28 December, 2013 - €15m to be spent on Prefab Replacement Scheme in 2014

Over €37m spent replacing prefabs over past 2 years

Over 2,600 students in primary and second level schools around the country will move into permanent accommodation from prefabs in 2014 under the Prefab Replacement Scheme.

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., launched the biggest initiative ever undertaken to replace rented prefabs in schools in March 2012. The original scheme provided funding for the replacement of over 458 prefab units. 

The second phase of the Prefab Replacement Initiative was announced in June 2013 and will allow 46 schools to replace 119 mainstream classrooms and 37 resource rooms.  The cost is estimated at €15 million with the majority of the spend occurring in 2014.

Speaking today, Minister Quinn said: “The prefab replacement initiative has been a great success, with over €37.2 million spent to date, 129 projects completed, and a further 29 projects on site.  While these are the figures, in reality it means that thousands of pupils and their teachers finally have a quality roof over their heads – often after many years of teaching and learning in prefabs.

“It is a real scandal that during the building boom years of the so-called Celtic Tiger, so many of our children were educated in sub-standard prefabs.  I am personally committed to eliminating prefabs which have become ‘permanent’ structures.” 

The Programme for Government contains a commitment to phase out the inefficient renting of prefabs. This commitment was based on the work Minister Quinn did in opposition to highlight the significant current expenditure on rental of prefabs.

“Replacing prefabs offers better accommodation for students and savings for schools and the Exchequer, as well as providing construction jobs. So I am delighted that we are building on our Programme for Government commitment and providing modern, high quality accommodation for pupils and teachers,” he continued. 

Replacing prefabs is part of the Government's €475 million education infrastructure plan for 2014. 

Over the last five years, the cost of renting school accommodation has dropped dramatically, from €39 million in 2009 to €25 million in 2013.

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

2012 Prefab Replacement Initiative

Under the Prefab Replacement Initiative 2012, approval was given to 170 schools to replace 458 prefab units with permanent accommodation.  In excess of €42 million was allocated, of which €37.2 million paid to date. 129 projects have been completed, with a further 29 projects on site. The estimated per annum rental savings when all projects have been completed is some €5 million.

Criteria for selection for inclusion in the 2013/14 initiative

·        Prefabs must be rented for a minimum period and be required for the long term i.e. any major project for the school is unlikely to be completed in the short to medium term or, if it is, the construction of the new classrooms will not hinder the extension and will reduce the scope of works required. 

·        The school site must be sufficiently large to accommodate construction of permanent build while continuing to use rented prefabs.

·        Permanent accommodation should be stand alone in the majority of cases, except where only one or two prefabs are being replaced. If schools choose to include a link corridor this and associated works to the existing buildings will be a matter for the school authority.

·        Funding must be drawn down within 15 months.

·        If the schools choose not to participate in this scheme the Department may move ahead with the purchase of the rented prefabs that are on the schools site.

·        The provision of this funding will result in any previous application for an extension being deemed to have been addressed and will be removed from the Department’s list of outstanding projects.

Schools which do not qualify for this scheme

·        Schools currently on the 5 year Capital Programme

·        Schools currently in rented prefabs on rented sites which will not be eligible for this scheme. 

·        Schools where their site would not accommodate the construction of new build while the rented prefabs remain on the site.

·        Schools who would wish to have work done to the existing building as part of any extension.

Recent expenditure on rental of temporary accommodation, including prefabs

The amount spent on renting temporary accommodation at primary and post-primary level, including – but not limited to - prefabricated accommodation in the last five years:

2013 Allocation - €25.3m

2012 - €24.7m

2011 - €28.9m

2010 - €29.3m

2009 - €39m