Toronto District School Board
Skip to main content

Design and Construction Process

New Schools and School Additions

The Toronto District School Board assesses areas of sustained overcrowding where additional pupil places are required on an annual basis. When a school is projected to remain overutilized for the next ten years, and the surrounding schools do not have space available, the best solution is to build additional pupil places through a capital project such as an addition or a new building.

Schools are also assessed based on their Facility Condition Index (FCI), which measures the condition of the school building expressed as a percentage. Although the FCI rating does not reflect on the safety of a school building, when this value is too high, the TDSB assesses the possibility of replacing the school instead of fixing it.

School boards can apply for funding for construction projects from the Ministry of Education through the Capital Priorities program. The Ministry establishes the number of business cases that school boards can submit and the type of projects they are interested in considering for funding; however, not all projects get approved and funded.

If/when a project is approved; the TDSB needs to select an architectural firm. In order to do that, the Capital Projects Management (CPM) team prepares a Request for Proposal (RFP), which is a document that includes the project description, school programming, milestone dates and scope of work.

Proposals presented by interested architectural firms are evaluated by the CPM team. The CPM team submits a report to the Board of Trustees, recommending an architectural firm.

If the Board approves the recommendation, a project supervisor is selected to represent the Board and manage the project throughout the six phases, from design, up to the completion of construction.

PHASE 1: Preliminary Design

The architect assembles a group of design sub-consultants to provide the professional services required to complete the project (e.g. civil, electrical and mechanical engineers).

At the start of the design phase for a new school or addition, a New School Review Team (NSRT) is formed to review and provide feedback on the design options. Depending on the scale of the project, the NSRT would include the local trustee, superintendent of education, school principal, TDSB facilities team leader, additional school staff; and/or, school parent and local community representatives. The NSRT needs to sign-off on the design, before it can go to the Board for approval.

Board approval is needed prior to submitting the drawings for Site Plan Approval (SPA).The SPA process can involve several submissions and take up to 18 months.

PHASE 2: Design Development

During this phase, the architect meets with the project supervisor on multiple occasions to review the drawings and look at details such as materials to be used and the condition of the building systems (e.g. electrical grid, pipes, etc.).

To ensure the project remains on schedule and budget, the project supervisor hires a cost consultant to estimate the construction cost, and a commissioning consultant, who works with the architect and engineers to coordinate the design of the building systems. This will ensure they will function properly and efficiently.

PHASE 3: Contract Document

The TDSB starts a tendering process to hire a general contractor.

Once proposals are received, the CPM team selects three pre-qualified bidders, based on their experience.

During this phase, the TDSB should receive partial or full Site Plan Approval from the City of Toronto, which would allow the project supervisor to coordinate with the architect the necessary documents to apply for a building permit.

The Board needs to review and approve the project to ensure it is still within budget and follows the building program (e.g. number of rooms and size).

PHASE 4: Tender Phase

CPM staff shares the drawings and requirements with the three pre-qualified bidders (general contractors).

A bidder is selected based on the quote submitted, experience and schedule (availability).

The CPM team submits a report to the Board of Trustees recommending a general contractor. Board approval is necessary to proceed with the construction.

PHASE 5 - Construction

A pre-construction meeting is held prior to the start of construction. In this meeting, the TDSB supervisor reviews with the contractor the TDSB policies, procedures, health & safety plan, construction management plan and scheduling.

Bi-weekly site meetings are held on site to keep all parties informed. Depending on the scale of the project, the project supervisor, architect administrator, general contractor and school principal may attend these meetings.

When the project is completed, the commissioning consultant and general contractor inspect the building for potential deficiencies. Once all deficiencies are addressed, the general contractor provides the TDSB with the close out documents. These documents confirm that here are no outstanding claims.

Before the building can be opened, the TDSB should obtain an occupancy permit from the City of Toronto.

Building a new school takes approximately 24 months.

PHASE 6: Post-Occupancy

Within the one-year warranty period, the project supervisor coordinates a warranty inspection of the building and site with the architect and general contractor.

Any warranty issues need to be corrected by the general contractor.