Academy project marks new sector for Powell Williams

The advent of the government's academy programme has opened a new market sector for building consultancies. Powell Williams has recently completed its first high school academy project, an acquisition survey for Stratford upon Avon School.  The team identified a range of services which will need to be considered including the development of a planned programme of maintenance and implementation of improvement works.

Michael Clarke the Schools Facilities Manager, said: "It was necessary that the school, prior to its successful Academy conversion in August 2011, had an independent survey carried out to identify short to long term property liabilities. This is important because, as an Academy and therefore independent of the local authority, we need to take such matters into account in order that we can make the sound strategic decisions necessary to implement our planned maintenance programmes, and direct appropriate funds accordingly."

Stratford Upon Avon High School

The transfer of responsibilities from local authorities to the individual academy trusts will make it vital for all such schools to commission their own, independent reports, says Michael Jones, Powell Williams lead partner in Birmingham. He said: "For most schools, their building maintenance is looked after by the local authority which holds responsibility for the estate and the budget. Under the academy programme the school's board and trustees take over responsibility for the properties themselves and the budgets they require.

"As specialists in education rather than property management, it will be important for these organisations to approach their building requirements with a much more commercial eye. The school building will become an academy's most valuable and costly asset and will demand careful management to ensure it does not become a liability. Having worked closely with Stratford upon Avon School prior to its conversion to an academy has given us an insight into the particular requirements of this sector."

For more information on this project or to speak to a surveyor about your Academy please contact Michael Jones on 0121 486 2657.

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