SWJ Consulting has worked with many educational establishments from new-build primary schools to the refurbishment of secondary schools, colleges and universities. Our use of digital construction technology enables us to deliver solutions in a dramatically reduced time frame, as well as a successful build with minimal disruption. 

Since capital funding was significantly reduced in 2008, further education providers have struggled to expand and improve their facilities. However, in successive budgets of 2020 and 2021 the UK Government have committed significant capital funding over the next few years. But with over 200 further education institutions in England, competition for funding is high, and schemes need to demonstrate value for money and be fit for purpose. SWJ Consulting, in collaboration with our construction professional partners, has the expertise to help you overcome your challenges, and to create outstanding facilities.

What is the Further Education Capital Transformation Fund (FECTF)? 

The Further Education Capital Transformation Fund has been set up to deliver the government’s commitment to upgrade further education (FE) college estates in England over five years. It had been thirteen years since the government last released significant funds for FE but the FECTF will now enable colleges to apply to redevelop their estates.

The FECTF aims include: 

  • Upgrade the FE college estate and significantly reduce the proportion that are not fit for purpose or are in an unsatisfactory condition
  • Ensure FE colleges have the buildings and facilities they need to support the skills needs of their local labour market, and develop strong relationships with local employers
  • Contribute to local economic regeneration and the levelling up of skills and opportunities across the country 
  • Promote optimum space utilisation and more efficient use of facilities 
  • Support government objectives on environmental sustainability 

The fund has been set up predominantly to address condition improvements such as walls, roofs and electrical services. In exceptional circumstances, the fund may also be used for certain remodelling, expansion and demolition projects. Money will be awarded on a match-funding basis, with FE institutions expected to contribute up to 50% of the project’s value. Only projects with a minimum value of £500,000 (excluding VAT but including match-funds) are eligible, to ensure significant improvements are delivered, keeping the focus on strategic schemes. 

The application process for the fund is in two stages: 

Stage 1 considerations include: 

  • An assessment of an application’s overall eligibility 
  • The scale of the issue to be addressed 
  • How the proposals would deliver the solution 
  • Efficient use of existing space and facilities
  • How the proposals would support reforms to further education and technical education and the skills needs of the local economy 

The purpose of the Stage 2 application is to select those projects that best demonstrate robust and deliverable solutions, and which offer value for money.  

This includes: 

  • High-level planning and budgeting details including project design information
  • The planned project expenditure profile 
  • A capital project delivery risk management plan 
  • A detailed project plan 
  • A detailed elemental cost breakdown. 

SWJ Consulting can help you with your FECTF applications 

We have extensive experience in remedial, refurbishment and new-build projects across all sectors including education. We are skilled at meeting the challenges of tired estates where initial investigations and focused structural appraisal of existing buildings are needed to understand what the best solution will be. Quite often, the issues are multi-faceted and require a collaborative design team approach and appreciation of issues such as environmental engineering, which we are well-equipped to do.  

Stage 2 of the FECTF requires detailed solutions to be submitted, to demonstrate value for money and reasonable cost certainty. SWJ Consulting are experienced in working with contractors in a design-and-build environment and actively participating in the value engineering of projects to meet our clients’ tight budgets. Our use of digital construction technology enables us to model and test solutions, enabling better cost certainty by predicting and avoiding problems. 

Click here to see the full FECTF application guidelines. 

For more information about the Further Education Capital Transformation Fund (FECTF) or to discuss your requirements, contact SWJ Consulting on 01993 225085 or email mail@swjconsulting.co.uk