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Schools: Buildings

Education written question – answered on 24th November 2011.

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Photo of Annette Brooke Annette Brooke Liberal Democrat, Mid Dorset and North Poole

To ask the Secretary of State for Education

(1) what criteria he used to determine the priorities for the Property Data Survey Programme;

(2) whether the Property Data Survey Programme will include any assessment of the condition of asbestos; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what recent assessment he has made of the condition of asbestos in school buildings; and what estimate he has made of the costs of (a) managing asbestos in situ and (b) demolishing and rebuilding schools containing asbestos;

(4) what assessment he has made of the findings of the report by Nottinghamshire county council on the cost of rebuilding or refurbishing school buildings containing asbestos.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

holding answer 22 November 2011

The Property Data Survey (PDS) Programme will take into account both the condition and the priority of the work to elements of buildings, external areas and playing fields.

Condition will be graded on a scale of A to D, where A is classified as good and D as bad. In addition to the condition grade the priority of work will be captured on a scale of 1 to 4, where 1 is urgent work and 4 is work which will be required in the longer term. To minimise burdens we are applying the same condition and priority grading system that has been used by local authorities for asset management planning purposes since 1999.

The data collected will be used to provide evidence of the current condition of schools, and enable future maintenance funding allocations to be focused on the buildings with the greatest need.

Property data surveys will not include an assessment of asbestos, the responsibility for which currently lies and will remain with local authorities and schools under the Control of Asbestos Regulations. However while carrying out the PDS the surveyor will seek confirmation that the school has carried out their statutory obligations and if not will direct them to the Department's website and relevant guidance.

The responsibility for assessing the condition of asbestos in school buildings lies with the local duty holder for the particular school. We have not made an estimate of the cost of managing asbestos in situ or demolishing and rebuilding schools containing asbestos.

Partnerships for Schools received a report from Nottinghamshire county council, "Issues of Using CLASP to transform learning—Nottinghamshire County Council". This addresses the best value for money approach to refurbishing or rebuilding CLASP schools and includes some consideration of how to deal with asbestos in these buildings. The report showed the high cost of refurbishment of CLASP buildings and that in many cases it is more cost-effective to rebuild than to refurbish and remodel such buildings. We are not aware of another report from Nottinghamshire county council specifically addressing the cost of rebuilding or refurbishing school buildings containing asbestos.

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