Client Guide Achieving well designed schools through PFI

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1 Client Guide Achieving well designed schools through PFI cabe

2 Contents Education is not just about exam results the learning environment should encourage children to stretch themselves and open up new horizons. It is important to invest in classrooms to give our children the very best start in life. And that should be there for everyone. Prime Minister, Tony Blair I really like the new hall. I can run fast, it is so big. Richard, aged 5, St Botolph s Church of England Primary School, Sleaford, Lincolnshire (PFI, completed September 2002) Cover Millennium Primary School, Greenwich Peninsula LEA/Client: Greenwich / English Partnerships Architect: Edward Cullinan Architects Contractor: Wates Completion date: 2001 Capital Value: 6.0m Foreword 2 1 Introduction The scale of investment The policy context The challenge This guide 4 2 What is good design? The principles of good design Good design and Best Value How to achieve good design Good design of schools Establishing design standards 8 3 Stage One: Scoping the project and appraising the options Introduction Bidding for provisional approval of PFI credits Agree objectives and establish benchmarks Assess in-house skills and consider outside consultants Determine the optimum size of the PFI programme Establish the right budget Test the Value for Money of PFI Manage the programme 14 4 Stage Two: Brief development and early design work Introduction Developing the brief and specification The importance of initial design work Options for further design work Selecting designers for initial work Completion of the Outline Business Case 18 5 Stage Three: OJEC and the Output Specification Introduction Outline planning application Consultations Output Specification Refining the programme Going to OJEC 22 6 Stage Four: Negotiations Introduction Establishing weighted selection criteria to recognise design quality Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) Invitations to Submit Outline Proposals (ISOP) Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) Expert assessment Management of consultations 27 7 Stage Five: Selection of the consortium and delivery of the project Introduction Achieving maximum quality for a given budget Allowing sufficient time Design development between Preferred Bidder and Financial Close Maintaining quality on-site Post project evaluation 29 8 Conclusions 30 9 Abbreviations Useful organisations and publications 32

3 Foreword 1 Introduction Richard Feilden OBE CABE Commissioner CABE believes that good design is fundamental to higher quality public buildings and represents true value for money. Good design improves our enjoyment of places and the quality of time we spend there. Where better to signal a commitment to quality design of public buildings than in our schools, the places where our children learn and grow up? CABE has taken a particular interest in the design of schools because we are in the early stages of the biggest school construction programme for over thirty years. Lack of recent investment has led to many schools degenerating into environments that fall well short of even modest expectations. This will not be true value for money when our research has shown that well designed schools directly affect the quality of the learning environment and improve pupil performance and staff morale, help to deliver modern curricula and enhance the standing of a school within its community. The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) is one of the main mechanisms through which investment in new schools will be channelled. It is particularly important because it will deliver the majority of new or substantially refurbished schools that are included in current spending plans. When PFI was launched in 1992 it was with the clear aim of delivering higher quality and cost-effective public services. In the intervening years PFI has been put to the test with many public agencies getting to grips with the particularities of the process and the product of PFI. The commitment to new PFI schools may rise to over 1 billion per year in the next spending round and we are now seeing a rapidly increasing number of PFI schools coming into operation. It is therefore an opportune time to consider what lessons we have learnt about PFI from early projects and how we can apply this knowledge to ensure that the schools delivered through PFI over the coming years meet high design standards. Anybody who has been involved with PFI projects will recognise that they are complex and bring together a wide range of issues that are generally separated in more traditional methods of procurement. We believe that design quality will become an increasingly important issue and we hope that this guide will be valuable to those who care about the legacy of school buildings that we will be leaving for future generations. This guide uses CABE s experience and knowledge of best practice to help the main stakeholders, particularly the client, private sector partners and the school community, achieve well-designed, new and refurbished schools through PFI. This guide has been developed as a result of eighteen months work in the field and we believe that its implementation will lead to significant improvements. With time we expect to bring forward further recommendations on other important issues and this will complement this guidance. We hope that we will begin to see PFI projects that can be recognised for design excellence and we believe that this is achievable. We look forward to receiving feedback that can help to further develop our thinking. The PFI process gives the headteacher and teachers who represent the students the opportunity to get what the students really need. Deputy headteacher, Barnhill Community High School, Hillingdon 1.1 The scale of investment The UK now has the largest schools capital investment programme for over thirty years, with central government investing 3.5 billion annually. The investment will result in a large number of schools being modernised, rebuilt or substantially refurbished. Much of this work will be delivered via the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). This is a massive opportunity and its legacy will live with us for the next fifty years or more. At the time of publishing this guide, the PFI process has already resulted in the completion and occupation of 30 schools and an additional 500 schools are in the pipeline, with more to follow. In round terms, about 2 million children over the next 25 years will be educated in this generation of new schools. These buildings will give all of these young people fundamental messages about their environment, and the values that their society holds. What is CABE? CABE is the nation s champion for better places which work better, feel better and are better. CABE is a public body funded mainly by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM). CABE s remit from central government is to positively impact on the quality of new buildings and public spaces being delivered in England s towns and cities. What is the Better Public Building Initiative? Better Public Buildings is a campaign led by the Prime Minister which aims to ensure that the 34.4 billion annual investment in public buildings, (schools, nurseries, hospitals, housing), committed by this government results in high quality buildings. At the outset of the campaign the Prime Minister has demanded a step-change in the quality of public buildings and CABE has been charged with helping to deliver this. As part of the process each government department has prepared an Action Plan outlining how they are going to deliver better public buildings. The Prime Minister s Award for Better Public Buildings is given annually. I am determined that this additional money should be well spent, leaving behind a legacy of high quality buildings that can match the best of what we inherited from the Victorians and other past generations. And I am determined that good design should not be confined to high profile buildings in the big cities: all of the users for public services, wherever they are, should be able to benefit from better design Foreword by the Prime Minster, Tony Blair Better Public Buildings, A proud legacy for the Future, HM Government, For more information go to Box 2 Part of CABE s work is to support and advise client organisations that have received funding to deliver new projects Local Education Authorities delivering schools or a NHS Trust delivering a new hospital, for instance. We also review the design quality of significant projects, work closely with central government departments on their funding programmes, deliver research, run an education programme related to children s awareness of their built environment and a series of campaigns aimed at the general public. For more information go to Box 1 2 3

4 Introduction Above right Below left Owler Brook NI School Jubilee School, Tulse Hill LEA/Client: Sheffield Local Education Authority LEA/Client: London Borough of Lambeth Architect: GHML Architect: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Contractor: Interserve Contractor: Ballast Construction South East Completion date: 2001 Completion Date: 2002 Procurement: PFI PFI Credits: 45.0m (6 schools) Capital Value: 4.5m 1.2 The policy context The thinking about what should be achieved with new and refurbished schools has been developed through the DfES s Schools for the Future: Building Bulletin 95. There have also been a number of initiatives encouraging local education authorities and designers to think afresh about what types of internal and external spaces are wanted in schools to support teachers and pupils, for example Classrooms of the Future and Spaces for Sports and Arts in Primary Schools. DfES is also in the process of reviewing area standards for schools, currently embodied in Building Bulletin 82. The review will provide a new method for calculating how much space should be provided in a school (classrooms, corridors, etc), for the number of pupils that have to be catered for. It is likely to result in an increase in the minimum amount of space needed, and also to apply a more logical method of calculating the space requirements. 1.3 The challenge Combined with the Prime Minister s Better Public Buildings campaign, education policy direction is challenging the quality of schools being delivered. For PFI meeting this challenge will require: the DfES to put in place appropriate policy direction, support and reviewing mechanisms to ensure design quality and, to this end, CABE and DfES are working together clients (LEAs and head teachers) to establish the appropriate budgets, specify and demand quality and innovation and check to see that it is being delivered private sector providers to think about their approach to design quality and to be prepared to be judged on the innovation and quality of the buildings they are offering. On a more positive note, there are examples of good design in PFI schools and they could be the focus, in order to raise aspirations and expectations for design. PFI is no different to other procurement routes in that quality and innovation in design depends on the calibre and competence of the client body to demand the best and ensure the process encourages its delivery. Where PFI does differ is in its complexity. The client therefore needs to be much more clued-up and organised to manage the process, particularly to ensure well-designed buildings as the outcome. In addition, the process of PFI moves away from the typical client-design team relationship, which means the client has less direct design support and needs to be a more autonomous judge of design quality. 1.4 This guide The guide is aimed at the clients and providers of new and refurbished buildings, specifically LEAs (Local Education Authorities), schools and private sector providers involved in PFI projects. It follows the key stages in the PFI process. It is recognised that the readers of the guide will have varying levels of knowledge about the PFI process and, not least, the jargon used. For some the guide will cover very familiar territory and for others it will be new ground. However, it is hoped that it provides a new perspective and insights for all readers on how to deliver design quality through PFI. Middle and overleaf Great Notley Primary School LEA/Client: Essex County Council Architect: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Contractor: Jackson Building Completion date: 1999 Capital Value: 1.25m Below right Whiteley Primary School, Fareham LEA/Client: Hampshire County Council Architect: HCC Architecture and Design Unit Contractor: Ballast (phase 1), Brazier (phase 2) Completion Date: 2001 Capital Value: 3.0m CABE s views of the quality of schools being delivered through PFI have been stated previously and, in the best tradition of end-of-term reports, they can be summarised as showing potential but must try harder. What is important is that the PFI process itself does not detract from the quality of the product: the school building and grounds. For example, for many schools any investment in the buildings they use is very welcome and there can therefore be a tendency for expectations relating to the quality of the new school building or refurbished classrooms to be too low. 4

