Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Ceisteanna (47)

John Curran


47. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills the priority he has given to the school building projects that are at stage 2B of the detailed architectural design phase for many years in order to progress such projects through to construction and delivery of the projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47268/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Under the National Development Plan 2018-2027, my Department has an €8.8bn envelope for the delivery of the school building programme.

This facilitates a strong flow of projects to tender and construction under the school building programme.   Overall construction activity in 2018, 2019 and 2020 will deliver over 70,000 permanent school places.    

My Department regularly conducts reviews of the delivery programme and has a systematic approach to profiling projects to commence construction, facilitating funding drawdown on a scheduled basis.

Stage 2(b) Detailed Design is arguably the most complex and detailed of all the stages in Architectural Planning. In addition to securing the necessary statutory approvals it also includes the preparation of complex and detailed tender documents. In completing Stage 2(b), Design Teams are now required to upgrade design details to ensure that new school buildings are Near Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) in compliance with the 2017 amendment to Part L of the current Building Regulations. In many cases this has involved a second planning application to allow for the installation of photovoltaic panels on the roof following receipt of the initial planning permission.

Other factors that can impact on progress during Stage 2B can include complicated or detailed planning applications, appeals to An Bord Pleanála, complications around decant arrangements, issues relating to the site and/or challenges to the Prequalification of Contractors process.

Through its structured approach in facilitating the progression of projects, my Department will ensure that the focus on the expeditious delivery of the school building programme continues in accordance with the terms and provisions of the NDP funding envelope.  The current status of projects being delivered is listed on a county by county basis on the Department's website and updated on a monthly basis to reflect progress through design, tender and construction.