Ministry-led infrastructure projects

A ministry-led infrastructure project for your school is an exciting time. It's also the start of what can feel like a lengthy and complex journey.

Like most commercial construction projects, planning and delivery takes time. We'll work with you as your project and timeline are developed, help you get ready for construction and navigate unexpected obstacles.

You can find more information on these topics in our booklet:

A guide to Ministry-led infrastructure projects [PDF, 616 KB]

School building process (Te Reo Māori)


Koni atu i te kotahi piriona tāra e whakapaungia ana e Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga ki ngā kura o Aotearoa ia tau. Ka waihanga mātou i ngā kura hōu waihoki ka whakatika, ka whakarauora, ka whakawhanake anō hoki i ngā kura e tū kē ana. Mā mātou hoki ngā kohinga whare ā-kura e whakahaere e kounga ai te whakaratonga taiao akoranga ki ia ākonga i Aotearoa.

He kaupapa nui ki te katoa te whakawhanake anō i te kura. E āta mahi tahi ana mātou ko ngā kura ko ō rātou Poari e whakatūturu ai i te whakarato rawa e tautoko nei i tō rātou whāinga mō te ako. Hei ia hinonga, mā tētahi Kaiwhakahaere Rawa Kaiwhakahaere Whakataka rānei e mahi tahi me te kura ki te whakahaere i te hinonga. Ka noho mai hoki tō te kura Kaitohutohu Whare rā roto i te pūnaha.

He whakamahi nō ngā kura i ngā rawa me whai wāhi ki te pūnaha hoahoa. Me motuhake pea te hoahoa a ētahi kura kia hāngai pū ai ki ō rātou hiahia. Tērā pea he kōwhiringa tōtika mō te kura tētahi o ā mātou hoahoa he mea hāpono te pai. Ina whai mahere mātou ka noho tahi mātou ko ngā mātanga hoahoa me ngā kaipūkaha e tutuki pai ai i te hoahoa ngā Ture Waihanga o Aotearoa. He paearu hoahoa hoki ā te Tāhuhu kei roto ko te pākaha mai i ngā huarere te mahanatanga te pūrama ngā orooro me te rere o te hau.

He pānga nui pea tō te whakawhanaketanga anō ki tētahi kura. Ka taea ētahi o ngā mahi whakatara te oti i ngā hararei kura heoti anō he wāhi toritori ngā kura, ā, me whai whakairo ngā mahi waihanga ki ngā whakahaerenga ā-kura. Ka āta mahi tahi mātou ko ngā kura ki te whakamahere i te haumarutanga o te katoa puta noa i te wā waihanga. Ka kapi pea i ngā mahere ngā akomanga rangitahi te whakaaetanga ā-pirihi ki ngā kaikirimana me ngā whakaritenga rānei i runga i te pae.

E whai ana mātou i ngā tukanga maha hei whakatūturu i te kounga o te whakawhanaketanga anō. Ko roto i ēnei ko ngā arotakenga hoahoa ngā hihiratanga hei te wā waihanga me ngā aromātai ā muri i te hūnukutanga ki reira. Ka oti te whare te waihanga ka whakaaetia e te mana whakahaere ā-rohe ka whakawhiwhi i tētahi Certificate of Public Use i tētahi Code Compliance Certificate rānei. E rite ana te whare kia whakamahia e te kura.

Mēnā e tīmata ana koe i tētahi whakawhanaketanga anō ki tō kura mā tō Kaiwhakahaere Rawa, tō Kaiwhakahaere Whakataka rānei koe e tautoko rā roto i ngā āhuatanga katoa o te kaupapa. He haerenga pakeke, heoti e whai hua tonu ana ā, ka koke tahi mātou hoki.

School building process (English)


The Ministry of Education Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga spends over a billion dollars each year on New Zealand schools. We build new schools, and we repair, refurbish and redevelop hundreds of existing schools. We also manage the school property portfolio to provide quality learning environments for all New Zealand’s ākonga.

Redeveloping a school is a big undertaking for everyone. We work closely with schools and their Boards to ensure we deliver facilities that support their vision for teaching and learning. For each project, an Asset or Delivery Manager will work with the school to manage the project. The school’s Property Advisor will also be involved throughout the process.

Schools should be involved with the design process as they will be using the facilities. Some schools may need a unique design to fit their needs. Other schools may find one of our proven reference designs is an efficient option for them. Once we have a plan we partner with design and engineering specialists to make sure the design meets the New Zealand Building Code. The Ministry also has its own design standards which include weathertightness, heating, lighting, acoustics and ventilation.

Redevelopment can have a big impact on a school. Some disruptive work can be done during school holidays, but schools are busy places and construction work needs to factor in school operations. We work closely with schools to plan for the safety of everyone during construction. Plans can cover temporary classroom space, police vetting of contractors, or site access controls.

We follow a number of processes to assure the quality of a redevelopment. These include design reviews, checks during construction and post-occupancy evaluations. Once the building is finished, the local consenting authority approves and grants it a Certificate of Public Use or Code Compliance Certificate. The building is now ready for the school to use.

If you’re starting a redevelopment at your school, your Asset or Delivery Manager and Property Advisor will support you through all aspects of the project. It’s a challenging yet rewarding journey and we’ll be with you every step of the way.

Roles and responsibilities

Boards and principals

It’s important that the Board and school leadership team commit time to this project to ensure the school’s vision is realised.

Throughout the project journey, you remain responsible for looking after the remainder of the school not affected by the redevelopment and for carrying out standard maintenance. Your property advisor will work with you to ensure the 5YA funding is available for essential work outside the scope of the redevelopment.

You are responsible for keeping your school community informed about the project. We can support you by helping you identify your key stakeholders, developing messaging and providing advice on timing.

Te Tāhuhu o Te Mātauranga | The Ministry of Education

We are responsible for ensuring that the required scope is met, that the design meets Ministry requirements and building standards, and that projects are delivered on time and within budget. The project delivery team will work with you to ensure the project delivers on your educational vision, and to minimise disruption to learning and teaching, especially during construction.


A project budget is allocated once the project's scope has been clearly defined and a business case developed and endorsed by the Ministry. Please raise any additional considerations that may affect the budget with your property advisor as soon as you are aware of them.

Planning your project

Master plan 

The master plan is a long-term planning tool intended to establish and guide the future development of your school site.

A master plan is needed when:

  • a site may need to expand to accommodate roll growth
  • the scale of building work impacts on the way the school operates
  • the scale of building work puts pressure on existing infrastructure, now or in the future.

A master plan also offers a long-term perspective, meaning not everything in the plan will be delivered at once. Your property advisor will continue to use your master plan to inform future planning.

The education brief

The education brief helps you to think about how you want to deliver education now and in future. When writing your education brief, ensure you focus on your school's educational, social, cultural and community activities so that designers, and the Ministry, have a clear understanding of what is important for your school. It is also to explain how spaces should connect with each other, your furniture and storage needs, and ICT requirements. These should be reasonably understood before design begins.

If you need help completing your education brief, talk to your property advisor.

Furniture and equipment

Furniture and equipment funding is available for upgrades and modernisation and new spaces.

Furniture and equipment funding

Building types

Reference designs

It is the Ministry's strong preference to use reference designs where possible and practicable. Reference designs are easily repeatable school designs that can support teaching and learning. They can be readily customised to school sites and individual school's needs if there is not a suitable reference design available. Bespoke design is only considered as a secondary option.

Reference designs

Offsite manufactured buildings

Offsite manufactured buildings are one of the Ministry's quickest and most affordable property solutions that deliver quality new learning environments that support excellent learning outcomes. The buildings are delivered in a shorter timeframe than traditional classrooms. Construction takes place in a factory offsite, minimising disruption to your school.

Offsite manufactured buildings

Time taken to design

There are three design stages before a main contractor may be procured for construction. Each stage takes about three months to complete, but may take longer, depending on how complex your project is. Generally speaking, the greater detail that can be included in a briefing to a designer, the less time a designer will need to explore your school's needs.

Preliminary design

During preliminary design, the architect will use your education brief to produce a concept design. During preliminary design, your architect will provide you with a design package that shows layouts, including use for each space, furniture and fixture plans, locations of windows, simple exterior views and proposed exterior areas. The general design of the building and types of materials used is finalised at this stage.

Developed design

Using the preliminary design plans as the foundation documents, the architect will design a building with code compliant systems. The project team will also be thinking about details such as colours and fixtures and will discuss these with you if they haven't already.

Detailed design

Once the plans are finalised, your architect will begin the building consent process and prepare working documents for construction contractors.

Quality assurance

When a school is being built or redeveloped, certain design standards must be met.

Ministry of Education school design standards

New Zealand Building Code requirements – NZ Legislation(external link)

Reviewing the design

Independent design reviews are completed at either two or three of the design stages, depending on the value and complexity of the project. The design assurance process supports schools and the Ministry by ensuring the design proposals meet all requirements.

Construction observers

During construction, our construction observation team works closely with on-site contractors for most major projects to ensure work is completed to the appropriate design standards.

Key focus areas include:

  • weathertightness
  • foundation design
  • use of appropriate materials
  • correct installation
  • ventilation
  • plumbing and drainage
  • health and safety compliance.

ICT requirements

The Ministry's aim is for ICT networks to be like any other utility in a school – it will just 'work' and work reliably.

For this to happen we need our network cabling installations to be consistently installed and maintained to the highest standard. If you have any concerns about your ICT requirements, email 

Preparing for construction

We will work with your school to enable smooth delivery of teaching and learning during construction. Minimising the impact of construction on teaching and learning is a crucial part of any project. This is considered early in the planning process, and we'll work closely with you to ensure school operations can continue as smoothly as possible once we get to construction.

Construction delays

Construction projects rarely go without a hitch. Sometimes, even a simple job can reveal unexpected and complex issues.

Issues can be mitigated, and problems solved, through good communication and by working together. We'll be with you every step of the way. We will share information with you regularly, but typically you won't be required to have input on the day-to-day on-site decisions.

Looking after your community 

Through the project journey, we will support you to develop internal and external communications about the school and to engage with your stakeholders.

Ask your delivery manager to help you identify key opportunities in the project lifecycle that would be useful to share with your school community and other interested parties.

Dealing with the media

Sometimes, a school project can come to the attention of the media. If you get a media query about your school project, please let your delivery manager or property advisor know so we can support you with accurate and consistent messages.

Health and safety management

School Boards have a legal responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2020 to ensure the health and safety of staff, students and others on the premises.

The project team will meet regularly with you to report on, and discuss, health and safety issues. If you have any concerns, talk to your delivery manager or property advisor.

Asbestos management

Where asbestos is present and needs to be disturbed or removed during a refurbishment or demolition, the project manager or main contractor will advise you, so that you can inform staff, students, parents, neighbours and others affected of the potential risks.

If you need help communicating about health and safety to your community, your property advisor or delivery manager are available to support you with your messaging.

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