In 1997, the state transferred the responsibility of school housing to the municipalities. This meant that municipalities became responsible for all costs related to the maintenance of the exterior of buildings, expansion, new construction, modification as well as construction defects. However, 2015 change in the law regarding primary education resulted in the forfeiture of municipal care for the maintenance and modification of school buildings for primary and special education. As of 2015, these schools are in charge of the general maintenance of their locations, whereas the municipality remains responsible, in special circumstances, for the repair of construction defects as well as structural damage, damage to furniture and educational packages.
Lengkeek was invited by the Waalwijk municipal government to investigate there was construction defect in the roof of a primary school. In practice, construction defects are fairly common. However, determining whether or not there is indeed a construction defect requires expertise. The answer to this question is very important as it determines who should bear the cost of the repair.
Research and advice
In order to get a clear picture, it is necessary to conduct a structural survey. The results of the structural survey show whether or not there is a construction defect and provide an estimate for the repair. For this purpose, we consult architectural drawings and conduct an on-site investigation. We also discuss the situation with a representative of the school in question. A draft report is then prepared and presented to both the municipality and the school board. The report summarises the findings of the investigation and includes advice regarding recovery.
The school board and Waalwijk municipality were both very pleased with the entire process. Our successful handling of the situation inspired Waalwijk municipality and all the local school boards to agree on enlisting the services of Lengkeek to investigate any future cases of possible construction defects. Furthermore, they have also agreed on sharing the costs related to our involvement.
In light of the recent legislative changes, it is expected that in the coming years, more municipalities will face similar cases.