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4 Best Practices for School Construction Projects

Michael Soh

February 29, 2024

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Are you renovating or expanding your school facility? Whether you’re looking to add a gymnasium, basketball court, library, science laboratory, or need additional classrooms to accommodate growing enrollment, the construction process presents an opportunity to further your school’s mission and enrich the educational experience for your students.

Here’s how to set your project up for success from the get-go.

1.       Establish Clear Goals by Setting the Budget and Target Delivery Date

At the heart of every successful construction project lies a clear set of goals, including a well-defined budget and a target timeline for delivery of the new space. By setting realistic expectations and working towards them collaboratively, project stakeholders can align their efforts and minimize the risk of costly delays or overruns.

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2. Build a Strong Team

Assembling a strong and cohesive project team is key. The architect plays a pivotal role in leading the design process and orchestrating the efforts of other key stakeholders, such as engineers, consultants, and contractors. Additionally, having an experienced owner’s representative onboard can provide valuable guidance and oversight throughout the project. Selecting the most qualified and experienced architect and contractor for your project is crucial for success.  

3. Conduct a Competitive Bidding Process

Don’t go with the first bid you receive! Project owners can make informed decisions and secure the best possible partners for their endeavors by conducting a Request for Proposal (RFP) process for the architect, owner’s representative, and contractor. It’s best practice to have at least 3 to 4 firms to compare against.

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4. Navigate the Entitlements and Permitting Process

Be proactive in identifying and addressing regulatory requirements early in the process. From zoning approvals to building permits, thorough due diligence is key to staying on track and within budget. You’ll avoid the potential of costly setbacks. Seek guidance from an experienced architect, land use attorney, owner’s representative, or permit expeditor to help your team identify all the potential entitlements and permits you’ll need to secure before you can start construction on your project.

Embarking on a construction project to enhance your school’s facilities is more than just a physical endeavor – it’s about creating spaces that align with your institution’s mission and support its educational goals. With the right approach and adherence to best practices, a school building can become a powerful tool in advancing the mission and vision of your school.

About the Author
Michael Soh helps schools expand and improve their facilities. Along with a degree from USC in Civil Engineering, Michael has nearly a decade of experience—having managed projects in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. He has expertise in mixed-use, multifamily, office, and commercial projects, allowing him to support schools through ground-up construction, building and space improvements, and redevelopment initiatives.
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