What is Condition Improvement Fund or CIF?

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What is Condition Improvement Fund or CIF?

What is CIF?

Academies and sixth-form colleges can apply to the Education Funding Agency (EFA) for capital funding from the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) to address issues with poor building condition, building compliance, energy efficiency or health and safety.

To be eligible to apply for CIF funding you must not be part of a larger multi-academy trust (with at least 5 academies and more than 3000 pupils), or an opted-in chain, that is receiving formulaic funding. If you are part of a MAT with at least 5 academies, and those academies have more than 3,000 pupils, you do not need to apply to CIF.

The project thresholds for primary and special schools is £20,000 to £4,000,000.

The project thresholds for secondary, all through and sixth form colleges is £50,000 to £4,000,000.

Schools and sixth-form colleges should use their revenue and DFC funding for capital works below these limits.

Projects are scored against 3 weighted assessment criteria: project need 70%, project planning 15% and value for money 15%.

There are 3 categories of CIF project: condition, condition with expansion and expansion.

Condition projects

These are to improve the condition of a school building, with no expansion of the gross internal floor area (GIFA).

Condition with expansion projects

These are to improve the condition of a school building where the GIFA of the new block is up to 10% larger than the previous block. The aim of the project must primarily be to address significant condition need.

Condition with expansion applications should only be submitted if the expansion, of up to 10%, is required in order for the relevant block to meet current area standards as defined by Building Bulletin 103 or 104, as appropriate, and any relevant building regulations.

Expansion projects

This is for additional places or to address overcrowding in academies and sixth-form colleges that can demonstrate that they are high performing and where the GIFA of the new block is more than 10% larger than the previous block or adds functional areas or facilities

All CIF projects must aim to improve a capital asset held in freehold or on a long lease, used for education provision for pupils between the ages of 2 and 19 years. Information and communication technology (ICT) hardware or software, loose furniture and equipment are ineligible. ICT infrastructure (cabling, wireless and switching) is only eligible when it’s an integral part of a larger refurbishment or new build project.

You may submit up to 2 projects per academy or college via the CIF portal but only one of these may be an expansion project. If you submit 2 projects, this may comprise 2 condition projects or 1 condition and 1 expansion project.

The majority of projects supported through the CIF are expected to involve the replacement of components such as windows, doors, roofs, boilers and toilets. Replacement together with a small amount of associated refurbishment generally provides better value for money than a full-scale block replacement or refurbishment project.

How can ARNI help?

ARNI can assist schools and sixth-form colleges with the preparation of feasibility studies for the project including, but not be limited to:

  • project analysis and evaluation

  • demonstration of need and scope of works proposed to address the need

  • full details of surveys undertaken or planned

  • what is the design solution and why will it work?

  • detailed professional and robust cost management plan or a contractor’s cost estimate

  • an outline of planning requirements and evidence of permissions

  • benefits/constraints of the project (for example, is moving to temporary accommodation an option and is it really necessary?)

  • site issues affecting the project, site entrances, disturbance to local residence

  • knowledge of location of utilities or the location and extent of asbestos and any cost savings as a result of the project

  • how is this project affordable and able to demonstrate value for money?

  • risk analysis and mitigation in a comprehensive risk register for the entire project and specifically deliverability of the works in a teaching and learning environment

  • what will happen if an emergency occurs, fire, flood etc who are the professional Project Management team and what’s their track record

  • capacity and capability of the academy’s Project Team

  • a detailed plan of the required resources and where they will come from

  • what will the procurement route be and why is this the best value for money?

Discuss your ideas

Undertaking a building project, whatever its scale, can be a daunting experience. By using a RIBA Chartered Architect, you know you are employing someone who has undertaken a minimum of seven years training — no other building professional is trained in design and construction to such a level of expertise.

We offer a free personal consultation with a RIBA Chartered architect to discuss ideas in a strictly no obligation meeting.

To arrange an appointment please call us on 01782 611815, email us at hello@arniarchitects.com or via our contact form.

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