We are highly experienced providers of technical and management consultancy services, particularly to the education sector. Our lead consultants include a core team who have had significant experience at a senior level within the Schools Organisation and Capital Planning teams of Local Authority Children's Services departments. This background enables the team to provide practical and valuable advice on a range of areas of capital planning and asset management including the Primary Capital Programme and BSF. Our support has included assistance with the development of required documentation and bids for funding, as well as programme and project development and management. Our consultants also include a team of highly experienced Educational Specialists, whose skills and knowledge are in great demand.
Our technical specialists include a number of RIBA accredited Client Design Advisors (CDA) as well as a significant number of fully qualified experienced architects with a specific expertise in education. The CDA initiative was launched by the RIBA in 2005 and by adopting its principles, we have enhanced our ability to guide clients through the process of commissioning buildings, and to ensure that the highest quality of architecture and design is achieved. This experience is invaluable from a learning perspective and helps provide a depth and quality to our design consultancy services. These services are further enhanced by our team of specialist sustainability, M&E, structural and cost consultants all of whom have provided advice on major projects and can help ensure the success of your project or programme. Our team of qualified and experienced DQI facilitators are passionate about the importance of design excellence and work with stakeholders to determine key design requirements at briefing stage, with further opportunities at mid project and completion stages to assess how well the building meets the original design objectives.
Advice and support to government agencies:
- In 2000 we were awarded a design consultancy contract with the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), and it remains current with the Department for Education (DfE). Commissions have included scrutiny of 31 Academy schemes across the UK, where we have reviewed the proposals and cost plans and positively influenced schemes ranging from £4m to over £40m. Our input helps to promote best practice and innovation in the design of schools, as well as ensuring proposals meet statutory requirements and demonstrate best value.
- We are also carrying out value for money assessments on behalf of the DfE for new school building projects. This includes appraisal of Strategic, Outline and Final Business Cases. We report on cost management, affordability, and any other issues or concerns revealed by our scrutiny of the documentation.
Advice and support to local authorities:
- Provision of client-side technical consultancy services within the preparation stages for the BSF programme as well as during and post procurement in five local authorities. This includes the provision of Lead Consultants, Client Design Advisors, Cost consultants, Risk Managers, Programme and Project Managers.
- Client side technical consultancy advice during procurement of Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts for Norfolk County Council including cost and risk management, due diligence, design scrutiny across a range of disciplines and FM/life cycle advice. We have also provided financial advice and value for money scrutiny for local authority applications for PFI credits, as well as assessing the value for money of PFI Outline Business Cases and Final Business Cases.
- Procurement and management of Construction Framework in Norfolk.
- Post occupancy evaluation (POE) services. Our holistic process is tailored to education buildings and measures 'softer' aspects such as user satisfaction, educational achievement and workforce retention as well as building performance.
- Comprehensive and widely acclaimed Design Quality Indicator assessments (DQIs) in a wide range of education settings, including Academies and BSF schools, special schools and primary schools for at least 12 authorities.
- Provision of Premises Development Plans (PDPs) for at least 10 authorities. We were a contributor to the ‘Master Planning’ section of Building Bulletin 98, the DfES Area Guidelines for Secondary Schools. As part of the PDP process, we carry out strategic reviews and option analysis to provide the client with workable, affordable and innovative solutions that meet their long-term vision and objectives.
- Provision of Strategic Educational advice, including estate planning, asset management planning and schools organisation issues in at least 20 authorities.