Pagabo Live

Pagabo Live – Efficient Planning for Summer Refurbishment Works

27 February 2024

Particularly for the education sector, planning any construction work needs to be approached with careful consideration to minimise any potential disruption. Typically, this means taking advantage of the summer holidays – the largest annual window when sites are quieter. But how to effectively plan your procurement to match these timescales can remain a daunting task for many.

That’s why our second instalment of knowledge initiative Pagabo Live brought together a panel of experts well versed in navigating the challenges in how to efficiently plan summer refurbishment works. The agenda covered the benefits of utilising specialist knowledge, early engagement and collaboration, before the panel shared knowledge on funding, real life examples and the different procurement options available.

Joining regular host Tom Snee of Cartwright Communications was Associate Director at EDGE Matt Flint, Construction Director at G F Tomlinson Kevin Dodds and Deputy Director of Estates and Capital Projects at Dudley College Samantha Hunter. Bringing the conversation together with her procurement knowledge was our very own head of delivery for the West Midlands and Wales, Emma Hesbrook. At the beginning of the session, 64% of attendees were ‘less than completely aware of project and procurement timescales surrounding summer works’. However, by the end of the webinar, 79% said they were now ‘fully aware’.

When placed against the backdrop of 92% people reporting having fallen foul of expected delays to summer works in the past, the importance of efficiencies is clear. So, what is it attendees learned that improved their awareness and understanding?

Watch the full episode today:

View webinar


Specialist knowledge, early engagement and collaboration

Every year presents its own unique challenges for the schools sector based on evolving legislation, funding and overall changing pressures across education. There is competition between those commissioning projects to secure resources and materials, meaning the experience of those that have completed summer projects in the past is invaluable for evolving best practice into the future.

The Pagabo Live panel was in unanimous agreement that the earlier that contractors and consultancies are appointed the better – regardless of the planned project size and length, from maintenance to new builds. This is not only to secure the best project team, but also to help the project team prepare itself and be in a stronger position to overcome any unexpected obstacles should they arise.

While well-prepared clients will have their own business plans and estates strategies, receiving input from external experts who are looking through a different lens can really help. They will be able to ask questions like, “can work only be completed during summer or can we create a phased approach that will still minimise disruption and ensure the necessary safeguarding is in place?”

Ultimately, specialists should be seen as project stakeholders as their advice and experience can be the difference between success and disappointment.


Speaking from client experience

Owing to our commitment to increasing public sector knowledge, having a deputy director of estates share real life lessons learned certainly captured interest. Without spoiling the episode if our summary isn’t already tempting you to watch back, lessons included:

  • Planning for refurbishment and property maintenance should start before Easter – at the latest
  • Always pull together rough programmes in relation to contract sizes, durations and interdependencies on individual contracts across site
  • Ensure early collaboration with frameworks regarding expressions of interest, procurement routes and direct awards
  • Consider amalgamating contracts for better value and ease of management
  • Identify long lead ins, and consider pre-ordering and vesting certificates to secure materials
  • Be proactive and pull together a calendar of events and exam schedules, before communicating them to the delivery team


Is direct award the way forward?

To answer simply – it may not be in every case, but it is becoming increasingly common in the public sector where project timelines are constrained.

To date, more than 1,300 Pagabo projects have been procured by direct award – some of which have been summer works.

Sharing more personal experience during the episode, direct award was credited with ensuring one contractor was working on site across multiple projects. This approach added efficiency, lowers costs and increases supply chain certainty.

Our smallest project directly awarded was worth £1,000, while the largest is currently £750 million, proving the versatility of the option. What both these projects had in common was the benefits offered by the approach, including:

  • Time saving over a further competition tender
  • Client control over the process
  • Ensures cost delivers value for money utilising early contractor involvement
  • Design and cost certainty
  • Removes potential bidding related risk

Will you be involved in summer works this year or next? Hopefully the insight and experience shared by our latest panel will help if so.


Don’t forget, to watch the full second episode of Pagabo Live:

View webinar


Our third episode ‘Unlocking Decarbonisation Funding: The Journey to Net Zero’ will be taking place Wednesday 20th March. Register your place for free below:

Register today

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