Schools are not fixed. They have to evolve and grow to meet the demands of pupil numbers and a changing curriculum. But change brings with it expense. For schools it is important that they manage the cost of development and are able to budget for change. From a rating perspective, schools should have clarity about their budget, and about the overall effects of change when it comes to their buildings. This is where architectural masterplanning can be of enormous benefit.
What Does Masterplanning Do?
Schools are more than a collection of buildings. School buildings should create a built environment to facilitate both knowledge learning and social skills for students. However, sometimes schools develop over time in ways that are less than cohesive.
An architectural masterplan involves an assessment of a school’s site as an entirety, providing knowledge of the age and condition of all the existing buildings. It also works strategically, providing a roadmap for future development based on this assessment of the school’s existing built portfolio.
“Masterplanning provides useful data and summarises the general condition of buildings, which can have added benefits for reductions in business rates,” Alice Parker, Senior Project Architect at Pozzoni Architecture, explains. “Working with educationalists, we can also offer a curriculum analysis, for the future allocation of physical resources based on the anticipated demands of the curriculum.”
“This is like creating a business plan for the fabric of a school,” continues Alice, “reflecting how it is going to meet ongoing and future demands from both pupil numbers and the curriculum, and looking at the bigger picture in order to get the details right.”
Masterplanning and Business Rates
When it comes to rateable values, and paying rates, schools need to be clear on what developments they have planned. And what these are going to cost as this will have a direct impact on their future rates.
“Schools must be clear on what the budgetary implications are when it comes to building works,” Paul Giness of The Beattie Partnership points out. “This is whether it is for the form of return to the Valuation Office, to assess the impact of the 2017 Rating Revaluation, or for an appeal surrounding building works.”
The future allocation of resources across a site can have a significant impact on the rates a school is liable to pay, as can the construction and renovation processes involved.
“Masterplanning is enormously helpful in this regard,” Paul states. “This is because it provides a framework and a logical development strategy to support a school’s delivery requirements. It can also dovetail into budgeting planning that’s vital in terms of rateable values and rating appeals.”
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