What is Condition Improvement Funding?

Scott Walters
Condition Improvement Funding (CIF) is a scheme operated by the government for Academies and sixth-form colleges which allows them to apply annually for funding to help keep their buildings in good working order to provide students and teachers with the best possible working environment.

The core priority is to address significant condition need, keeping buildings safe and in good working order. This includes: improving poor building condition, Building compliance, Energy efficiency and Health & safety. CIF also supports a small amount of expansion projects for those rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted. This includes expanding their existing facilities or floor space. This is to increase the number of admissions in the main year of entry or address overcrowding.

Academies and sixth-form colleges can apply to the Education Funding Agency (EFA) for capital funding from the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF), but they cannot be larger than a 5 member Multi Academy Trust or 3000 pupils.

Bids are assessed based on the following criteria and weighting; Project need 70%, Project planning 15%, Value for money 15%. The threshold for passing is minimum 77%.

What Can We Do?

  • Write entire bids, or offer support to help Business Managers write bids
  • Go out to the market for competitive quotations during the CIF bid stage
  • Write Specifications, Produce Drawings and Prepare Contract Documentation
  • Manage the project on site if the bid is successful using our in house Building Surveyors
  • Complete and submit progress reports on the EFA portal
  • Provide in house H&S/Principal Designer Services
  • Provide in house Cost Management Services
  • Procure expert advice from specialists such as structural, Fire and M&E Engineers,

We have an outstanding funding success rate built upon our knowledge and understanding of the latest developments in the education sector.

The chart below captures how the process works This years dates are set to be published by the EFA this Autumn, on the EFA website.

What Are Our Challenges?

  • Calculating the fee - Our Fees will be calculated on a case by case basis depending on the nature of the works and the likelihood of success, speak to your local F+G office to make enquiries.
  • The competition for funding is strong - applications are often oversubscribed, therefore even the most comprehensive and carefully constructed submissions can be turned down. It is therefore important to consider feedback from a previous submission to help prepare for a new application
  • Having a good consultant supply chain – Faithful+Gould pride themselves in have a strong local sub-consultant supply chain to call upon when writing complex or specialist bids. We work with Structural Engineers, Mechanical and Electrical Engineers and Accredited Fire Safety Inspectors to help produce detailed and robust submissions.
  • The clock is ticking – Keep on top of your delivery programme and be ready to go into the pre-construction procurement phase as soon as the funding is confirmed. We aim to ensure all projects are procured and ready to start on site during the summer holidays, particularly if evasive works are required.
  • Market Testing – The EFA will want evidence that the project has been market tested so we will obtain comprehensive quotations from reliable and financially stable contractors on behalf of the college/academy.
  • Building a relationship with a client – The majority of clients we have assisted in securing Condition Improvement Funding have been through repeat business. Our key philosophy is to work in partnership with our clients to gain a detailed understanding of an individual School/Academy of Multi Academy Trust then advise on potential future bids based on the key assessment criteria set out by the EFA.
  • Collaborative working – Faithful+Gould is committed to ensuring that the knowledge gained from writing bids on behalf of Schools and Academies never goes to waist. Whether successful or unsuccessful, experience is shared throughout our UK offices to help our surveyors develop the strongest possible case to obtain future funding.
  • Faithful+Gould also supports schools and academies rated by Ofsted as good or outstanding seeking funding to enable expansion of their existing facilities. This includes increasing floor space to cater for number of admissions in the main year of entry or address overcrowding.

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