Management of school buildings

Management of the schools' estate


Management of the schools' estate is the overall responsibility of the Department of Education (DE) in conjunction with the Education Authority and can involve the undertaking of (i) major capital works; (ii) minor capital works; and (iii) maintenance.

The Department is directly responsible for overseeing planning and grant-aiding capital works in schools in the Voluntary Maintained, Voluntary Grammar, Irish Medium and Grant Maintained Integrated (GMI) sectors. The Education Authority (EA) has responsibility for capital works in the Controlled Sector.

Grant-aid for capital works in schools, for which the Department is responsible is paid directly to school authorities by the Department. However, as the EA is responsible for Controlled schools, the Department allocates funding for these schools to the EA.

Grant rates for funding can also vary across different school sectors, however, the vast majority of schools in the Province now receive 100 percent funding for capital works (see grant rates for schools).

Major works

A major work is a capital project that costs in excess of £500,000 and the following are examples of what a major capital project might constitute

  • Construction of a new school building (either to meet an unmet demand for child places or to replace an existing school building of sub-standard accommodation)
  • Construction of a new school building to facilitate the rationalisation/amalgamation of two or more schools
  • Extension and/or refurbishment of existing school buildings

Each year a programme of major capital works to be undertaken is normally announced by the Department.

As the cost of the eligible projects usually exceeds the resources available, funding is directed at those schools that are considered the highest priority based on educational need and Ministerial priorities.

The protocols for selecting which projects will advance to planning can be found on the Department's website at Protocol for the selection of major works projects.

There are a number of procurement routes by which a major capital project can be taken forward. These currently are

(i)  Conventional
(ii)  Design and Build
(iii) Public Private Partnerships (PPP)

Major works framework

Details of all Major Works projects can be found on the ISNI database at the Investment Strtegy for Northern Ireland website at ISNI database 

Minor works

A minor work is a capital project that costs less than £500,000 (excluding VAT) and the following are examples of what a minor capital project might constitute

  • Minor works schemes that meet inescapable statory requirements such as Health and Safety, Fire Protection and our statutory obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act
  • Essential minor works to ensure the integrity and suitability of the estate
  • Curriculum based minor works schemes that would meet currently unmet needs in schools
  • Minor works schemes where application has been made for a contribution towards capital works

Minor works are prioritised according to greatest need, for example, roofs over heads, health and safety and disabled facilities.

Minor Capital Works

The most recent joint DE/EA online Minor Works Call closed in November 2017.

As there is currently no call open for Minor Work applications, any issues meeting the current Ministerial Priority 1, i.e. Minor works that meet inescapable statutory requirements such as Health & Safety, fire protection and statutory obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act, require the submission of an ‘Unavoidable’ minor works application form, which can be obtained via a request to the Department’s Minor Works mailbox at the following e-mail address:-

The completed form will not be progressed without a statutory report in support of the application. Details of relevant reports are noted on the application form.

Unavoidable Minor Works Application forms are considered by the Department’s Estate Operations Team for schools within the Maintained, Voluntary Grammar, Grant-Maintained Integrated and Irish Medium Sectors. All completed application forms should be submitted to

Unavoidable Minor Works Applications for schools within the controlled sector should be made to the Education Authority at


Maintenance of schools in the Controlled, Voluntary Maintained and Irish Medium sectors is the responsibility of the Education Authority (EA) and the Department allocates maintenance budgets to the EA for this purpose.

Maintenance of schools in the Voluntary Grammar and Grant Maintained Integrated (GMI) sectors is the direct responsibility of the schools themselves, with the cost for this being met from within the schools' existing recurrent budget.

Information on RAAC

For FAQs relating to the use of RAAC in schools see this link.

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