That is why the corona crisis could help school construction

That is why the corona crisis could help school construction

At least for one area, the corona crisis could also bring advantages – school construction. A number of districts sent a signal on Monday that the almost empty schools make building easier because less consideration has to be taken: “building freedom” is the magic word. In addition, construction companies offer their services to which other orders – due to the rental cover or as a result of the corona crisis – have been lost.

The construction community therefore appeals to the state and the districts to take the opportunity and react quickly. A corresponding letter is currently in the works and should reach the offices on Tuesday, was the announcement on Monday at the request of the Tagesspiegel.

“Put the orders out”, is the demand from Managing Director Manja Schreiner after corresponding signals from member companies of the specialist association regarding pending orders reached her: Everything that was “in the pipeline” should be quickly awarded as an order. As long as the schools are closed, there is “the perfect phase” to push ahead with construction projects, emphasizes Schreiner.

“Building freedom” is the magic word

In many districts, this appeal is likely to be met with open ears. “We are trying to use the freedom of construction,” announced Mayor and City Councilor for Education Helmut Kleebank (SPD) on Monday. This applies, for example, to the major renovation cases at the Paul Moor School and at the Staaken cloverleaf. Oliver Schworck, the SPD City Councilor for Education at Tempelhof-Schöneberg, also sees this. He also suspects “that the construction measures can be intensified” – not only because of the freedom of construction, but also because companies that have more capacity than before have registered.

“There seem to be more resources,” observes Schworck, and thereby confirms what the construction community reports. He would find it “a shame if we didn’t use the certain amount of space now”.

Only four children in emergency care

It is obvious that almost all schools are almost empty. Several education city councilors said in a broadcast of the daily mirror that there are even schools with only one emergency care pupil . They did expect that there could be more because the conditions for emergency care have been relaxed since Monday. This was already evident in several day care centers . But there were also schools that had fewer students on Monday than last week: “We had eleven children registered, but only four came,” reported one primary school director, who not only sponsored her children from 7.30 a.m. to 2 p.m. organized, but even early and late care by the day care provider.

Participation should not be waived

In Marzahn-Hellersdorf there are currently only 400 children at 30 primary schools and support centers in emergency care. City Councilor Gordon Lemm (SPD) therefore also expects more construction freedom. Nevertheless, he does not expect the school renovations and new buildings to accelerate because there are additional obstacles as a result of the Corona crisis. As an example, he gives delays in the participation procedures that are required for large projects: they should be canceled due to the initial restrictions. However, efforts have long been made to ensure participation by means of video conferences or telephone calls.

From the home office to the allocation platform

Not only Lemm reports, but also Torsten Kühne (CDU ), the Pankow City Councilor for Education. “The motto is: continue building everything as planned,” emphasizes Kühne. The freedom of construction is “a big advantage”. In individual cases, construction companies now have even more capacities than before, the Pankow city council confirms the signals from the construction community. The advantage now is that every administrative employee can access the award platform of the State of Berlin. Thus, the home office does not have to hinder tenders.

The City Council for Education, Mitte, Carsten Spallek (CDU) reports: “So far, the construction sites have continued”. “More” is not yet possible, because you have to order first. But, says Spallek, “we are checking whether small-scale measures can be ordered in the short term.”

First problems with suppliers

The school building offensive is benefiting from the fact that the construction industry has so far hardly been restricted. This means that the companies can continue to build. State Secretary of Education Beate Stoffers (SPD), however, pointed out on request that problems “occur with suppliers and subcontractors from abroad”.

“Knock out the orders”, demands Manja Schreiner, the managing director of the Berlin and Brandenburg construction association. Photo: Kai-Uwe Heinrich

Where these problems do not exist, the short time should be used to build as quickly as possible, schools and city councils want. However, it is not uncommon elaborate tender conditions and long deadlines that stand in the way of acceleration. For this reason, the construction community appeals to the authorities to arrange for more direct awards: “This would make the award procedures much easier and shorten deadlines, especially in view of the thin staffing levels in the offices,” Schreiner expects.

Great cleanup in the crisis

The education councilor of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Andy Hehmke (SPD), also points to another positive side effect of the school closings: Since the cleaning companies now had less to do with the obligatory daily cleaning, they suddenly had the capacity for special cleaning or special requests from schools: “We don’t want the companies to separate from staff,” emphasizes Hehmke.


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