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The school building of the future needs to be designed as a learning center for the entire community and involve many more members of the community in the school's design and planning. This idea of citizen participation reflects John Dewey's assertion that we not only need education in democracy, but also democracy in education. By engaging students, parents, educators and a wide variety of citizens in planning and designing schools as centers of community, the best aims of a democratic society will be served in both process and product.

The approval process required for the construction of school buildings requires that plans and specifications for all new school buildings, building additions, alterations and renovations used for school functions must be submitted to the Iowa State Building Code Bureau, a Division of State Fire Marshal's Office , prior to the public bidding process.  Plans and specifications must be submitted to the State Building Code Commissioner’s Office for review and comment if there is no local building code in effect in the local jurisdiction in which the construction is planned or is not enforced through a local building code system that reviews plans and conducts inspections.  A written response by the design professional indicating corrective measures taken to address the commissioner’s plan review comments shall be submitted to and approved by the commissioner prior to the issuance of construction documents for bidding.  Bidding may commence on a project after the preliminary meeting provided for in subrule 300.4(3) if all items on the preliminary meeting checklist have been resolved to the satisfaction of the commissioner. These plans should be prepared and sealed by an architect or an engineer licensed to practice in Iowa (Iowa Code 544A) . Fire alarm plans and sprinkler plans and specifications are required for the submittal, along with the plan review fee and the plan submittal sheets. The state is required to make comments on these documents within sixty days.  It is no longer necessary to submit plans to the Iowa Department of Education.

All new construction of school facilities used for educational use requires an architect. School districts are governmental entities that are empowered by law to enter into contracts for the construction of public improvements. If the estimated total cost of a public improvement exceeds the competitive bid threshold of $130,000, the governmental entity must follow the competitive bid law (Iowa Code 26.3) and have an engineer licensed under chapter 542B, a landscape architect licensed under chapter 544B, or an architect registered under chapter 544A prepare plans and specifications, and calculate the estimated total cost of a proposed public improvement. Public improvement (chapter 26.2) means a building or construction work which is constructed under the control of a governmental entity and is paid for in whole or in part with funds of the governmental entity, including a building or improvement constructed or operated jointly with any other public or private agency, but excluding emergency work or repair or maintenance work performed by employees of a governmental entity. For school districts, examples of public improvement projects include school facilities, transportation facilities, and athletic complex facilities.

Competitive quotations for public improvement contracts (chapter 26.14) shall be required for a public improvement having an estimated total cost that exceeds the applicable threshold amount of $72,000 for a school district having a population of fifty thousand or more or the threshold amount of $50,000 for a school district having a population of less than fifty thousand, but is less than the competitive bid threshold of $130,000. These thresholds may be adjusted upward periodically.  When a competitive quotation is required, the governmental entity shall make a good faith effort to obtain quotations for the work from at least two contractors regularly engaged in such work prior to letting a contract. Quotations may be obtained from contractors after the governmental entity provides a description of the work to be performed, including plans and specifications prepared by an architect, landscape architect, or engineer.

For new buildings or if site improvements are part of the project, a site plan showing compliance with State Accessibility Codes, Iowa Administrative Code 661-Chapter 302 and Chapter 18, is required.

Projects meeting the following definition must submit a Life Cycle Cost Analysis prior to construction: "...any public agency shall prepare a Life Cycle Cost Analysis for any new construction having 20,000 square feet of usable floor space which is heated or cooled by a mechanical or electrical system or for any renovation where additions or alterations exceed 50 percent of the value of the facility and will effect an energy system." Iowa Code 470

Boiler and/or Elevator Inspections, if applicable, are handled by the Division of Labor.

Information about portable buildings is given in Division VI of Chapter 16 of the Iowa Administrative Code 661 .

Local Building Code and Fire Code Officials in larger cities often have concurrent jurisdiction on educational occupancies with the State Fire Marshal's Office. It is important to contact these officials to determine the need for their review and approval of any construction projects.
 
A school district that uses secure an advanced vision for education fund moneys for school infrastructure [LOSST/SAVE] shall comply with the state building code in the absence of a local building code (Iowa Code section 423F.3(6)"c").  Because K-12 educational buildings, not located in jurisdictions which have been delegated enforcement authority from the State Fire Marshal, must already have plans submitted to that Office, the practical effects of this law are the following:  Plans for educational projects, which are required to be submitted to the State Fire Marshal's Office, will be reviewed for compliance with both the State Fire Code and State Building Code if the project is located in a jurisdiction that utlizes LOSST/SAVE moneys for school infrastructute and if the project is not subject to a local building code.  Requirements for plan reviews and inspections can be found in Iowa Code section 103A.10A and in Iowa Administrative Code 661--300.4.
 
