Property done properly; why you don't need to wait for emergencies..

Ahead of the Academies show on 22 November at the NEC, Seán McMulkin, head of facilities management (FM) shares insight into the FM obligations of schools and academies and explains why you don't need to wait for emergencies…..

Did you know… In it’s latest list of statutory policies and documents for academy trusts and schools, the only guidance the Department of Education offers is; “There are many aspects of school premises that require safe management and maintenance such as asbestos, fire safety and statutory testing”.

Don’t leave it to chance... Your plant equipment is literally the engine room for the harmonious day to day lifecycle of your building users and your business. Many have neglected its importance and have the scars to prove it with horror stories around freezing children, burst boilers, floods, leaks and building closures. All spell out huge inconvenience, expense and disruption to your learners, staff, families and beyond.

Know your assets… Most academies will of course implement their own FM policy but I strongly recommend you seek professional help and guidance to ensure all assets are identified and safely maintained.

Prevention is better than cure…  and planning ahead will enable you to comply with the plethora of confusing regulations and guidance around your equipment easily and as part of your ‘business as usual’.

To help you plan ahead and avoid the worst, I advise you take a look at the excellent publication “Essential School Maintenance: A guide for schools” (Education Skills and Funding agency, 2016) which strongly recommends that academies should draw up and follow an implementation plan for identifying and carrying out maintenance to keep buildings and equipment in good working order.

Seán’s top five must-dos for site supervisors, business managers or head teachers; 

• Make arrangements for inspection and testing of plant and equipment at the appropriate time.

• Procure, co-ordinate and supervise contractors to ensure effective and efficient service delivery (including necessary safeguarding procedures)

• Documentation management is also key; you will need evidence of certificates of compliance and qualification checks on contractors for OFSTED or safety inspections.

• Keep reports of all statutory Health and Safety contracts including the date of the last inspection, and the due date of the next.

• Devise an effective FM and control framework for the safe delivery of  your maintenance and capital works. Avoid the common mistake of making the plan without fully understanding the costs or how your works can be delivered to maximise value and positive impact on education.

All of these elements can be taken care of through the flexible Acivico Statutory Testing and Repairs for Schools (STARS) package. Seán McMulkin will be at the Acivico stand B52 at the Academies show on 22nd November at the NEC to advise how we can take the headache away with this one stop shop for all your School or Academy needs. He will also be sharing advice on how to add value through better planning, monitoring and evaluation of your current FM processes and plan for the future by assisting you to manage your premises and other assets to optimum delivery and value.