5 2 What is good design? 2.1 The principles of good design Good design is not primarily a question of style and taste. It involves adhering to a set of time honoured, objective principles that determine whether or not a building works well for all users and the community. Good design is achieved when the following elements are addressed positively: how a building functions, the quality of the building, its environmental efficiency, its contribution to the surrounding context and its attractiveness (see Box 3). Principles of good design Functionality in use: Is the building fit for purpose, or even better, does it use know-how and innovation to provide business and social value? Does it optimise the operational cost of core services and, in particular, the productivity of staff? Build quality: Is the building built on whole life cost principles is it built to last and easy to maintain? Efficiency and sustainability: Is the building designed in a way that it will be completed on (or before) time, to budget and to specification? Is the building environmentally efficient, in terms of where it is located, how it has been constructed and how it will be used? Designing in context: Is the building respectful of its context, strengthening the identity of the neighbourhood in its landscape? The Government s guidance on urban and rural design, By Design states that any new development should accord with the following principles character, continuity and enclosure, quality of public space, ease of movement, legibility, adaptability and, where appropriate, diversity of use. Aesthetic quality: The procurer may have architectural requirements that will form an essential element of the design process. These could include the need for distinguished architecture, or the need for a building to harmonise with other existing buildings. For a more detailed description of how to assess quality of design, CABE s publication, Design Review is available from Box Good design and Best Value Good design is inherently part of Best Value as public sector clients seek to balance quality and cost, rather than merely taking the lowest cost option. This is explored further in the points below. The starting point is that good design adds value. Research from the UK and abroad shows the link between design quality and enhanced education attainment. A summary of the research is given in the CABE publication The Value of Good Design Good design results from a creative process that should lead to simplification and, as a result, savings in whole life costs. It does not consist of using expensive materials for their own sake or of providing lavish areas and volumes The process by which to attain good design also aims to take advantage of innovation, in particular in terms of standardised products and manufacturing processes which can bring cost savings and greater efficiency during the construction process. This efficiency is often achieved through the early involvement of the supply side in the design process (i.e. builders, materials suppliers and manufacturers), which can have a positive impact on the design A good design team will ensure that capital costs are competitive, and that savings can be achieved on running costs Through innovation, it can also give the facility a competitive advantage in attracting both users and staff Good design can also contribute to wider policy objectives, such as those relating to the protection of the environment, without compromising the procurement policy objective of optimum combinations of whole life costs and quality to meet users' requirements. 2.3 How to achieve good design In order to achieve good design, it is necessary to have: an end-user who knows what they want in terms of functional requirements and quality a thorough brief which sets out these requirements a strong competitive process which engages strong bidders providers (builders and managers) who will respond to a brief and rise to the challenge of design quality designers who can engage in a challenging and constructive dialogue with both the public sector procurer, end-users and the supply and manufacturing base a sufficiently robust timetable to achieve a good solution. 7

6 What is good design? 2.4 Good design of schools CABE has prepared a list of key points for good school design (see Box 4). In PFI documentation this list can be used to describe the broader outputs required from bidders, and should be used as a reference point throughout the procurement process. Checklists have an obvious value, but it should be recognised that they do not in themselves lead to good design, which is the result of a combination of skills and inspiration. However, it is recommended that LEAs, in consultation with schools, use this list to establish their key expectations for their PFI projects. It could be used to communicate the design quality objectives in briefing material to bidding consortia and be used as a reference point throughout the procurement process. Clients should also refer to the DfES Schools for the Future: Building Bulletin 95 for much more detailed guidance. 10 key points for a good design of a school 1 Good clear organisation, an easily legible plan, and full accessibility 2 Spaces that are well proportioned, efficient, fit for purpose and meet the needs of the curriculum 3 Circulation that is well organised, and sufficiently generous 4 Good environmental conditions throughout, including appropriate levels of natural light and ventilation 5 Attractiveness in design, comparable to that found in other quality public buildings, to inspire pupils, staff and parents 6 Good use of the site, and public presence as a civic building wherever possible to engender local pride 7 Attractive external spaces with a good relationship to internal spaces and offering appropriate security and a variety of different settings 8 A layout that encourages broad community access and use out of hours, where appropriate 9 Robust materials that are attractive, that will weather and wear well and that are environmentally friendly 10 Flexible design that will facilitate changes in policy and technology and which allows expansion or contraction in the future, where appropriate Box Establishing design standards Throughout the PFI process, there will be various stages at which design quality will be discussed, specified, evaluated and checked. This will relate to things that can be scientifically measured eg the level of daylight in a classroom or more subjective aspects eg the attractiveness of the building. At the outset of the project there are many factors to be considered and many individual views to be taken into account, not least the views and aspirations of the school community. Once established these objectives will be the reference point during the competitive tendering process and, ultimately, should be used to test the success of the building once it is occupied and in use (as part of a post occupancy evaluation). To assist in this process of setting objectives relating to design quality, the Construction Industry Council (CIC), with support from CABE, has developed Design Quality Indicators (DQIs). The indicators are set out on a questionnaire that can be completed by a range of stakeholders. The results of all the completed questionnaires are then evaluated to establish the relative weighting placed on different aspects of design. A DQI Toolkit is already being used by NHS Estates and the CIC model is available for use. Further information is available at Above right John Cabot CTC, Kingswood, Bristol LEA/Client: John Cabot CTC Architect: Feilden Clegg Bradley Contractor: Sir Robert McAlpine Completion date: 1993 Capital Value: 6.5m Middle Stephen Hawking School, Brunton Wharf LEA/Client: London Borough of Tower Hamlets Architect: Haverstock Associates Contractor: Crispin & Borst Completion date: 1996 Capital Value: 2.3m Below left (top and bottom) Balfron High School, West Stirlingshire LEA/Client: Stirling Council Architect: Boswell, Mitchell & Johnston Contractor: Jarvis Completion date: 2001 Procurement: PFI PFI Credits: 15.0m Below right Royal Latin School, Buckingham LEA/Client: Buckinghamshire County Council Architect: Greenhill Jenner Architects Contractor: C Miskin & Sons Ltd Completion date: 1999 Capital Value: 1.25m Overleaf Tanbridge House School, Horsham LEA/Client: West Sussex County Council Architect: architecture plb Contractor: Taylor Woodrow (Southern) Completion date: 1995 Capital Value: 11.0m 8

