of the Department for Education (DfE) to develop an autonomous but state-funded school that sits outside the local authority control. The Parent-led promoters anticipate a larger than usual technical high school modelled after the University Technical Colleges, offering Years 10-12 a unique education, skills and employment prospects in two key economic sectors, namely Digital technologies and Health Sciences.To achieve this, the school has secured York St John University and British Telecoms as partnersfor its ambitious institution.

Previously, all such schools were all procured under a standing framework arrangement. However, the DfE recently confirmed that the next wave of free schools, including the proposed UTC, will be tendered outside the framework, although it hasn’t yet announced details.

The design theme is a natural-looking building with the outside environment connecting with the interior, incorporating several external access points as well as several distinct outdoor learning and play areas. The school plans to incorporate a significant use of PV and other sustainable technologies.

The client and end-user groups anticipate closer contractor-client involvement, timely completion, completion within budget and first-class facilities that reflect the school’s ambition as a modern provider of digital and health technology education.

The new two storey building whichwill include 14 classrooms and activity area as well as an all-weather 3G synthetic sports pitch, is expected to take 70 weeks to complete when it starts in January 2021. This is to allow for a May 2022completion, allowing for a comfortable September start of school, which cannot be compromised. The school will offer an increased capacity of 430 pupils compared to similar school with a capacity of 270. It will be equipped to accommodate the predicted increase in school rolls as well as offering after-school club capacity.

Although planning approval for the scheme was granted in principle, in January 2020, the design is still far from being complete. Ryder Architecture, a NorthEast-based architectural practice, developed some outline design/drawings up to stage 2 only (Concept Design) of the 2013 RIBA Plan of Work for the following key facilities:

• Learning and teaching facilities, including 14 classrooms;

• Staff office accommodation;

• Laboratory facilities;

• VR, 3D printing and digital spaces;

• Canteen and dining facilities;

• Indoor play areas and multi-purpose hall;

• Outdoor learning and play areas, including an all-weather 3G synthetic sports pitch.

At present, the school’s employees are limited to a Principal Designate, admissions Manager and PA to Principal, and Business Liaison Manager. The promoters have also appointed a caretaker Board of Trustees with a Chair and five members including the Principal Designate, who together make all operational decisions. No one in the team has any technical construction expertise, and are therefore now seeking to procure the necessary expertise to move the project forward:

• Necessary consultants to assist in getting the project off the ground.

• Construction contractor(s) and such other specialists as are necessary to carry out the various elements of construction work.

• The scheme design, while sufficiently complete to obtain the necessary approvals, is not fully complete and some detailed design work remains outstanding. The client is undecided as to whether it should retain the original architects to complete the outstanding design or whether this work would be better carried out under a different arrangement. The initial designers were only contracted for the completed level of work and there’s no obligation to keep them.

• The client is undecided as to what other key consultant it needs to assist in the securing the completed project as well as the predicted student numbers when the school opens in September 2022.

Following a competitive tender process, your practice has been appointed as procurement specialists to assist with the procurement of the various works and services required on this flagship project. The client is eager to maximise value for money at all stages in the project, and it would like to open the facilities on time to avoid a tarnished reputation experienced by other similar schools around the country where delays forced them to operate in temporary accommodation or postpone opening by one academic year.

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