Terms and conditions
Preschool place regulatory requirements
Centre-based services are regulated under the National Quality Framework (NQF). The NQF consists of the Children (Education and Care Services) National Law (NSW), Education and Care Services National Regulations, Assessment and Quality Rating process and National learning frameworks.
Applicants applying for a grant as part of the Start Strong Capital Works Grants Program must ensure that their capital works project is compliant with all relevant regulations and once the capital works are completed they must obtain a service approval for either:
- a new service with the intended number of preschool places; or
- an existing service with the intended increase in preschool places.
Applicants should carefully consider the requirements for obtaining or increasing their service approval and per day preschool places, taking into account the particulars of their project (i.e. standalone centre-based service, service located on or in close proximity with other schools or neighbours, multipurpose services, etc).
Although the below is not intended as an exhaustive list, applicants should consider the information provided in the resources below when preparing their application as it will assist in determining the number of preschool places that can be created through the capital works project:
- Education and Care Services National Regulations
- Childcare Planning Guidelines
- Guide to the NQF
- Staff to Child ratios
- Application guide for New Service Applications
Applicants should consider all relevant regulations and regulatory requirements as described in the above resources, including but not limited to the space requirements outlined on regulations 107 and 108 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations. Please note that as part of your application to the Start Strong Capital Works Grants Program you will be required to explain how you have calculated the proposed increase in preschool places in line with regulations 107 and 108 as a minimum. You will also be required to provide plans and unencumbered calculations prepared by a building practitioner to support your claims.
When considering space requirements, please note that in most circumstances Colas and Verandas are considered by the Regulatory Authority to be outdoor spaces due to being open to the elements and as such, typically they cannot be adequately heated and cooled in inclement weather for year round use. The area of a verandah may be included in calculating the area of indoor space only with the written approval of the Regulatory Authority. Additionally, a verandah that is included in calculating the area of outdoor space cannot be included in calculating the area of indoor space.
Applicants should seek their own independent professional advice if assistance is required on this area. For further information or inquiries about the regulatory requirements to obtain a service approval to operate a centre-based service or increase an existing service approval, please contact Early Childhood Education, Information and Enquiries on 1800 619 113 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Engaging a licenced building practitioner
The Start Strong Capital Works Grants Program aims to improve access to early childhood education by creating additional community preschool places in areas of need and demand across the state.
Applicants under the following funds are required to provide concept (building) plans drawn up by a licenced building practitioner as evidence to substantiate the number of community preschool places that will be created or maintained by the proposed capital works project;
- Minor Fund Application
- Crisis Fund: Stage 2 - Invitation to apply (ITA)
- Major Capital Fund: Stage 2 - Invitation to apply (ITA)
Concept plans drawn up by the building practitioner should substantiate the number of community preschool places to be created or maintained by the project, and align with relevant regulations and requirements. Calculations of unencumbered space should also be prepared and confirmed by the building practitioner to give certainty that the proposed community preschool places can be realised through the proposed capital works.
Plans must be prepared by an appropriately licensed building practitioner with adequate registration or accreditation with a relevant body. Before engaging a building practitioner, applicants should check their registration or accreditation with the appropriate body, for example:
Architects: refer to NSW Architects Registration Board
Landscape architects: refer to Australian Institute of Landscape Architects – Landscape Architects can only prepare or certify plans and calculations for outdoor spaces under Regulation 108.
Surveyors: refer to NSW Board of Surveying and Spatial Information
Certifiers: refer to Fair Trading NSW – Building Certifiers
Building designers: refer to Building Designers Association of Australia
For applicants seeking a service approval to operate from a school premises (and will be using school facilities), the Regulatory Authority may accept plans and calculations prepared by a licenced builder, or plans prepared by the Department’s Asset Management Unit (AMU).
Plans and calculations must contain the full name and licence/ registration/ accreditation number of the building practitioner that prepared them.
The plans must show all of the following information, as required by regulation 25(1)(b):
- the location of all buildings, structures, outdoor play areas and shared areas
- the location of all entries and exits
- the location of all fences and gates, specifying the type of fence or gate used or to be used
- the location of nappy change areas (if applicable), toilet and washing facilities and any food preparation areas
- the boundaries of the premises
- the landscape of, or landscaping plans for outdoor spaces that will be used by the education and care service, specifying the natural environments that are or will be provided
- a floor plan, indicating the unencumbered indoor and outdoor space suitable for children
- the location of any associated children's service
- calculations carried out by a building practitioner of the areas referred to in regulations 107 and 108 relating to unencumbered indoor and outdoor space
- the elevation plans of the premises.
Obtaining DA approval - guide for Centre-based services
This resource explains the development approval process for centre-based child care facilities, including the steps to follow in preparing a development application for submission to a consent authority.
The department is required to register a security instrument for Major Capital and Crisis grants. This is a mandatory requirement for high-value grants to ensure that the department’s investment and the delivery of additional community preschool places are secured for a 10-year period post-project completion.
The department and its legal counsel will work with Approved Funded Providers to negotiate the most appropriate form of security. The preferred security instruments are a mortgage (for providers that own the land) and a mortgage of lease. The time needed to negotiate and execute the security instrument will vary, depending on the complexity of your mortgage or lease arrangements and the value of your grant award.
The security instrument must be in place before the department can execute the Funding Agreement and pay funds to the Approved Funded Provider.
1. Application Outcome Letter
Provider receives application outcome letter from the department advising that they have been approved for grant funding.
2. Funding Agreement Package
Provider receives the:
- Funding Agreement Package
- Letter of Offer
- Terms & Conditions (Funding Agreement)
- Funding Specifications
- Project Plan with Milestones.
Provider completes and signs all documents, and returns these to the department.
The department works with the Provider to negotiate a security instrument to secure the funded preschool places for a 10-year period post project completion.
Once the security instrument is negotiated, it is fully executed by all parties, including the department, the Provider and the Landlord if applicable.
The department reviews the Funding Agreement Package documents to ensure they are consistent with the deliverables in the approved application and departmental requirements.
The department signs and executes the Funding Agreement.