Closing school property projects

Closing a school property project involves doing a final inspection, getting council sign-off and managing the defects liability period. These tasks are done by the project manager engaged for the project.

Level of complianceMain audienceOther


  • Boards
  • Proprietors
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Project Managers
  • School Representatives
  • Project Control Group

This guidance supports Project Managers to meet their duties and obligations while working on school property projects. We recommend having an understanding of the standard requirements of the role, and discuss them further with your board.  

Doing a final inspection

A final inspection must be organised with the school representative and project control group members.

While inspecting the construction site, the group checks and confirms that all:

  • areas are clean and tidy
  • tasks are complete.

If necessary, prepare a list of any incomplete or unsatisfactory items for the contractor to fix.

Managing the defects liability period

The defects liability period is the time allowed for the contractor to fix defects after completing the work.

  • These defects may be identified in the final inspection or during the liability period.
  • Unless items are under warranty, you can’t get the contractor to fix them under the contract after the defects liability period ends.

The contract states the length of the defects liability period according to the work involved. Specialist building features, such as heating systems, may have a longer period to allow a full year of use.

Maintenance retention sum

During the defects liability period, withhold a maintenance retention sum from the final payment to make sure that defects get fixed. The contract states how much to retain.

If the contractor doesn't fix defects within a reasonable time, discuss it with the board and follow the dispute resolution clauses in the contract.

You might need to organise another contractor to complete the work. Talk to the school’s Ministry property advisor first, as building warranties could be affected if work is completed by a different contractor.

You can ask the board to authorise paying the retention sum when all the work is completed to the specified standard.

Final paperwork

Getting local council sign-off

If the project required building consent, the council must issue a Code Compliance Certificate before anyone can use the building, unless you already arranged a Certificate for Public Use to permit the board to use a finished part of the building.

Local council requirements for school property projects

Final documentation for the Ministry

At the end of the project, you must send all the final paperwork to the Ministry so that we can close the project and pay out the retention sum.

You must complete the:

  • Occupancy Use Certificate
  • Construction Observation Certificate
  • Asset update form.

Find them here: Project management forms

You can send us your final documentation before you have completed the local council documentation.

Collecting the warranties; handing over the files

Collect all building and product warranties to provide to the board, along with the project documentation. The Board must retain the project file for the life of the building

The board needs to maintain the building/product in a certain way for the warranty.

Re-tendering for future projects

Let the board know that you will be letting the contractors go. The board can't retain contractors for a later project unless this work was included in the original tender and contract.

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback