Value-for-money reviews of school property

We have initiated a review process for our school property projects to identify ways to achieve better value for money.

About the reviews

We have initiated a process for reviewing 352 Ministry-led projects across 305 schools and kura in pre-construction. The reviews will identify opportunities to achieve better value for money.

  • The reviews will look at cost efficiencies, need and timing for delivery of projects.
  • The review does not apply to school-led projects.
  • Pre-construction includes all projects up to the point where a construction contract has been signed.

Why we're reviewing Ministry-led projects

The cost to build a classroom has increased significantly over the past few years. We need to bring costs down and make sure we’re achieving good value across all projects in our programme.

With such high demand for new school property across the country, the more cost efficiencies we can achieve on individual projects, the more we can deliver across the country to the benefit of all ākonga | students.

Achieving better value for money

Achieving better value for money will mean:

  • greater use of standardised and repeatable designs, including standardised colour and fabric palettes, and more use of offsite manufactured buildings
  • focusing on the core infrastructure issue that the project is intended to resolve
  • looking more closely at improving existing spaces instead of building new
  • considering the impact on our environment when we replace and build (construction is our second highest carbon emitting activity).

The review process

Some projects will need a deep dive while others will need a lighter touch, depending on the stage the project is at.


Projects in planning are in the early stages. The need for a project has been identified, but the options to meet this need still have to be investigated and a way forward agreed.

This means:

  • identifying whether remediation rather than replacement is the better solution
  • making sure the scope or scale of the project aligns with the issue the project is intended to resolve
  • exploring using modular, offsite buildings or a repeatable/standard design. 

Design and tender

Projects in design or tender are further down the track and planning has been completed. In these instances, the review is needed to confirm that the planned approach is still the right one.

This means:

  • reaffirming that the project scope is the correct one
  • investigating whether a modular or standardised solution could be used instead, or parts of the existing design could be changed to reduce costs, for example, using a different material. 

It may feel like a review of projects in design is like going back to the drawing board, but with construction costs rising, we need to explore all the options to make sure that we are making the right investment at the right time. 


Reviews are underway. We will keep schools informed on progress.

Following the reviews, projects will go through the Ministry's assurance and prioritisation processes. These will be linked to Budget outcomes, with decisions for many schools being communicated from June, in particular growth projects which rely on the outcomes of the annual Budget process.

However, not all projects will need to wait until June to proceed. Schools identified as having urgent needs will proceed sooner.

Possible outcomes

Once a review of a school’s project is completed, our project delivery team will discuss outcomes with the school.

One or more of the below are possible outcomes of a review.

  • The project proceeds as planned.
  • An alternative solution is identified, for example a repeatable design.
  • The project will be staged and funded over multiple years.
  • The project scope is reduced to focus on the core infrastructure issue that it’s intended to resolve, achieving better value for money.
  • The project will improve existing spaces rather than build new.
  • The project is paused because it needs to be redesigned and/or because it has not been prioritised at this time.
  • The project is not needed right now and will be revisited in future to see if anything has changed. This scenario may apply when, for instance, roll growth hasn’t occurred.
  • The project is cancelled because a non-property solution is available to resolve the need, for example, re-zoning a school due to a reduced roll.

Once we have the design, we will get projects to the shovel-ready stage so that they are ready to proceed to construction once they are prioritised for funding.

More information

Learn more about the benefits of offsite manufactured buildings for new spaces:

Offsite manufactured buildings for new spaces at schools

Learn more about repeatable designs:

Standard property solutions for schools 

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