Planning and Building Unit

Who we are

Role and Function

The Planning and Building Unit is responsible for:

  • identifying the need for school accommodation
  • setting out the technical specifications for educational buildings
  • ensuring that standards are maintained
  • prioritising the allocation of resources
  • overseeing the delivery of the capital programme.

Planning & Building Unit Structure

The unit comprises the specialist sections listed below. The Management Structure identifies the management personnel and areas of responsibility assigned to each section.

  1. Forward Planning Section
  2. Site Acquisition and Property Management Section
  3. School Capital Appraisal Section
  4. Major Projects (Design & Construction Stages) Section
  5. Devolved Projects Section
  6. Third Level Building and PPP Section
  7. Financial Section
  8. Professional and Technical Section

What We do

The work carried out by each section is as follows:

Forward Planning Section

The primary function of Forward Planning Section is to analyse demographic and enrolment trends and anticipate future demand for primary and post-primary school places to ensure that sufficient school accommodation will be provided. This research informs identification of projects to meet future demands across the Planning and Building Unit.

The Forward Planning Section is also currently engaged in policy development in the following areas:

  • school patronage of new primary and post-primary schools
  • reconfiguration of patronage of existing primary schools through development of the Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity process

Site Acquisition and Property Management Section

The section is responsible for:

  • acquiring sites to meet the requirements of the School Building Programme
  • development and management of the Department's property portfolio including protection of the Minister's investment in sites and school buildings through legal indentures and school leases.

School Capital Appraisal Section

The section is responsible for:

  • processing applications from schools for major capital funding
  • processing applications for rental of temporary accommodation and additional accommodation
  • processing the applications for Summer Works Schemes
  • identifying projects to be prioritised to meet the accommodation needs identified by the Forward Planning Section
  • preparing briefs and schedule of accommodations for projects.

Major Projects (Design & Construction Stages) Section

The section is responsible for:

  • progressing major traditional building projects from the appointment of design teams through each stage of the buildings process including design, tender, construction and handover
  • progressing non-traditional projects such as design and build projects and rapid delivery projects through all phases of architectural planning from preliminary design to construction and final account
  • administering grants for furniture & equipment for major projects.

Devolved Projects Section

The section is responsible for:

  • Delivery of Major Devolved Projects
  • Delivery of projects approved under the;
    • Additional Accommodation Scheme
    • Summer Works Scheme
    • Prefab Replacement Scheme
  • Processing of applications under devolved schemes including;
    • Emergency Works Grant
    • Furniture & Equipment
    • Mould & Radon Remediation
  • Minor Works Grant

Third Level Building and Public Private Partnership (PPP) Section

The section is responsible for :

  • supporting the higher education sector through the delivery of accommodation and facilities
  • working with the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in relation to all third level capital matters
  • delivery of the Department's Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme
  • development of standard project documentation for PPP projects
  • development of variations of the DBFOM (design, build, finance, operate, maintain)concept that are appropriate the Irish education requirements
  • participation in the interdepartmental and social partnership advisory groups.

Financial Section

The section is responsible for:

  • making payments arising from the implementation and delivery of the Department's overall capital programmes in accordance with the Public Financial Procedures set out by the Department of Finance and in compliance with prescribed statutory tax requirements
  • provision of statistical information  regarding capital issues
  • management of  projects’ extensive reporting requirements.

Professional and Technical Section

The section is responsible for:

  • providing specialist technical advice and assistance as required to all sections within the Planning and Building Unit
  • development of policy and procedures in relation to capital works
  • research - planning and design of education facilities, energy efficiency etc. and development of design guidance and standard room templates
  • provision of assistance to schools and Design Teams at all stages in the progression of projects through the design and construction stages
  • production of a suite of documents to facilitate school design including design, procurement, construction and procedural advice.







Department of Education,
Planning & Building Unit,
Portlaoise Road,
County Offaly.
R35 Y2N5

Phone:  (057) 9324300


Contact details

See Also