Role of the board in school property projects

An overview of your role, access project management forms and further guidance on each project phase.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Boards
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Proprietors
  • Property Managers
  • Project Managers

Boards have a governance role in project management. You will be involved in developing the project brief, overseeing the work of a project manager, providing approvals and more. The relevant building standards and legislation for school property work are also linked to here.


Property projects have three phases: early, during, and the end stage of the project.

These are also referred to as planning, implementation and completion.

Boards have many responsibilities to adhere to throughout the life of a project. These include but are not limited to:

  • developing a project brief
  • engaging a project manager
  • appointing a project control group
  • providing project approval
  • keeping people safe at school while the project is underway
  • completing required documentation
  • accounting for project funds
  • closing the project file.

Working with project managers

All school property projects, no matter how small, must have a project manager. We recommend working with a professional property manager for projects of high value (even if they don’t need building consent), such as replacing all your carpet.

Does your project require building consent?

You must use a professional project manager. They will ensure all work complies with the Ministry requirements. Read more at Procurement to find out how to engage one using the Ministry’s procurement processes.

What if my project does not require consent?

You can use a non-professional project manager (e.g. board member or caretaker). You are still required to follow the Ministry’s project management requirements.

The board’s involvement at various stages of a project is required whether you use a professional property manager or not.

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

Read more

Project manager engagement
Role of a project manager in school property projects
Project management panels
Police vetting contractors

Designing schools

Designing learning environments and spaces will not just be part of your long term property plan. Maintenance, refurbishment projects, and other school property projects will require you to think about how the social, pedagogical and physical elements align in service of positive educational outcomes.

Designing learning environments

Minimum standards for quality learning environments

Property design standards and legal requirements

Summary of design standards
Legal requirements
Ministry requirements

Governing a school property project

Early stages

The project brief
Opening the project file
Appointing a school representative
Hiring a builder
Board member conflict of interest
Delegating functions

During the project

Board approval 
School safety
Local council

End of the project

Building update form
Returning unspent funds
Closing the project file

Project management forms

Many of these forms are the responsibility of the project manager, however if you are managing small projects yourself you will need to complete them.  

Project management forms

Also see the forms that must be completed in a procurement process.

School property procurement

Building standards and legislation

The relevant standards for school property work include the following.

The Building Act 2004 — NZ Legislation website(external link)
The New Zealand Building Code — MBIE website(external link)
Ministry design standards

Also see what is required in a procurement process.

School property construction procurement

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