7 3 Stage One: Scoping the project and appraising the options 3.1 Introduction Prior to embarking on a PFI project, the LEA will need to establish the nature and scale of what is needed. This will be based on a consideration of the need for improvements in existing schools, or the need for new facilities and how much funding is available compared to the funding required. The LEA s Asset Management Plan (AMP) will inform much of this early thinking. The AMP will include a review of the LEA s stock of school buildings in terms of condition, suitability and sufficiency needs. The local Education Development Plan (EDP) should also set out the education need. This process is likely to set the shape and broad parameters for the PFI project. This process will have taken place prior to the LEA gaining approval for any PFI credits from DfES. Much of this early work will inform the preparation of the subsequent expression of interest to DfES for the PFI project (see section 3.2). As with any building project, the early stages are vital as most value can be added at the start of the procurement process. In PFI the aspiration for quality needs to be established at the outset and followed through all subsequent stages of the process. 3.2 Bidding for provisional approval of PFI credits The information that LEAs are required to submit to DfES to gain a provisional allocation of PFI credits is relatively limited. The information submitted is referred to as an expression of interest. This document presents the case for funding and is normally no more than 12 pages long with appendices. Previously LEAs had to prepare an Outline Business Case at this early stage. In the current system, once an LEA has been given provisional approval, based on the expression of interest, they are then asked to prepare their Outline Business Case (OBC). The expression of interest is similar to the preparation of the stage referred to as Strategic Outline Case (SOC) in PFI jargon. The setting of objectives is vitally important as the scale and duration of the PFI competitive process is lengthy and committing to a project without clear objectives is a recipe for delay, changes, disillusionment and potential project failure. Providing sufficient time and resources for strategic thinking will also pay dividends in the long run. It becomes increasingly difficult to make strategic changes to requirements after the confirmation of PFI credits by the DfES or the approval of the Outline Business Case (OBC). There is a need to get organised and use the time before PFI credits are allocated. The following sections outline some of the fundamental issues to be addressed at this stage. 3.3 Agree objectives and establish benchmarks An informed client is critical to the success of any project. Client LEAs should: Visit LEAs that have completed a PFI project and see other well-designed schools Judge the results and find out what the LEA would now improve in their new schools or in the process Study the limitations of the proposed sites and consult the wider community to inform this process Consider how their project might improve on other completed projects and set new best practice Read around the subject and create a reference library for the project. These documents plus selected visits should help the project team establish desirable and nondesirable elements for the schools. The list of publications at the back of this report should be a good starting point. The client should summarise objectives and establish some benchmarks of quality, noting what is essential and what will be unacceptable in the schools being developed. This will be an invaluable base for the brief and the evaluation of schemes put forward during the competitive process. This early stage is an opportune time to: set and test objectives establish the potential funding from DfES, using the PFI Toolkit supplied by DfES, and test the budget test the benefits that PFI could bring in comparison to a more traditional procurement (through the preparation of a Public Sector Comparator (PSC)) map out the existing skills and resources available to manage the process and the support and inputs that will required to be an effective client have early discussions and input from the wider community. 11

8 Stage One: Scoping the project and appraising the options 3.4 Assess in-house skills and consider outside consultants Before any client body undertakes initial analysis of a building programme, they need to test their own capacity and skills base and, where required, recruit the necessary skills. Experience to date suggests that LEAs tend to take on external financial and legal advice but are often seriously under-represented by building professionals, particularly those who can advise on design quality. If an LEA does not have this expertise, it will be more difficult to manage the competitive process and ensure that buildings of the appropriate quality result. It is very important that the client obtains appropriate design advice right at the start of the process; this is likely to include people who can advise on architecture and service engineering. To assist in securing better design, it is suggested that LEAs identify and properly resource people to fulfil the roles of design champion and design advisor. A design champion LEAs should consider appointing a design champion, preferably a senior elected member or a senior officer within the authority. The design champion should have direct access to the political decision making process. Their remit is to promote design issues within the context of the authority s wider policies on design, creativity, inclusion and urban regeneration. LEAs need to identify this individual from the start of the process and they should be trusted and empowered to bring up issues regarding design throughout the process. This role is not for status but for action. If the appropriate skills do not exist within the client organisation, it may be necessary to appoint someone to fulfil this role. An internal person is however much preferred as they have the potential to have a long-term impact on the LEA s strategic thinking. Their job will be to: Provide leadership, to generate enthusiasm for and commitment to design quality and provide a point of contact for external bodies Promote the benefits of good design and negotiate the necessary funding to achieve it Co-ordinate effort, promoting cooperation and joint action across an organisation Ensure the process promotes the delivery of quality and innovation and has the authority to highlight when design quality is being compromised to an unacceptable level. For more information on this role, see the CABE publication Better Civic Buildings and Spaces available at A design advisor A strong and expert executive client team is of fundamental importance in achieving quality. The decision makers and all consultees should be mapped out early and a clear hierarchy, accepted by all stakeholders, needs to be determined as to how decisions will be made. It is recommended that the client establishes whether the key decision makers have the skills to judge quality. PFI changes the traditional relationship of support between client and design team, with the design team working for the private sector provider and not the end-user or client. Most LEAs will benefit significantly from the appointment of a design advisor, either someone who is in-house or a consultant. They will assist the LEA and fulfil a more independent role as judge of design quality. The advisor should be an experienced professional, most likely an architect, able to provide expert advice on the quality of schemes that are being put forward. The client advisor, as a member of the client team and jointly with the client, will: Consult stakeholders and assist in identifying key design issues Promote awareness of design quality among stakeholders through visits to other projects, displays, reference material etc Advise on the process from the point of view of achieving design quality Assist with initial feasibilities and option appraisal. This work may be done by others, in which case the design advisor s role would be to manage this process Identify key issues for inclusion in the output specification, Advise on assessment criteria and weightings Advise the client on bidders proposals Be aware of best practice in procurement via the principles of Rethinking Construction. Finally, it may be appropriate to retain the design advisor until the completion of the project, to ensure that the output specification and reference models are being met at all stages. However, in the PFI process the client does not have the same instructing role as in traditional procurement so once the Preferred Bidder is appointed the design advisor would be checking the Preferred Bidder s information. Box Determine the optimum size of the PFI programme In areas where accommodation problems are affecting many existing schools, there will be a desire to address the problems rapidly and simultaneously. This results in LEAs putting together packages of schools as part of the PFI programme. These packages or grouped schools are generally put together for economy and ease of procurement or for educational/facilities management reasons. The number of schools being put forward by LEAs into packages is increasing. The average package is around 9 schools, but there are also LEAs who are putting forward packages of over 50 schools. Packages can also include different types of school: secondary, primary and nursery, and different scales of investment from refurbishment or extensions to new build. LEAs need to think carefully about the impact of grouping schools, for example on the amount of work required up front and during the negotiation process. Delivering PFI projects that involve multiple buildings, locations, communities, built contexts and user groups obviously presents particular issues in the PFI tendering process. The amount of work required by LEAs in preparing for the PFI tendering process will increase with the number of schools in the package. The LEA will have to pay particular attention to how they communicate their expectations on design quality. In considering the number of schools to be included in a package, LEAs should therefore consider: the nature and level of detail that should be included in any specifications for individual schools, in order to ensure appropriate design quality and innovation for the individual schools the design time that consortia will have to put into the process to ensure design quality is not jeopardised on individual projects the consultation that is possible with the school s end users i.e. teachers and pupils the resources that the LEA will have to put into the preparation of the OBC and ITN document to ensure design quality. Therefore the number of schools that LEAs include in proposed PFI projects, and the implications, should be carefully considered. In addition, LEAs may want to consider having a rolling programme, with projects being undertaken on a sequential basis. This could lead to greater attention being given to individual projects from both clients, the PFI bidders and their designers, and provide the opportunity to learn from earlier projects and inform subsequent schemes. If LEAs would like to consider this possibility they should discuss it with DfES. When setting out the timetable for the PFI prioritisation process, it is essential that enough time is given to ensuring that bidding consortia and their design teams develop designs, test them and consult with end users. LEAs should ensure that the appropriate attention has been paid to each individual project and this may be greatly assisted by the appointment of more than one architect by the consortia. This can help reflect the diversity that can occur between the schools that make up the package repairs to existing buildings, new build or other special spaces like sport facilities and also create manageable workloads for the professionals involved so that design does not get skimped and quality suffer. The subdivision of the design work in this way could also open the PFI market to smaller design firms, which in turn would encourage more innovative practice. 3.6 Establish the right budget It is essential that the PFI/PPP procurement competition be underpinned by realistic affordability assumptions. As has been seen in the past, good design can be sacrificed as bidders desperately seek to fit their costs within a budget that was unrealistic in terms of the initial specifications. Treasury Taskforce Technical Guidance Note 7: How to achieve design quality in PFI/PPP projects. The funding from DfES for the PFI project is set using the PFI Toolkit provided by DfES. The Toolkit s format determines the PFI credits that can be allocated by DfES to an LEA. Often LEAs will make contributions to the cost of the project from other sources, over and above PFI credits, to cover the costs of preparatory work for the PFI tendering process and, potentially, to fund the later stages of service delivery. LEAs should note that the demand for PFI credits is high, and therefore the prioritisation process may lead to delays or unfulfilled expectations. It is therefore important for LEAs to consider carefully the amount of work that should be done in advance of DfES confirming that PFI credits are available. Box

