A brand new school in 7 steps - Step 7: Handing over

From initial enquiries to the actual build, in this series we’ve looked at every stage of the school delivery process. The most exciting and rewarding stage of this journey is Step 7: Handing over

When you’re up against a deadline, with a new term on the horizon, the final handover of your school can be quite a rushed stage. But it’s so incredibly important for the children and staff. Getting those final details right, and making sure everybody knows how to use their new building, can mean the difference between a successful opening day and one that misses the mark.

A hands-on handover

There comes a point in every build when you reach formal completion. At that point, the building is officially deemed complete and snag free, ready to hand over to its users. But a good handover starts well before that, with delivery partners and contractors talking regularly to both the client and the school team throughout the build.

By establishing this dialogue early, you’ll be able to make sure you – and the users of the school – really understand how it works, why decisions have been made and how to care for this new environment. Then, at handover time, you should expect a thorough walkthrough of the building, with the right people being trained in how to operate its systems.

Simple things like how to work the heating, open the windows and access the wireless networks can make or break users’ experiences of settling in, so your delivery partner should make sure the school team not only knows how to use them, but also who to call if there’s a problem.

Reliable ongoing support

Whether you’re a local authority, developer or multi-academy trust, your relationship with the team who have delivered your school shouldn’t end on the day it opens its doors.

You should receive follow-up calls and visits over the following year, as well as getting the details of contacts who can troubleshoot any issues.  Some delivery partners will even keep a member of the team on site for several weeks after handover, just so school users have instant access to the advice they need.

If you’re a private developer…

Your handover won’t just be about how the building works. In fact, in most cases you’ll ask your delivery partner to train the school team directly, rather than involving you. After all, they are the ones who’ll be using it, day in, day out.

For you, the handover stage will be a critical, contractual moment. Your delivery partner will have agreed a contract sum for the project, but if you’ve asked for, or approved any changes along the way, the initial figure may have gone up or down slightly.

You should be kept informed throughout, but at the handover you’ll get confirmation of the final closing sum – and be able to see just how much you have actually saved by avoiding the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) or Section 106 route. It’s a good time to evaluate and consider your strategy for future builds.

Step 7 actions:

  * Ask all the questions you need to
  * Make sure end users get the right training
  * Get contact numbers in case of queries
  * Analyse final project figures

Whether you’re a local authority or a private developer, if you’re weighing up your school build options, at Sunesis we’re ready to help. We’re education specialists with a genuine understanding of the pressures you’re under, and we’re always happy to talk new projects through. If you’d like to find out more, just call us on **07950 717 804 **or email enquiry@sunesis.co.uk.

Last week: Step 6: Building your school