September marks the start of the school year; Academies are getting their ducks in a row with very little mention of the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF). In October we receive a barrage of incoming phone calls and emails from some Academies who are seeking general advice on how/where/when to apply for funding.
Furthermore, from mid-November each year, we notice the CIF ‘process’ starts to ramp up with potential qualifying Academies contacting us directly to instruct us to tender on their behalf. In some cases as the CIF deadline draws nearer, the panic sets in…
Reacting to 2 CIF Bid’s on the same day, very late in the procedural calendar!
One day in late November, I received a phone call from a contact wanting to know if we could support two bids by the December 13th deadline. One Academy was in East Manchester the other in Lancashire. With very little time to offer support for the two bids (3 weeks, or 15 workdays to be exact) I arranged to meet with both Academies at their locations the very next day.
The Academy in East Manchester were looking to bid for new external windows and doors, in truth they could have qualified for CIF many years ago due to the state they were in; 1970’s single glazed timber in very poor condition.
The qualifying strength of the bid was plain to see, but there was much work to be done within the timeframe if we were to be successful! We would need to:
- Undertake an independent condition survey to record the condition of the units.
- Deliver an asbestos survey to understand the risk.
- Complete an outline design of all potentially qualifying plant and apparatus.
- Obtain competitive quotations from our list of approved contractors to support the bid.
Once all the for mentioned had been undertaken (Roger Hannah project managed all requirements) we have the foundation of a solid bid with confidence to submit. The Academy would then decide of how much funding (if any) they would be looking to invest from their own capital, the information was uploaded onto the ESFA Government Portal with 2 hours remaining.
Close to the wire but a very good bid submitted…
The Academy in Lancashire wanted us to review their existing Fire Alarm installations. Upon our inspection of the system we swiftly identified it was obsoleted and the design was not fit for purpose, but we now required evidence to demonstrate our case and commissioned the following:
- Full fire risk assessment of the Academy buildings.
- A review of the existing infrastructure by the Local Fire Authority.
- Condition survey and outline design by a fully qualified Electrical Engineer.
As you might imagine coordinating all 3 specialist pieces of evidence to coincide with our own reports to support the CIF bid was demanding, but we got it done. Again, a very good bid submitted but with very little time to spare!
Although we are confident that we have maximised the opportunity for the client, our key message is that the CIF application process starts in January and it is NEVER too early to engage with a specialist to ensure your interests are fully supported throughout the bidding process!
Roger Hannah offers FREE APPLICATION ADVICE
If you require detailed information on the application process and applying for funding, provide your direct contact details and the address of the School/Academy and we will contact you at our earliest convenience.
Alternatively, please feel free to contact us directly on 0161 429 1670.