9 Stage One: Scoping the project and appraising the options 4 Stage Two: Brief development and early design work As with any funding application, it will be important for the client to test the resulting budget to ensure that it is sufficient to enable the scale and quality of buildings required. There are some concerns that budgets currently being applied to PFI projects are not sufficient to ensure design quality and that they have not been robustly tested. The LEA should test budgets through the preparation of site-specific feasibility studies and design option appraisals. There is also a risk that budgets might be stretched during the course of the PFI process, as LEAs increase the specification, but not the budget, or bidders offer more facilities (eg an extra sports hall) to the detriment of the overall quality of the buildings. There is the potential for LEAs to consider bolstering the funding available from PFI credits through other sources, for example the direct formulaic funding given to LEAs through the Asset Management Plan (AMP) process. Whatever sources of funding are used, it is important that LEAs are clear about the level of funds available for the project from the outset. 3.7 Test the value for money of PFI The Public Sector Comparator (PSC) is an important test for the project budget. The PSC is a financial model prepared by the client that establishes how much it would cost to supply the buildings and services being specified through a non-pfi procurement route. The project can only go ahead if the PSC demonstrates that the PFI process presents better value for money than the PSC. The PSC is normally prepared as part of the Outline Business Case, but it can impact on the budget setting process. In particular, there are concerns that there can be an over-simplistic approach to setting the PSC with a reliance on desktop exercises, involving hypothetical financial modelling. Also, that the PSC is based on historic figures, meaning that innovation is hampered by a budget constructed from an average of the past, rather than the needs and aspirations of the future. There is therefore a risk that, in setting the PSC, little account is taken of the impact of design quality on issues of environmental sustainability or social benefits. This is recognised in the Treasury s guidelines as set out in OGC PFI Policy Statement No. 2, other factors, notably risk transfer, service quality and wider policy objectives are less easy to quantify and may not be fully reflected in the comparator. Therefore, to make PFI work at its best, it is fundamental that the client puts a value on the added benefits of design quality. This includes areas where there is a direct economic impact on a school, for example staff recruitment and retention and community use. Budgets should also factor in and promote the social value of design, such as the impact on educational achievement and civic pride. 3.8 Manage the programme PFI as a form of procurement has been successful in delivering more projects on time and to budget than conventional procurement. However, the preparatory and bidding stages of the process can currently extend over 2 years and the process will therefore require significant commitment and resources from the client, bidders and end users. There are initiatives underway to help and support LEAs during these early stages of the process, for example 4ps work with the LEA PFI Networks. There is now also standard documentation, and support is provided by CABE and DfES through Project Enabling Teams (PET). It is difficult to establish a standard timetable for PFI projects, due to variations in project complexity and size. It is therefore strongly recommended that LEAs take time to develop a plan of work at the earliest stage to map out the phases of PFI procurement and identify against each phase the opportunities where design can be influenced. This programme will need to ensure that sufficient time is given to enable the client to prepare the specification and other reference material, and for the consortia s design teams to have sufficient time for design. This will require LEAs to consider how to tackle the fact that the design process within PFI often starts very late, is progressed in a stop-start manner and is insufficient. This can present problems for the design practices engaged by consortia. Design is an iterative process and it is essential that sufficient time is allowed to ensure a proper design process. The programme should also reflect how much time the LEA will require to get information ready, carry out testing and bring in stakeholders. It is often at the design stage that most can be done to maximise value National Audit Office, Modernising Construction, Introduction The Outline Business Case (OBC) is when the client consolidates the brief and business case. OBC is the document that is submitted to the DfES and forms the basis on which it approves PFI Credits. Once approved by DfES, the OBC goes to the Project Review Group (PRG), a crossdepartmental body, for formal approval. It is essential that client objectives are clearly defined in order to obtain responses from providers that reach an acceptable threshold in design terms but also enable the responses to be readily compared. It is generally accepted within PFI that initial design work is needed to inform the brief, to test options and to identify risks. This section therefore emphasises the value of doing design work early in the process and defines the type and scope of design work required. The following sections presume that the groundwork recommended during the expression of interest (or SOC) has already been undertaken (see section 3.2). 4.2 Developing the brief and specification A clear design brief is essential regardless of procurement method, and PFI is no exception. The school s end users and stakeholders will not get what they want unless their requirements are identified and clearly set out. This is a normal part of any school design development process but becomes absolutely critical in PFI, due to the nature of the PFI bidding process and the fact the design approach the consortia adopt at the earliest stages in the bidding process can often remain relatively fixed. Ensuring that the consortium s designers have sufficient dialogue with the end users can also present a particular challenge, which can be affected by the number of schools within the PFI package. The development of the brief involves event stages. It begins with an outline brief at expression of interest (or SOC) stage. This is developed by the use of feasibility studies and option appraisals that test the budget and feed into the OBC. The brief should be extensive and cover context, access, room sizes, dimensions, materials, fixtures, fittings, services etc. Some LEAs are choosing to specify the furniture, fittings and equipment (FF&E), following experience of variable quality in the early PFI schemes, and this option should be considered. Typical contents for an initial brief The following list provides some headings for the contents of a PFI design brief, although the list is not necessarily exhaustive. The client understanding or aspirations in relation to these issues can be expanded in feasibility work. 1 Aspirations and project objectives including specific design aspirations 2 The client team, related decision-making structure and involvement of other stakeholders 3 Site information possibly including surveys 4 The functional content and key relationships in the buildings 5 The possible changes in functional requirements of the building over time and need for flexibility 6 The environmental qualities of the building mechanical and electrical engineering aspects 7 Structural issues with the site and existing or new buildings structural engineering aspects 8 Budget constraints (including furniture, fittings and equipment (FF&E) 9 Timetable for delivering the project programme and project management 10 Specialist inputs lighting, acoustics, catering 11 Statutory authorities eg local planning authority requirements 12 Aspirations in relation to sustainability eg green travel plans and energy efficiency 13 The opportunities for the integration of the design and construction process and other technical innovation embodied in the principles of Rethinking Construction Box 7 It is also preferable at this stage to anticipate and prepare for the next PFI stage, which will require a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ), Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM) and Output Specification (OS). Ultimately, it will be the quality of the Output Specification that will determine the quality of the consortium s response. The quality of Output Specifications for schools is currently very variable in terms of design requirements and aspirations. Helpful guidance exists in the 4ps publication Output Specifications for PFI Projects: A 4ps guide for schools available from Managing risk is key to PFI, so it is recommended that LEAs compile the hard and soft facts about their existing buildings and sites before going to the market. With any project there will be risks associated with the specifics of each site and, unless these have been identified in advance, they could attract a cost premium during the bidding

