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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 12 May 2015) . . Page.. 1624 ..

As I said, the beginning of the school year is always exciting, but the beginning of a new school has that extra level of engagement.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.

MS FITZHARRIS: Minister, how does the new school incorporate best practice in construction and procurement for major school works in the ACT?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Fitzharris for her question. The Coombs primary school is being delivered using a design-construct-maintain construction methodology. This is the first time that this has been used on a public school project. The process has introduced design and construction innovations and includes a maintenance component to the project.

This means that the construction contractor has a longer term interest in the quality of the building. The procurement process has resulted in a lower cost solution. Initial project savings have been in the order of $1.2 million. The fact that the builder was involved in the design phase of the project has allowed their experiences in building schools and other major facilities to be brought into the project.

This approach has resulted in the following design and construction innovations: simplification and consolidation of the building and landscape design; the use of a lightweight steel frame for construction; an improved heating and ventilation system; and the integration of external walkway structures to the building lines.

In a first for an ACT public school, the contractor will also maintain the facilities for a period of five years, with an option of a further three years. This cooperative working relationship between the construction contractor and the territory agencies has ensured that this project will be delivered on time, under budget and to a high quality.

The procurement process and the construction delivery methodology used for Coombs have delivered a value-for-money outcome for the territory. Whilst it is still being constructed, the walk-through yesterday showed that this will be a quality school and a school that will have strong interest from the local, and growing, community.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, why is it important that the ACT government continues to invest in new schools and in the maintenance of existing schools?

MS BURCH: I thank Dr Bourke for his interest. Schools are central to local communities, not only providing the opportunities for our children to learn and grow but providing valuable spaces for residents to meet, play sports and undertake other recreational pursuits.

As new suburbs are developed, schools are usually the first major community infrastructure and therefore become vital to connecting families and creating connected and healthy communities. Our new schools also provide 21st century learning environments.

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