Commercial surveying news from the Beattie Partnership

Schools and Rates: How Can Masterplanning Help?

With the 2017 Rating Revaluation on the horizon, the challenge to schools is to ensure that their rateable values - and the rates they pay - accurately reflect the condition they are in, and how they are functioning.

Responding to rates issues should be thought of strategically. Schools should be recording data about forthcoming budgetary expenditure, and about changes to building use since 2010. These are the issues that can have a significant impact on rates.

Schools evolve and have to make changes in response to rising pupil numbers and changes in the curriculum. How organised these changes are can very much depend on how well a school perceives the bigger picture. This is where masterplanning can help.

What Does Masterplanning Involve?

Masterplanning is an architectural process through which a school can obtain a better knowledge of its entire estate. Rather than looking at a school as a collection of buildings, it takes the site in its entirety, examining the age and condition of the buildings and rating them.

This information helps schools plan changes because it gives them a strategic overview. It can apply just as much to refurbishments and changes of building use as to new building work.

Alice Parker, Senior Project Architect at Pozzoni Architecture, points out that masterplanning is incredibly useful for working out the future allocation of resources, including budgeting.  It can also offer schools a curriculum analysis – matching future educational needs with physical building requirements.

Ultimately, masterplanning puts the systematic before the reactive, offering a fresh perspective to schools, especially where the business of evolving to meet changing demands has been less than coherent.

It is not always easy for schools to see the bigger picture, particularly where they are a combination of older buildings and newer developments. Masterplanning provides the right framework to enable them to develop a logical strategy for the future.

This in turn gives schools key information for business rates purposes, including budgetary expenditure, planned building projects, and changes to building use that might affect rateable values.

Paul Giness is featured in a masterplanning article in Property Aspects Magazine, which you can read here.  Alternatively, if you would like to further discuss the benefits of masterplanning, please contact us.