The government’s Condition Improvement Fund, administered by the Education and Skills Funding Agency, is designed to provide capital funding to keep academy and sixth form college buildings safe and in good working order. In this post, we look at the challenge of applying for funds from CIF for repairs and replacement to your school roof, and provide advice on how to succeed in your application.
What is CIF Funding?
Every year the Education and Skills Funding Agency announces the funding round for the following academic year in September; applications are made in the autumn and the results of applications are announced at the end of March. We’ve outlined the process of applying for CIF funding using our services here. This service is free to schools who avail themselves of our professional advice and support. CIF funds are available for the improvement of the condition of school buildings, and a few expansion projects. In their 2017/18 document the EFA stated:
“We will give the highest priority to condition projects that address compliance and health and safety issues. These include fire protection systems, electrical safety or emergency asbestos removal. We will then give priority to projects that ensure weather tight buildings and continuous heating and water supply.”
Clearly leaking roofs should qualify for funding, however not all applications are successful. Why is that?
Why CIF funding school roof replacement is such a challenge
Funding your school roof repair is increasingly difficult for several reasons.
- There is increasing demand for school roof refurbishment: We work on school roofs all the time, and we are increasingly coming across schools that are in a state of disrepair due to lack of appropriate maintenance over recent years, due to lack of funds for regular maintenance, or poor design or repair.
- More schools are applying for CIF Funding: Whilst the number of academies has increased from a few hundred to over 6,000 in England and Wales today, the pot of funding available has not grown in proportion, so it is more difficult to win a bid.
- Fewer academies are successful with CIF Funding bids: Although the need for funding for essential repairs to roofs and other elements of the building fabric is increasing, fewer applications are successful. In 2016-17 the success rate was 50%; in 2017/18 it was just 38%.
- Academies are not familiar with the process or are poorly advised: Let’s face it, knowing how to apply for government funding is a special skill, and many schools make simple mistakes, just because they don’t have the experience.
How to succeed with CIF funding
Here are our tips for succeeding with a CIF Funding Application for your leaking school roof:
- Start planning early. Don’t wait to contact us until September if you possibly can. The earlier we can start the process preparing the bid the more likely it will be successful. There is no financial commitment on the part of the Academy at all, so you won’t be charged anything, and there is no disadvantage if you contact us right now.
- Only apply if you have a good chance of success. We only carry bids forward that we think are successful. A school can only bid for two projects a year – for example, a roof replacement and windows, so it is wise to evaluate the likelihood of success early on.
- Make the Strongest bid possible. A strong bid with the right content will make your project stand out from the thousands of others the assessors must evaluate. Make sure that it clearly identifies all the risks and issues, use the appropriate technical language, and prepare a concise and detailed report that makes the most of a limited file size you can submit.
- Partner with the Experts. Use an experienced and competent partner to put the bid together for you and take their advice. SIG Design and Technology and their team of surveyors have considerable experience and a recipe that works. We can help you avoid the pitfalls.
- If you Failed Before, get Advice. There is an appeal process but you still need to know what you’re doing to get through it. You’d be surprised at the simple mistakes schools have made about what to include in their submission!
How we do CIF bidding for school roofs
We’ve developed a team of people who understand how CIF funding works. SIG Design and Technology are roofing experts with years of expertise and a network of accredited contractors. Working with our experienced partner surveyors, we can make the bidding process very simple and successful. Here is how the process works with us:
- Initial meeting with SIG Design and Technology. We explain the whole process and what we expect from each other. We also confirm whether we think there is a problem with your roof and carry out an initial evaluation of the prospects for winning funding.
- The School agrees to proceed with the detailed survey and that SIG Design and Technology will be the bid partner. There is no financial commitment.
- Our Surveyor attends the school and carries out a complete detailed survey of the building with photographs, testing and samples and collect all the information required to prepare the report.
- The Comprehensive Survey Report and Bid is compiled with the Surveyor and copied to the school.
- The School submits the bid, with our assistance if necessary.
- Once the bid is successful, we are with you throughout the project, including nominating installers and managing tenders, inspections and the issue of warrantees. Find out more here.
Use the Roofing Experts for our CIF Bid
Bidding for CIF funding for your roof repairs can be daunting, but with the right advice and experience on hand it doesn’t have to be a bind. Get in touch with us today to book your initial meeting, or if you have any questions please ask them in the comments below, or contact us via the enquiry form.  CIF 2017-18 Outcome: “We received over 3,800 applications this year…CIF 2017 to 2018 provides funding of £466 million for 1,435 projects across 1,184 academies and sixth-form colleges” Image: Calculator by Kilysang (creative commons)