10 Stage Two: Brief development and early design work The hard issues include a range of very specific information like a digital survey (to include levels and trees), photographs, site ownership and restrictive covenants, boundary conditions (party walls, rights of light), site access issues and the site's development history. The softer issues (regeneration considerations, preferred access by the community, distant views, urban design strategy) may take longer to assess and communicate but can be teased out using a feasibility study. Issues to think about when preparing the brief The brief will form the basis for the preparation of the Output Specification, which (after the PQQ) is a key signal of quality to bidding consortia The brief should identify all those areas where the design advisors and the client want to set standards of performance, appearance and design quality or specify particular items which must be provided The use of drawings and photographs in the specification, as well as words, should be encouraged and it should be anticipated that preliminary design work undertaken on behalf of the client will be communicated to potential service providers. Client-provided drawings should have accompanying disclaimers to avoid any retained risk on design All disciplines and all stakeholders will need to contribute to this document The brief is an internal document which is used to generate the Output Specification, which will become a contractual document If it is not complete, is unclear or does not represent the client s wishes, then there will be problems and the school will lose out Decisions can be informed by discussions with other LEAs to determine the items that may have been overlooked There is valuable feedback available through 4ps and from the national network meetings of LEAs in previous and current rounds. Box The importance of initial design work There are various outputs relating to the client s initial thinking about design, which are likely to be prepared sequentially: Early feasibility studies, which are essential Survey work Development and planning brief Exemplar projects (see section 4.4). All clients should undertake some initial design work as early as possible within the process. The lack of investment in initial design to test budgets and inform the Output Specification is the most common risk to quality of design in schools. A well-developed brief, with community consensus, is essential to better design, and will encourage rather than restrict the quality and innovation of bidding consortia later down the line. The typical cost of undertaking initial work will be in the range of half of one per cent of the project cost for a developed design or typically on a scale of 20,000 to 60,000 for a secondary school (and less for a primary school). The work could vary from establishing general urban design principles for the site to a more developed reference scheme for key areas of the school. This investment will significantly improve the client s capacity, the overall delivery of the project and the quality of the final output. The sections below highlight some of the initial work that LEAs should be commissioning. A feasibility study should be undertaken for all projects to cover the main issues such as siting, massing and access, and to test the brief for each site. Further design work can also be commissioned (see section 4.4). The building users (teachers, children and community) should be consulted on aspects of the design work. This work will provide a useful learning curve for clients new to the PFI process. Once the initial work has been undertaken it is important that clients use it to test their assumptions about the budget and the scale of the PFI programme, to ensure that the scheme is deliverable to the appropriate quality. The LEA should consider commissioning survey work to inform the brief and to avoid wastage with individual consortia otherwise commissioning replica work. It will be important to ensure that the consortia take on the risk of using the outputs from surveys. This work will include the following: Topographical survey required for planning application preparation Geotechnical survey to achieve optimum risk transfer. If the location of the building on a site is open then a desktop study should suffice. Desktop archaeological survey to achieve optimum risk transfer Traffic studies to determine access Existing landscape and ecological survey Measured survey of buildings to be retained Deleterious materials survey Initial work should be undertaken to feed into a development and planning brief for the individual sites. This should include the following: Sustainability brief (eg travel, energy usage, building material and component selection) Strategic issues development plan (for resolving sequence of thought eg access, decant, phasing etc.) Planning guidance brief prepared by the Planning Authority. (An outline planning consent for feasibility/reference schemes is an alternative.) The Architect s Plan of Work, RIBA Publications, is a useful guide to any client embarking on design work. Box 9 provides a brief summary of the scope of work in initial design stages. Initial design work: understanding key stages The RIBA has identified key Work Stages for the process of the design, construction and commissioning of a building. Typically the Stages run from A to M, the early Stages A C are as follows: RIBA Stage A: Appraisal Identification of client s requirements and of possible constraints on development. Preparation of studies or options to enable the client to decide whether to proceed and to select the probable procurement method. RIBA Stage B: Strategic Briefing Preparation of strategic brief by or on behalf of the client confirming key requirements and constraints. Identification of procedures, organisational structure and range of consultants to be engaged for the project. RIBA Stage C: Outline Proposals Commence development of strategic brief into full project brief. Preparation of Outline Proposals by the whole design team and estimate of cost. Details developed generally sufficient to submit Outline Planning Application. The 4ps document Achieving quality in local authority PFI building projects provides a useful comparison of the RIBA Work Stages and the PFI process. Box Options for further design work For some projects there will be advantages in extending the initial design work beyond feasibility studies (see section 4.3). This will entail the development of what is referred to as exemplar designs or projects. The exemplar typically extends the design development to part way through or to the completion of RIBA Stage C, Outline Design. It establishes a co-ordinated layout for the development, or the design of a specific part of a school for instance, a new science wing or sports hall. The exemplar design work which defines a particular solution, is also occasionally called a reference project. This can cause some confusion, as in early PFI texts the reference project relates to work done to inform the Public Sector Comparator (PSC), which was primarily financial modelling. However, PFI clients, particularly in hospitals, are increasingly extending the amount of work carried out on design in the early stages. There are instances were this work is called a reference project. They extend to establishing a scheme which is based on the output specification and can be used to test the budget. Advantages and disadvantages of this approach are set out in Box 10. The extent and depth of further design work that should be undertaken will depend on circumstances and the clients objectives. However, the design work is about setting standards. It is not about forming a prescriptive design, but about establishing a baseline for innovation and design quality, for bidders to improve upon. Early design work does not mean that there will be a transfer of risk back to the client. It may be preferable to prepare exemplar designs (or reference projects) for distinct areas in a school. This might be where the brief needs to be explored and explained in more detail (eg classroom size and layout), where particular design ideas are required to be pursued (eg circulation spaces, day lighting), and where building forms and materials need to be more prescriptive than can be achieved solely by the specification. This may be most appropriate in large packaged or grouped schools where the brief and the design issues are similar across a number of schools eg the addition of classrooms to primary or secondary schools affected by closure of middle schools under an Age of Transfer programme. With any design work, it is worth including a stage of postdesign analysis to extract the general issues, which are critical in terms of relationships, site access or details. This will help to inform the brief, which should be made available to bidding consortia

11 Stage Two: Brief development and early design work 4.5 Selecting designers for initial work LEAs should ensure that the best possible design firms are appointed to do the initial design work as this sets the standard for the schools. Design teams should be carefully chosen for their experience and reputation for quality, in addition to an ability to engage the school and wider community, as poor initial design could be unhelpful or even negative. Where in-house designers exist their involvement in this part of the process should be considered. But it is recognised that the capacity and experience of many in-house teams varies widely and in many instances it will be appropriate to get additional support. If this issue is considered early enough, it is possible to go to a wider market for the selection of design teams by OJEC advertisement and select them through a competitive process. The LEA design advisor can assist in this process. Alternatively, it is possible to select from a prepared shortlist via a competitive interview process, with the assistance of a design advisor. Selection criteria and weightings should be defined in advance and issued to the short-listed teams before interview. The client may choose to define the scope of this design exercise very precisely, setting out deliverables and programme of consultations so that the design teams can offer a price tender. Defining the scope requires some skill as a client so an alternative is to select on the basis of a fixed fee against which teams compete and they define the level of service. Because the design team used for this stage is unlikely to be the design team that sees the project through to completion as part of the winning consortium, it is recommended that they are offered some clear incentives. The selection process should be documented and feedback provided, both critical and encouraging, to all participants so that firms are willing to engage with other LEAs later on. 4.6 Completion of the Outline Business Case Initial design work should inform the Outline Business Case and help the client state their design expectations. These can be backed up with specific selection criteria for the short-listing of consortia. For instance, the client can include particular expectations such as the quality of the design team being offered by the consortia and the weightings this will be given. The LEAs design adviser should assist with the development of specific sections for the OBC. At this early stage it would also be useful to establish thresholds that must be achieved by all short listed consortia, relating to issues of design quality. The OBC should include statements setting out expectations in relation to design quality, for example: Our objective is to achieve the highest possible standards of building design that will create schools that provide inspiration for pupils, staff and parents over the long term, and encourage the highest possible standards of educational achievement Each consortium will be expected to engage a design team of the highest possible calibre, (or more than one design team depending on size of project) who should have a track record in design excellence preferably in education buildings in general and schools in particular We wish to encourage innovation in design and detailing and will favour proposals that propose how this might be achieved. Above (left and right) Debden Park High School LEA/Client: Essex Local Education Authority Architect: ACP Contractor: Jarvis Completion date: 2001 Procurement: PFI PFI Credits: 14.14m Below Hoddern Junior School, Peacehaven LEA/Client: East Sussex County Council Architect: architecture plb Contractor: HBG Ltd Completion date: 2001 Procurement: PFI PFI Credits: 18.0m (2 schools) Page 21 Peacehaven Community School, Peacehaven LEA/Client: East Sussex County Council Architect: architecture plb Contractor: HBG Ltd Completion date: 2001 Procurement: PFI PFI Credits: 18.0m (2 schools) Pros and cons of undertaking further design work Advantages The development of a reference scheme will provide an invaluable learning curve for client bodies new to commissioning a school territory that is typically completely new to many of the participants. This process will clarify the expectations of the client and get consensus about the brief among key stakeholders A reference scheme for some building types within a grouped school or for specific parts of buildings will mean that the brief is developed for the grouped school as a whole The process can avoid wasting resources in the later stages of the process The reference scheme will explore particular issues relating to the site and establish any particular aspects that may need to be dealt with at an early stage, (for example, access or boundary issues) The scheme will provide a basis for checking the budget, and avoid initial cost assumptions that can blight projects from the outset A well-developed reference scheme will provide a benchmark for quality, which will be valuable in assessing providers' bids The reference scheme could be used towards an Outline Planning application It also has potential advantages for bidders: reducing design changes in later stages, setting a level playing field for competition and reducing expensive survey work Disadvantages Up-front costs will be incurred The expectations of the stakeholders will need to be carefully managed so that they remain open to different design responses by consortia and to ensure that they have realistic expectations Need to avoid confusion about the role of the designers and their designs in the overall PFI process, to avoid architects and stakeholders becoming too wedded to a particular solution There is some concern that initial design work inhibits innovation by consortia, although in reality it is likely to provide them with a useful benchmark of the quality expected, therefore creating greater certainty in the bidding process and providing a standard against which to judge their design and encourage innovation. Box 10 18

12 5 StageThree: OJEC and the Output Specification 5.1 Introduction Once PRG approval has been given and credits confirmed by DfES, LEAs can prepare material to put out to the market, against which consortia will bid. Assuming initial design work has been done, the LEA will be well placed to make clear signals that design quality will be given a high emphasis in the selection of the successful bidder. At this stage the LEA will be preparing for and developing the OJEC notice, Pre-Qualification Questionnaire, Preliminary Information Memorandum, Output Specification and preparing for open day. 5.2 Outline planning application The submission for outline planning consent is a key milestone for the initial design work undertaken. The client needs to be aware that full planning approval will require more detailed design proposals that will not emerge until later in the process and that these will be more extensively scrutinised than the outline application. This scrutiny can be from statutory authorities, statutory consultees, the wider community or local interest groups. In addition, CABE s Design Review Committee (as a non-statutory consultee) has requested all Local Authority Planning departments to refer a selection of PFI schools to them for review before a planning application is submitted. The feedback of this committee will only be made public when a detailed application is lodged. 5.3 Consultations It is very important that right from the beginning of a project, as part of developing the OBC and reference schemes, there is proper consultation with the staff, pupils and the wider community and that this is well managed. In addition, there needs to be consultation with other public sector and voluntary sector groups in the area to explore the potential of integrating related public services on to one site, such as a nursery or library. This is particularly important given the increasing use of schools out of hours. Consultation can be very time consuming when working with several teams during the bidding process. For these reasons, the brief has to be explicit and the design advisor has to ensure that all elements have been clearly explained and understood by all parties. There will be little opportunity to change elements later in the process. If the LEA needs particular help to get the most out of the design consultation process, then the organisation School Works offers specific and tailored advice and assistance. 5.4 Output Specification The most important factor in the selection of consortia and achieving high quality design is that the LEA, as the client, knows exactly what it wants and that this is clearly stated in the output specification. The design advisors should obtain copies of the documentation prepared by others and improve on the contents and format, rather than starting from scratch. In addition, initial design proposals can be used to give a lead to the bidders, obtain agreement with the users and publicise the project s vision. Must not haves for schools From visits to other schools at the earliest stages of preparing for PFI, LEAs may have certain arrangements or details in mind, which they would not wish to repeat in their schools. If this is the case, it is essential that this is stated clearly within the project documentation. The following are some prompts of issues that LEAs may wish to consider: Teaching and circulation areas that do not make the most of opportunities for natural light Poor ventilation Centralised control only for ventilation, glare and light levels (i.e. reasonable local control required) Corridors which are institutional in design with little interest, are narrow and fully enclosed with no natural light Outdoor spaces that are leftover, unplanned and have little function and which are not overlooked by internal spaces or have little access to them Uncoordinated services a plethora of conduits, alarm boxes, fire hydrants and emergency notices External spaces between wings that are less than 10m wide Thresholds that are not level Drainage that is not co-ordinated with openings and walls. Poor acoustics. Box Refining the programme The programme developed at earlier stages should now be updated to reflect more detailed issues that have emerged, including outline planning. This refined programme will then become the basis on which consortia will bid. 20

13 5 Stage 3: OJEC & the Output Specification It is important to stress the need for sufficient time for design within the overall programme and adequate time to set up a series of design discussions between bidding design teams and schools. There have been some reports of highly compressed time scales imposed on the design teams and various cited instances of schools going into construction with designs not properly worked up. This will inevitably lead to compromises, waste and poorer quality over the longer term. 5.6 Going to OJEC The advertising of an OJEC (Official Journal of European Communities) notice for consortia is a key milestone in the PFI process. OJEC procurement rules encourage criteria for aesthetic and functional characteristics so the LEA should define clearly the criteria for selection so the bidders are left in no doubt. The notice should include statements about the LEAs design expectations as outlined in their OBC. If relevant, minimum thresholds should be specified and expectations regarding design teams put forward by consortia. An example of the issues that bidders should be asked to address and against which criteria should be set include: Evidence of the consortia and design teams experience of designing schools A commitment to retain the consultant team throughout the process The structure of the consortia and in particular the integration of design, construction and facilities management, to encourage investment in long lasting materials and energy efficiency. The importance that is attached to design, and the issues highlighted above, must also be reflected in the weightings and statements included in subsequent documentation for example the PQQ and PIM. Above left Jersey Girls College, St Saviours LEA/Client: States of Jersey Education Department Architect: architecture plb Contractor: Charles le Quesne Completion date: 1999 Capital Value: 8.3m Above right Kingswood Day School, Bath LEA/Client: Kingswood Day School Architect: Feilden Clegg Bradley Contractor: PRC Construction Completion date: 1995 Capital Value: 1.2m Middle The Hertfordshire & Essex High School, Bishop s Stortford LEA/Client: The Hertfordshire & Essex High School Architect: Hawkins\Brown Contractor: Sindall Construction Ltd / Ekins & Co Completion date: 2001 Capital Value: 2.5m Below Haute Vallee School, St Helier LEA/Client: States of Jersey Education Department Architect: architecture plb Contractor: Charles le Quesne Completion date: 1998 Capital Value: 14.0m Overleaf Clifton Junior School LEA/Client: Birmingham Local Education Authority Architect: Abbey Holford Rowe Contractor: Galifords FM Completion date: 2001 Procurement: PFI PFI Credits: 50.6m (10 schools) 22

14 6 Stage Four: Negotiations 6.1 Introduction Following the return of OJEC responses or expressions of interest by consortia, some forms of PFI include a stage called ISOP, (Invitation to Submit Outline Proposals), during which the client requests the long-listed bidders to submit a statement of design approach or drawn outline proposals. However, this stage is not currently being used in schools procurement. Therefore, for most schools PFI projects the LEA will select consortia and progress directly to the ITN stage (Invitation to Negotiate) at which point the consortia will have been short listed down to 3 4. It is recommended practice to issue draft ITN documentation for feedback and modification. Intense negotiations follow before reaching Preferred Bidder stage. 6.2 Establishing weighted selection criteria to recognise design quality It is important to establish criteria for judging design before inviting submissions. They should therefore be established early in the PFI process and the criteria, together with their weightings, should be published to signal commitment to design. It is essential that design quality be given substantial weighting and a suggestion for appropriate weightings could be as follows: Financial, Legal and Commercial: 30 to 35% Facilities Management: 30 to 35% Construction and Design: 30 to 35% These weightings reflect the increasing, and welcomed, standardisation that is now becoming the norm in the areas of finance, legal and facilities management. It should also be recognised that there will be some criteria which, if not met, will be show stoppers in so far that if consortia do not meet a minimum standard, they could be eliminated. As far as is possible LEAs should set minimum standards which consortia should achieve. When evaluating proposals, the inclusion of desirable project elements, aimed at encouraging innovation and design quality, should be considered carefully. Also LEAs should avoid being distracted by the offer of additional facilities or potentially a replacement school, which were not part of their original expectation. This could stretch the budget to the detriment of the overall design quality and might turn out to be a false economy. 6.3 Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) The Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) and accompanying Prior Information Memorandum (PIM), more commonly referred to as the market brief, provide the LEA with the opportunity to supplement, but not alter, the conditions of the OJEC notice. More explicit information can be included about objectives, selection criteria and weightings, expectations for design quality, the teams qualification and anticipated management of the consultation process. A rigorous approach to this part of the process helps ensure that consortia are selected in an appropriate manner and not on the basis of limited information, and that the process ensures the consortia and their design teams are fully scrutinised. 6.4 Invitations to Submit Outline Proposals (ISOP) The ISOP stage is not generally used in PFI schools projects, but for completeness some general guidance is provided here. The more information that is provided to the bidders at this stage, the better informed will be their responses and, in turn, this will help the client in its decision-making. Although the PFI procedure allows for Invitations to Submit Outline Proposals (ISOP) to include a request for a design statement or sketch design proposals to assist in short listing, it seems to be the general practice for schools that short-listing is carried out by an interview process alone, without design proposals being seen. To date, design is rarely discussed at these interviews and is therefore sidelined at what is a key selection stage. It is therefore recommended that LEAs issue a draft brief to the bidders at this stage and invite responses at the interview. There will be specific issues that the brief and initial design work will bring out which may be treated as issues for response. However, the design work that is requested at this stage should be limited and bidders should be asked about their approach, rather than design solutions, to issues such as daylight, circulation, materials, etc. This approach needs to be managed well to avoid substantial or wasted work. The consortia can respond by way of reference to the existing work of their design teams or with specific responses to the site or the brief with thumbnail sketches. The client will therefore need to be able to assess design responses, which is where their initial design work will help. LEAs are also obliged to respect the confidentiality of bidding teams in this competitive process. The assistance of the design advisor will be invaluable here to promote quality while retaining probity. 25

