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Capital Review team 'will back' prefab schools

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The taskforce set up to advise the government on school capital savings is set to advise that pre-fabricated buildings are the solution.

LGC’s sister title Construction News has learned that an interim report from the Capital Review team, led by DSG International director Sebastian James, is expected to propose a reliance on off-site manufacturing of standardised modules.

The move, which would be in stark contrast to the bespoke schools from the previous government’s £55bn Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme axed by education secretary Michael Gove in July, is understood to dramatically reduce the cost of new school buildings.

Sources told Construction News that the savings were expected to be of such a magnitude they would allow the government to resurrect plans to work on every secondary school in England despite the spending cuts.

The magazine added that the review team, which includes Lewisham LBC chief executive Barry Quirk, had been “forced” to undertake its own research in to the cost of schools construction work, because no official data had been collected since BSF began in 2005.

Mr Gove’s July announcement saw the halting of some 700-plus school-capital projects, around 200 of which would have been new-build. Mr Gove cited long-standing concerns about the costs associated with BSF, which is widely seen as overly bureaucratic, and set up the Capital Review team to explore alternatives.

A source told Construction News: “All the schools the government wants to build can be built with the money available.

“This will mean more modular building. It will be quicker and cheaper – these projects were taking immense amounts of time.”

Construction News reported that the new schools-capital model could make Private Finance Initiatives “irrelevant”.

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