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Recommended Do's and Don'ts for School Construction

Do Don't
Base all facility decisions on the district's long range facility master plan.

Make facilities decisions solely on the basis of the initial cost.

Base facility decisions on a life cycle cost analysis of all feasible alternatives.

Think that value engineering means substituting a cheaper product for what was specified by the designer.

Employ a competent clerk of the works.

Rush. This is a complex, high cost undertaking, the results of which will last a very long time.

Evaluate all feasible alternatives to resolve a facility concern. Assume that a design-build contract will save money.
Have your attorney review and modify the standard AIA contract documents to protect your interests.

Allow mixing of contract documents from different sources e.g. AIA, ACG, DBIA etc.

Include as many aspects of high performance school design as possible.

Trade construction quality for more space or an earlier completion date.

Include training for your maintenance staff on new equipment and materials.

Allow the designers to include materials, systems, components, or structural features that cannot be easily maintained by your staff.

Insist on an integrated whole building design.

Use a fast track schedule for design and construction.

Provide funding up front for site investigation and at least 50% of the design effort. Expect design professionals to work for nothing.
Provide strict control on the approval of change orders. Try to get by with a contingency budget of less than 5% for new construction and 10% for renovations.
Prioritize where the money goes in the project. Give high priority to the roof and HVAC system. Lock into a final cost before completing a preliminary design and geo-technical testing of the site.
Request assistance from the Office of School Building Aid, (603) 271-2037. Forget to apply for School Building Aid before construction begins. Applications prior to the district meeting are strongly encouraged.
Require as-built drawings in an electronic format that you can use. Forget to notify your insurance company about the new building, addition, or renovation.
Require construction bidders to bring the project manager and construction superintendent to interviews.

Allow construction managers to complete any portion of the actual construction with their own staff. Such firms are general contractors in disguise, and you have the wrong type contract.

Require formal commissioning of all building systems prior to acceptance of the work as substantially complete. Acquire property, even donated land, without basic environmental and geological evaluations.
Specify Energy Star labeled equipment. Use unit ventilators in the HVAC system.
Use Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) to hire an architect. Hire design professionals solely on the basis of lowest cost.

Provided by: Office of School Building Aid, New Hampshire Department of Education

New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3494
Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711