15 Stage Four: Negotiations 6.5 Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) It is recommended that the number of teams entering the ITN stage should be no greater than 4 and preferably 3. The short listing process should eliminate consortia and this will need to be properly documented and in line with criteria stated in OJEC/PQQ. The Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) will then be issued to the remaining bidders. It is critical that the client body communicates to the bidding consortia that design will be of paramount importance in the evaluation of tenders and that this will be in the context of applying principles of Best Value, i.e. combining quality and cost. The ITN documentation represents a substantial body of work by LEAs, which can benefit from being developed early and consolidated through an iterative process. Typically, this covers details under the following headings: Information on the Invitation to Negotiate including evaluation criteria and procedures Output specification outlining requirements relating to design and facilities management Draft Contracts. On the basis of this detailed information submitted by consortia, intense negotiations begin. This represents a significant investment by consortia and the level of risk will be reflected in their investment of time. The number of consortia undertaking abortive work should be reduced both by restricting the number of teams to a reasonable minimum at each stage and by early appointments. This results in more meaningful and competitive negotiations. It is also useful to outline at the beginning what material will be required for the final assessment of the Preferred Bidder. The box below outlines some suggestions for this in respect of assessment of design. Suggested deliverables by consortia at ITN stage Consortia should provide the following on no more than 10 x A1 sheets or boards: A full set of plans, elevations and sections of the proposal design at a scale of 1:200 A site plan, which must include the surrounding context at a scale of 1:500. This should indicate levels, trees, all external sport facilities, parking, habitat areas, the landscape strategy, materials and level changes A selection of artist s impressions/computer perspectives providing accurate, coloured 3-Dimensional representations of the designs from both the outside and inside or a model at a scale of 1:200 or 1:250 Concept diagrams Services strategy A large-scale part elevation describing materials at a scale of 1:50 Materials/image/mood boards Details of typical and special classrooms indicating daylighting, acoustic performance and sound transference calculations, service integration, typical finishes, etc Details of catering facilities (including servery areas plus details of how number of meals will be managed in the available time) Zoom-in of any areas which reflect innovative design. They should also provide a specification, indicating finishes throughout and an A3 design report, which sets out the design strategy for the building, covering planning and aesthetic issues, the internal layout services flexibility and the form of construction. This report should include the approach to sustainability and the principles of the Rethinking Construction initiative. Box Expert assessment Appraising design proposals is not easy. It is very important that the client team includes the appropriate skills to assist with this process and to advise teachers, governors etc. This is the continued role of the LEA design advisor and the DfES / CABE Project Enabling Team (PET). It is recognised that design, and associated facilities management, can be a significant variable. However, rather than weighting it lower because of this, with sufficient skill, quality can be objectively assessed. The use of Design Quality Indicators and design advisors will assist. 6.7 Management of consultations Most LEAs seek to involve schools and particularly head teachers in the negotiations with the consortia. This sometimes happens only at the later stages of the PFI process. However, this engagement would ideally occur much earlier. Otherwise there is a risk of changes occurring to the brief, which is wasteful for the LEA and the consortia. It is typical in all procurement routes to have key sign-offs to consolidate the brief and the design before progressing to the next loop of the iterative process of design. This means that the layouts are frozen before detailed design, so that design teams can focus on refining the detailing and co-ordination, in sufficient time before construction begins. The practice seen with PFI schools has sometimes been weakened as the negotiation period has been used to consolidate, and often change, a sketchy brief. During ITN the bidding consortia may meet with stakeholders to discuss their proposals. The design advisor can help by making sure that stakeholders have contributed to the output specification. This is important as the ability to positively address changes to the brief and design becomes more constrained as time passes. It is good practice to involve head teachers. It is important to make sure that they are part of the client team from the outset and have been involved in the clients emerging thought processes, for example during visits to other facilities when initial objectives were agreed. The involvement of head teachers has advantages but it is important to remember that the school will usually have many different heads during its operation, and unduly prescriptive design solutions should be avoided. It is also important that design solutions are balanced. As an example, a pre-occupation with providing generous circulation space could reduce space provided within classrooms or vice versa and may be achieved at the risk of reducing specification or poorer finishes. A consultation process may entail three or more working sessions between the client / end-user representatives from each school and the bidders. These sessions would ideally occur at regular intervals through the ITN stage of the process. More intense discussion is also likely once the Preferred Bidder has been identified. Whilst user participation during the bidding process should be maximised, it has to be understood that this is very time consuming when working with several consortia and their design teams. For these reasons the brief has to be explicit and the design advisors have to ensure that all elements have been clearly explained and understood by all parties. Some sectors, such as NHS hospital trusts, use extranet sites to assist the management of information and comments during the negotiation stage. This can provide an efficient means of communicating and gathering information from access bidders and the entire client group. Feedback through an extranet can be interactive, open, yet confidential. This requires resources but may save on management overheads

16 7 Stage Five: Selection of the consortium and delivery of the project 7.1 Introduction Adopting the principles that have been described so far should produce significant improvement in design within the PFI process, but they do not provide a guarantee of success. As always this will be largely dependent on the skills and commitment of all those involved with the project, and hence the need to attract the right people at OJEC. The best process in the world can still deliver a poor product. While this guidance is therefore process-led, the quality of the product needs constant minding. This custodial principle is particularly true during Financial Close, construction and fit-out as, for example, pressure of programme can mean that time is lost from the final design phases. The time from Financial Close to start on site creates a pressure point on designers within the PFI process. It is at this stage that details are developed and refined, and when structure and services are co-ordinated. This is the time when the quality of the detailing is created and refined, and should therefore be carefully safeguarded. 7.2 Achieving maximum quality for a given budget A short-list of compliant bids together with design proposals is developed for final negotiations. Unless well managed, the final selection process can easily become a method of driving down design quality through value engineering. Instead, competition should be on the quality that can be delivered within a given budget. As a general principle it is thought that processes such as Best And Final Offers (BAFOs) and Last and Final Offers (LAFO) should be avoided wherever possible, since these involve considerable cost and are frequently extremely negative to the quality of the final design. 7.3 Allowing sufficient time Sufficient time must be allowed between the selection of the Preferred Bidder and Financial Close. This is the time when the greatest resources are put into a project because the consortium now has the security of Preferred Bidder status. It is also the time when detailed planning applications are made. The main risk for design quality after appointment of Preferred Bidder is that of time compression for the design team. Even if the early phases have slipped, it is important not to play catch-up with the later phases, particularly from approval to start on site. It is vital to ensure that once a Preferred Bidder is in place the rush to start building does not restrict the ability to ensure good design. This pressure will often have to be balanced with the need for the school to be open by a set date, for example the beginning of a new academic year or term. This re-emphasises the need for the client to adopt a realistic programme or timetable for the entire PFI process. This problem particularly applies with large grouped schools where the design load can stretch even the largest practices, which is one of the reasons why we recommended earlier the use of more than one design firm. Ensuring the design has been developed to the appropriate level of detail and the relevant drawings have been completed prior to starting on site is obviously critical. It is the responsibility of the client to ensure that there continues to be satisfactory design evolution as well as financial and legal closure. In particular, the client must be watchful of contractor value engineering reducing the design quality of the approved scheme. The LEA may need to have expert consultants available to check the contractor value engineering against the Output Specification, and to monitor that quality is maintain post contract and during construction. The link in PFI between the contractor and Facilities Management will help with this. Where cuts become unavoidable, it is critical that the client has access to both independent design expertise and user consultees in making the necessary choices. 7.4 Design development between Preferred Bidder and Financial Close Clients need to be aware that their negotiation position changes after Preferred Bidder stage. This is a time to be particularly robust, as client, to avoid what is referred to as design drift whereby the Preferred Bidder may downgrade the specification, possibly to meet affordability criteria. Given the right teams and relationships, the period between Preferred Bidder and Financial Close should be seen as a period of partnership in which creative development of the proposal can occur to maximise value. This will require a skilled client and a committed consortium, but it overcomes some of the problems of the separation of client from designers that can occur earlier in the PFI processes. Equally, it is vital that significant changes to the brief should not occur, as this is a critical and pressured time for the design team in their refinement of details and the co-ordination of services before start on site. 7.5 Maintaining quality on-site There is again a real danger of the client losing focus once the project moves on to site and experience shows that this can be a period during which the project design quality is at high risk of being diluted. As with any project, there is always the tendency for short cuts in terms of the quality of materials, finishes and general workmanship. The consortium s design team should be involved throughout the construction process to monitor the quality of design and finish, which should never be allowed to be signed off pre-completion as an unnecessary additional expense. If the design standards and quality thresholds are clearly defined, then the review process throughout the delivery stage should provide sufficient safeguards against such quality dilution. This has the virtue of making it the responsibility of the consortium to develop and get the necessary buy-in to changes from the client. 7.6 Post project evaluation In order to support the continual refining and improving of PFI, evaluation of buildings post-occupancy should be encouraged and any lesson learnt passed on to other LEAs. This evaluation should be planned in advance. This feedback is essential if PFI is to continue to mature as a procurement method that delivers improved standards and design quality