Click here for more information on the plan reviews by the State Fire Marshal Division.
 

Iowa Code Chapter 26 Public Construction Bidding (effective January 1, 2007)

Specific areas covered in Chapter 26 are the following:

Competitive bids for public improvement contracts (Iowa Code section 26.3(1)).
If the estimated total cost of a public improvement exceeds the competitive bid threshold of $130,000, or the adjusted competitive bid threshold established in section 314.1B, the governmental entity shall advertise for sealed bids for the proposed public improvement by publishing a notice to bidders. The notice to bidders shall be published at least once, not less than four and not more than forty-five days before the date for filing bids, in a newspaper published at least once weekly and having general circulation in the geographic area served by the governmental entity. Additionally, the governmental entity may publish a notice in a relevant contractor organization publication and a relevant contractor plan room service with statewide circulation, provided that a notice is posted on a website sponsored by either a governmental entity or a statewide association that represents the governmental entity.

Prohibited contracts (Iowa Code section 26.5).  If the estimated total cost of a public improvement exceeds the competitive bid threshold of $130,000, or as established in section 314.1B, a governmental entity shall not divide the public improvement project into separate parts, regardless of intent, if a resulting part of the public improvement project is not let in accordance with section 26.3.

Bid security (Iowa Code section 26.8(1)). Each bidder shall accompany its bid with a bid security as security that the successful bidder will enter into a contract for the work bid upon and will furnish after the award of contract a corporate surety bond for the faithful performance of the contract, in an amount equal to one hundred percent of the amount of the contract.

Public Hearing (Iowa Code section 26.12).  If the estimated total cost of a public improvement exceeds the competitive bid threshold in section 26.3, or as adjusted in section 314.1B, the governmental entity shall not enter into a contract for the public improvement until the governmental entity has held a public hearing and has approved the proposed plans, specifications, and form of contract, and estimated total cost of the public improvement.  Notice of the hearing must be published as provided in section 362.3.

Competitive Quotations (Iowa Code section 26.14(1)).  Competitive quotations shall be required for a public improvement having an estimated total cost that exceeds the applicable threshold amount provided in this section, but is less than the competitive bid threshold established in section 26.3.

Alternative Procedures (Iowa Code section 26.14A).  When competitive quotations are required under section 26.14 for a public improvement, the governmental entity may proceed, in lieu of competitive quotations, as if the estimated total cost of the public improvement exceeds the competitive bid threshold under section 26.3.

If the total estimated cost of the public improvement does not warrant either competitive quotations under section 26.14 or competitive bidding under section 26.3, the governmental entity may nevertheless proceed with competitive quotations or competitive bidding for the public improvement.

Bid and Quotation Thresholds Pursuant to Iowa Code Section 314.1B

ALL Districts

Projects with an estimated cost of over $130,000

Follow all competitive bidding procedures

Districts with district-wide population of less than 50,000

Projects with estimated cost of $50,000 and under

No state requirements...check local board policies

Districts with district-wide population of 50,000 or more

Projects with estimated cost of $72,000 and under

No state requirements...check local board policies

Districts with district-wide population of less than 50,000

Projects with estimated cost of more than $50,000 but not in excess of $130,000

Follow semi-formal quotation process outlined in new Iowa Code chapter 26:

1. Make good faith effort to obtain quotes from at least 2 contractors regularly engaged in relevant work.

2. Plans and specs must still be prepared by an architect or engineer

3. Provide contractors with opportunity to inspect work site

4. Contractor must provide price for labor, materials, equipment, supplies

5. Designate time, place, manner for filing quotes

6. Record approved quotes in meeting minutes

7. Award contract to lowest responsive, responsible bidder or reject all quotes

 

Districts with district-wide population of 50,000 or more

Projects with estimated cost of more than $72,000 but not in excess of $130,000

Follow quotation process set out in part immediately above

 

The table above is meant to provide a broad overview only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. For legal advice, contact your school attorney for guidance.

Click here for the table of adjustments to the bid and quotation thresholds.

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on April 17, 2014 at 5:59am.