From consultation to completion – how suppliers can help with CIF submissions


he Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) is an annual bidding round offered by the

government for academies and sixth form colleges to apply for capital funding, with the objective of identifying buildings in need of repair and ensuring they’re safe. In our first look at school maintenance and design this month, Sunny Lotay, national commercial manager at PermaRoof UK, discusses how, while the initial bidding stage doesn’t begin until the new school term in September, it is never too early to prepare for your submission and how suppliers can assist local authorities with the bidding process.

As the end of summer term fast approaches for schools, academies and colleges across the country, many will be looking forward to the summer holidays – and not just for a break from the classroom. Those five to six weeks are a crucially important time to ensure school buildings are performing at the highest possible standard, ready to welcome students back in September. CIF funding improves the facilities of schools,

academies and colleges – so applying for the capital grant is essential for the development, maintenance and safety of education establishments.

The CIF provides financial support for a wide

range of schemes, having funded 1,400 projects across England in the 2019-2020 academic year, but does tend to prioritise certain types of applications – namely roof, window and central heating replacements. The Department for Education has already

published the Condition Improvement Fund 2019 to 2020 outcome and confirmed the funding of £433 million for 1,412 projects at 1,209 academies and sixth-form colleges. The CIF process begins in September, at the

start of the new school year, when it’s initially announced. In October, information for applicants is published and online application forms open with a deadline of November for registration and December for submission. It then takes four months for all of the applications to be individually assessed, with successful projects being notified around April time. However, while September may still feel like a

way off yet, for any college or sixth form thinking they might be in need of flat roof repairs, the time is now to start preparing, and that’s where experienced commercial specification managers can provide vital support in securing the grant.

Who can apply for CIF funding? CIF funding is not available to every single school


across the country as there are certain criteria that must be met. To be eligible, the educational establishment must be one of the following:

• Sixth-form colleges; • Single academy trusts; • Small multi-academy trusts (MATs) with less than five academies; or,

• Eligible voluntary aided (VA) schools. Every project application is scored against three

assessment criteria, all of which have slightly different weighting. Project need contributes to the majority of the score at 60%, followed by project cost and 25%, with the remaining 15% being scored against project planning.

Carrying out surveys The first step in any potential flat roofing project is to investigate the condition of the roof and conduct a survey to find improvements that are required to bring it back up to regulations – from checking thermal regulation and the fall of water discharge, to structural soundness and whether there are enough outlets. A survey of this kind is essentially looking to

pre-empt any problems before they occur and provide a solution to the roof’s current state. This means that, depending on the results of the

June 2021

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