17 8 Conclusions 9 Abbreviations This guide has specifically focused on those areas of the PFI process where design is vulnerable: the soft spots where, without effective client management, design can be either sidelined or safeguarded. To place this guidance in the wider picture of procurement it is possible to identify a few key lessons and principles in common with other procurement options. 1. Making the best use of funding Typically, good clients benchmark their desired facilities using precedents. Perhaps because PFI credits are awarded by the DfES, there is a tendency towards acceptance or dependency. As a result there can be a misconception that there is little scope for ingenuity and as a result little, if any, benchmarking takes place. Clients can use design studies to tease out innovative solutions, to prioritise objectives and identify savings. 2. Develop a brief based on a specific understanding of each site and the views of stakeholders, and explore how best to deliver the curriculum in the process The brief needs to be tested through design analysis and consultation and in an interactive process to achieve consensus before going to the market. Test this brief against affordability so that the client expectations are realistic before engaging with consortia. 3. Use design feasibility work as a consultation tool to help articulate what the client and stakeholders want from the investment in schools Use design practices to help engage with the community and assist with the articulation of key objectives. Start feasibility work as early as possible in the process, preferably before preparation of the Outline Business Case. 4. Share innovations and best practice Seek to improve the process either by learning from other LEAs or by self-improvement through using a rolling programme. Identify at the end, in a post-occupancy evaluation, how either the process or the buildings could be improved, so that the client or other LEAs can learn from the experience. 5. Provide leadership PFI projects involve many stakeholders, from the client side, the community, and the providers. This requires great skill from a key individual to act as the patron and motivate all to commit to excellence. Focus on the longer term throughout the pressurised decision making process. 6. The client should appoint the best team to make this happen Be informed in selecting advisers and be demanding in negotiations with bidders to achieve the very best. Complacency at any stage will mean that quality will suffer so have the stamina for the long haul. 7. See PFI as a challenge This document sets out some challenges but the best outcome will be when each LEA is determined to get the very best schools from this programme of development. The recommendations in the document hopefully will encourage LEAs to get to grips with the complexities, to be aware how to continually improve the process and outcomes, to be robust in establishing the brief and objectives, and to persevere until the best outcome is achieved. Then the PFI process has the greatest chance of success. AMP Asset Management Plan BAFO Best and Final Offer CABE Commission for Architecture & the Built Environment DCMS Department for Culture Media and Sport DfES Department for Education and Skills DQI Design Quality Indicator EDP Education Development Plan FM Facilities Management FF&E Furniture, Fittings and Equipment ISOP Invitation to Submit Outline Proposals ITN Invitation to Negotiate LEA Local Education Authority NAO National Audit Office OGC Office of Government Commerce ODPM Office of the Deputy Prime Minister OJEC Official Journal of the European Communities OBC Outline Business Case OS Output Specification PFI Private Finance Initiative PQQ Pre-Qualification Questionnaire PET Project Enabling Team PRG Project Review Group PPP Public Private Partnership PSC Public Sector Comparator PIM Prior Information Memorandum RIBA Royal Institute of British Architects SBDU Schools Building and Design Unit SPFU Schools Private Finance Unit SOC Strategic Outline Case TTF Treasury Taskforce VfM Value for Money Bidders, Providers and Consortia these terms can be taken to mean the same thing in this document 30 31

18 10 Useful organisations and publications Commission for Architecture & the Built Environment (CABE) The Tower Building 11 York Road London SE1 7NX T F E available through the website The Value of Good Design, 2002 Improving Standards of Design in the Procurement of Public Buildings, 2002, with OGC Prime Minister's Better Public Building Award 2002 Better Civic Buildings and Spaces, 2002 Neighbourhood Nurseries Initiative Design Competition, 2002, with DfES Design Review, 2002 Celebrating Innovation, 2001 Design in Construction Alliance, 2001 The Value of Urban Design, 2001, with DETR Better Public Buildings, 2000, with DCMS & OGC Design Quality in PFI Projects: HM Treasury Guidance Note No 7, 2000, with HM Treasury By Design Urban Design in the Planning System: Towards Better Practice, 2000, with DETR Department for Education and Skills (DfES) Sanctuary Buildings Great Smith Street London SW1P 3BT T F E schoolbuildings Schools for the Future: Building Bulletin 95, The Stationery Office, 2002 (this document has a useful reference list) Revised Area Guidelines July 2002: Building Bulletin 82 (available on website) Designing Space for Sports and Arts, DfES design guide, 2000, with Sport England, Arts Council of England & DCMS Inclusive School Design: Building Bulletin 94, The Stationery Office, Science Accommodation in Secondary Schools; Building Bulletin 80, The Stationery Office,1999 Classrooms of the Future, DfES initiative (see website) Spaces for Sports and Arts in Primary Schools, DfES initiative (see website) DfES Circulars & Asset Management Plan Guidance documents are available from the website and from: Department for Education & Skills Publications Centre PO Box 5050 Sherwood Park Annesley Nottingham NG15 0DJ T F E Learning through Landscapes 3rd floor, Southside Offices The Law Courts Winchester SO23 9DL T F Local Government Task Force (LGTF) (set up to promote Rethinking Construction) Judd Street London WC1H 9PX T F E Rethinking the Construction Client: Guidelines for construction clients in the public sector and others who receive public funding for construction Integrating Rethinking Construction with Best Value Rethinking Construction: 2002 Movement for Innovation (M41) (set up to promote Rethinking Construction) Building 9 BRE Bucknalls Lane Garston Watford WD25 9XX T F National Audit Office (NAO) Buckingham Palace Road London SW1W 9SP T F E Modernising Construction, 2001 Office of Government Commerce (OGC) Fleetbank House 2 6 Salisbury Square London EC4Y 8AE T F E available on website Private Finance Technical Notes Achieving Excellence, OGC initiative, see website under Property & Construction Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development & the Programme on Educational Building (OECD/PEB) 2 rue Andr-Pascal Paris Cedex 16, France T +33 (1) F +33 (1) E Designs for Learning: 55 Exemplary Educational Facilities, OECD, 2001 Partnerships UK (PUK) 10 George Street London SW1P 3AE T F ps Public Private Partnerships Programme 83 Victoria Street London SW1H 0HW T F E available on website Achieving quality in Local Authority PFI building projects, 4ps guidance for Local Authorities, 2001 Output Specifications for PFI Projects, A 4ps guide for Schools Rethinking Construction see above: Local Government Task Force (LGTF) & Movement for Innovation (M41) Rethinking Construction: the Egan Report, 1999 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) 66 Portland Place London W1A 4AD T F E RIBA Client Services (address as above) T F E A Guide for School Governors: Developing School Buildings, Prepared by the RIBA Schools Client Forum, RIBA, 2000 (this document has a useful reference list) The Architect s Plan of Work, RIBA Publications, 2000 School Works The Mezzanine-South Elizabeth House 39 York Road London SE1 7NQ T E Learning Buildings, School Works, 2002 Design: DUFFY This document has been prepared by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). A number of people have contributed to the drafting of the document, to whom CABE are grateful: Andrew Beard, Miriam Fitzpatrick, Georgina Franks, Martin Lipson, Graham Parker, Andrew Price, John Waldron, Desmond Williams. We would also like to thank our colleagues from DfES for their inputs. Thank you also to those who have contributed images to the document, which are included to provide examples of school buildings being delivered for various clients and through different procurement routes Photography credits: Cover Millennium Primary School Chris Henderson p5 Owler Brook NI School Sheffield City Council; Jubilee School AHMM Architects; Whiteley Primary School Nev Churcher p5 and 6 Great Notley Primary School Timothy Soar p9 Haverstock School Feilden Clegg Bradley; John Cabot CTC Feilden Clegg Bradley (photo: Simon Dowling); Stephen Hawking School David Stewart; Royal Latin School Charlotte Wood; Balfron High School Jarvis p11 Tanbridge House School Peter Cook p19 Hoddern Junior School Richard Bryant/Arcaid; Debden Park High School Jarvis p21 Peacehaven Community School Richard Bryant/Arcaid p23 Jersey Girls College Peter Durant; Kingswood Day School Feilden Clegg Bradley p23 The Hertfordshire & Essex High School Nick Carter p23 Haute Vallee School Jonathan Moore p24 Clifton Junior School CABE (photo: Paul Bullivant)

19 Commission for Architecture & the Built Environment The Tower Building 11 York Road London SE1 7NX T F E W

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