Role of the board of trustees in school property projects

Boards of trustees have a governance role in project management. You will be involved in developing the project brief, opening the project file and appointing a school representative. You will have a board delegate on the project control group, and will need to give approval at various stages of the project.


All school property projects, no matter how small, must have a project manager.

If your project needs building consent, you must use a professional project manager.

If your project does not require building consent, you can use a non-professional project manager (such as a board member or your caretaker), but you must still follow the Ministry’s project management requirements.

We recommend you use a professional for projects of high value that don’t need building consent, like replacing all your carpet.

If you are using a professional project manager, you can rely on your project manager to make sure all work complies with the requirements.

Whoever manages the project, the board will be involved at various stages, such as approving the designs and payments for the project.

Level of involvement of board and project manager across a project’s phases

Level of involvement of board and project manager across a project’s phases

At the planning phase, the board is much more involved than the project manager. The balance gradually shifts towards the project manager during the implementation phase. By the completion phase, the project manager has the greater level of involvement.

For detailed information about the project manager’s role in school property projects, see Role of a project manager in school property projects.

Ministry requirements of Boards

The Government has a significant investment in school land and buildings.

To protect that investment, the Ministry has developed requirements for managing school property projects to make sure:

  • you make the best use of your project funding
  • property work meets all relevant standards.

The relevant standards for school property work include:

Completing the project management forms

If you are managing the project yourself (those projects that don’t need building consent) you will need to complete some project management forms and procurement templates and guides.

Providing governance for professionally managed projects

For any property project at your school, there are a number of steps that you, as a board of trustees, must follow.

Early stages of the project

In the early stages of the project, you will need to:

  • develop a project brief
  • set up a project file to store information about the project
  • engage your project manager
  • appoint a school representative
  • appoint the project control group
  • engage a full time builder
  • ensure all contractors that may have unsupervised access to students are police vetted
  • manage any potential conflicts of interest
  • decide whether to delegate any of your board functions for the project
  • ensure if a parent of a child at your school tenders for a contract, that the relationship is entirely professional.

As soon as you have a project manager on board, they can help with some of these steps.

Find out more about your role in the early stages of the project.

During the project

During the project, you will need to:

  • give board approval at various stages of the project, including:
    • the project brief
    • the designs
    • the construction phase
    • any variations
    • all payments.
  • keep people at the school safe during the building work
  • get local council sign-off before using a new building
  • continue to manage any potential conflicts of interest that may arise.

Your project manager should provide all documentation and recommendations to the school representative for board approval.

Find out more about your role during the project.

End of the project

At the end of the project, you will need to:

  • check project manager has completed the Building Update Form
  • account for project funds in your accounting system
  • return any unspent project funds to us
  • close the project file
  • discharge the project manager and disestablish the project control group
  • meet maintenance requirements
  • fix any defects found after the end of the project.

Find out more about your role at the end of the project.

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