Calls for Qualifications for Designers and Builders

Suggestions for inclusion in Calls for Qualifications, Tenders, and Contracts for Schools

1998 (updated 2008)

The more messages about environmental issues that are placed in tenders, the sooner contractors will realize the marketplace is demanding more environmentally healthy and responsible actions and materials. Tenders for school construction and renovation should include a clear requirement that companies applying be able to provide up to date environmentally healthy materials, design, processes, and results. That is, Environmentally Healthy Schools.

Include Source Control, such as low-emission building materials such as urea- free plywood, no plastic pipes for drinking water, state of the art ventilation systems with unlined pipes, no carpets, and much more. Safe school design is specialized work. Several resources, such as the CMHC’s Building Materials for the Environmentally Hypersensitive, can be useful. We understand that in some Scandinavian countries there is a gas-off period of several months before children enter new schools.

Suggested Clauses:

  1. The ———- School Board recognizes the need to be environmentally responsible in the acquisition of its goods and services because of the impact of hazardous products and services on the environment of teachers, students and support staff. This Environmental Responsibility will be exercised by selecting products and services that foster this goal, balanced with product economy and availability.
  2. For product consideration, a current Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) must be submitted with each sample in your bid response. Bids received without samples and MSDSs will be rejected.
  3. Responses to this tender call are to indicate the products that are available in returnable or refundable containers.
  4. The successful supplier will be required to substantiate any environmental and safety claims prior to the award of the contract. In addition, the maintenance of the agreed standard will be a performance measurement criterion in the contract. Failure to maintain the standard will result in cancellation of the contract.
  5. Product Characteristics: Suppliers proposals will be evaluated on the basis of the environmentally responsible aspects of their proposal and should address this aspect in their response. For example,
    • Products meeting health standards such as Envirodesic evaluation. (Ecologo standards may be acceptable, but human health must be given priority.)
    • Products containing least toxic chemicals/materials possible to do the task, and with instructions for safe use.
    • Products that are fragrance free/scent free.
    • Products that are provided in recyclable or refundable containers.

For Cleaning and Maintenance Services: Standards of performance in this contract will be 2 monitored by the appropriate authority designated in the contract. For example, the principal of the school or other person authorized in writing. A contractor or service supplier who fails to meet the standard after the first warning will be penalized (x)% of the monthly fee. The standard not met in two consecutive months will constitute a fundamental breach of contract and such contract may be terminated at the sole discretion of the Board. Acceptance of this contract clause is a condition of the contract.

Contracts for both custodial and maintenance work need to include:

  • Cleaning of all schools from top to bottom at least once a year and using least toxic cleaning products and Safe Work Practices to protect sensitive children and others from possible dust/dirt and chemical exposures.
  • Logs should be kept on site for all maintenance to heating and air delivery equipment.
  • New job definitions making overnight/evening, weekend, and summer maintenance work the normal (not overtime) work hours for much of the ongoing maintenance work.
  • Annual cleaning of windows inside and out.
  • Annual cleaning of radiators before the heat comes on in the Fall. Refer to the Department of Labour’s Draft Regulations for Indoor Air Quality and ASHRAE 62, 1996 for more guidance and suggestions.
  • Annual cleaning of drapery using non-toxic fire retardant and cleaning process.
  • Regular cleaning of HVACS, and regular maintenance according to manufacturer’s direction.
  • Use alternatives to pesticides, with coordinator.
  • Regular radiator filter replacement.
  • Testing for Thermal Comfort, Carbon Dioxide levels, Moulds, Radon and Electromagnetic Fields and addressing of problem areas.
  • Purchase of several portable air filter machines (ie: Austin Healthmate, or Allermed products which have been designed for those with Environmental Health concerns.) for use in emergencies or in areas needing clean air.

(These are suggestions only. The Board’s lawyers should word the contracts following the intent.)

Robinson, for CASLE
Canadians for A Safe Learning Environment