Back to school: Is your building ready?

RAAC isn’t the only problem schools should be worried about. So, how do you know if your building’s ready?

Ensuring safety and compliance

It is now more important than ever to make sure that your school buildings are structurally sound, whether that be checking for leaks, hairline cracking in support beams, or replacing outdated concrete.

Whilst the Government has forced over 150 schools to keep their doors closed until their individual RAAC problems are resolved, the Department for Education is consistently updating their guidance for schools - including good estate management.

Complying with these regulations is a legal requirement. Schools must be “in a good enough condition to keep pupils, staff, and visitors safe”.

Therefore, this will require the expertise of a Chartered Building Surveyor to ensure your building is safe and compliant.

Recommendations for your school

A Condition Survey is a thorough, visual inspection of the property. It involves analysing the school’s mechanical, electrical, and physical condition, alongside the property’s operational systems and external areas.

Building surveyors will be able to identify existing or potential hazards. For example, they can inspect the structural integrity of the school building to identify whether it can withstand various weather conditions or point out weaknesses in the property’s building materials.

Additionally, a Planned Preventative Maintenance Survey could also come in handy for large or multiple school estates.

This type of survey is a comprehensive assessment of the condition and operational efficiency of assets within a property.

It can provide an in-depth overview of running/maintenance costs over a certain period of time, protecting your estate from unexpected expenses or damages for years to come.

Why Surveys are important

From risks to health and safety to school closures, it’s vital for schools and academies to keep on top of maintenance and repairs.

Poor maintenance could potentially lead to legal claims and even leave the building in a vulnerable state, putting everyone in the school at risk of injury. This is where a Building Surveyor can help.

Surveyors are well-versed and up to date with the latest Government guidelines and can advise on all the necessary upgrades and fixtures your school needs to meet the latest safety standards.

They will address urgent health and safety hazards to ensure your school continues to provide a safe learning environment for all, and by appointing a surveyor to conduct regular surveys, this can also help schools by:

  • Rectifying issues early on before they develop into bigger problems whilst avoiding unexpected expenses
  • Providing accurate cost estimates for repair work
  • Allow schools to allocate funds and prioritise specific upgrade works
  • Identify and rectify breaches in compliance
  • Assist with applications for Government grants/funding

School condition surveys can be used to keep your property’s Asset Management plan up to date, working in conjunction with the Department for Education’s requirements.

Maintenance Planning

Planned Preventive Maintenance can aid in keeping a school's infrastructure in good condition and preventing costly repairs down the line.

Building surveyors can help schools develop a comprehensive maintenance plan that outlines the regular inspections and maintenance tasks needed to keep the facility in top shape. This can extend the lifespan of the building and reduce long-term maintenance costs.

Furthermore, building surveyors can prioritise maintenance tasks based on urgency, ensuring that critical issues are addressed before the start of the new term, minimising disruptions to the learning environment.

Energy efficiency and sustainability

Worried about your school’s carbon offset? A building surveyor can help estates reduce their environmental footprint by making their facilities more energy-efficient and sustainable.

They can assess the school's energy consumption and identify opportunities for improvement.

This could involve recommending upgrades to lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems ultimately reducing energy bills and lower running costs.

Additionally, building surveyors can advise on sustainable building materials and practices, helping schools make environmentally responsible choices when it comes to construction and maintenance projects.

After all, who doesn’t want to save on energy bills whilst also helping the environment, right?

Who are we?

Our team of Chartered Building Surveyors work closely with schools, academies, universities and local authorities across London and the South Coast to proactively navigate a changing horizon. From ensuring new projects are delivered on time and in budget, to delivering upgrades on behalf of councils.

Read more about our solutions here:

Reinstatement Cost Assessments

Technical due diligence

Project management

Dilapidations consulting

Cost management

Monitoring Surveying

Party Wall

Contract Administration

Planned Preventative Maintenance

Alternatively, email us at enquiries@sillencehurn.co.uk or call our Southampton team on 02380 014786 or London at 020 3143 2128.

If you're looking for the next steps in your career why not check out our latest opportunities and see if we align with you and your values!

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