A guide to taking over responsibility for maintaining a building in the education sector

Taking on the responsibility of maintaining a school or university building can be a daunting task. There are many things to consider to ensure that the building is safe and well-maintained. SFG20, the industry standard for building maintenance specifications, has produced a guide to help those responsible for maintenance in the education sector deal with commonly encountered challenges. Below is a short overview the 5 questions you should ask when taking over responsibility of a building.

Taking responsibility for maintaining a building in the education sector

 

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What are the important questions to ask when taking over responsibility for a building?

There are three main areas to prioritise. First, ensure that the necessary maintenance tasks are carried out to comply with legislation and keep everyone safe and well. Second, identify what maintenance is required to keep facilities available and operating as intended. Third, ensure that maintenance tasks are carried out by a competent person for that particular job. It's important to establish a detailed overview of the current systems in place and to understand the budget and resources available for maintenance and repairs. Engaging with the school community can also help foster a positive and inclusive environment.

What documents should you be provided with when you take over responsibility for a building?

It's important to be provided with building plans, risk assessments, maintenance schedules, emergency evacuation plans, fire safety plans, insurance information, vendor contracts, energy efficiency reports, environmental impact assessments, and health and safety policies. Having access to these documents can help ensure that the facilities are properly maintained and operate efficiently.

What should you do if you don't have the maintenance instruction manuals for assets?

Start by identifying the key assets that require regular maintenance, such as HVAC systems, plumbing, and electrical systems. Once you have a list of these key assets, reach out to the manufacturer or vendor to obtain the instruction manuals.

What should you do if you don't have the warranty for an asset?

A comprehensive approach should be taken to evaluate the condition of assets. This should include inspections of equipment, systems, and fixtures such as plumbing, HVAC systems, electrical wiring, and safety features such as alarm systems and emergency exits. After assessing the condition of assets, it's important to plan regular preventative maintenance tasks to ensure that any potential issues can be quickly identified and addressed before they become more serious.

What are the main considerations when you are setting up a new maintenance plan?

Setting up a new maintenance plan for school or university estates requires careful consideration of several factors. These include identifying the assets that require regular maintenance, setting up a schedule for preventative maintenance tasks, establishing a budget for maintenance and repairs, and ensuring that any necessary permits, qualifications, insurance, and safety procedures are in place before work commences.

In conclusion, taking over the responsibility of maintaining a school or university building is a significant task. However, by asking the right questions, obtaining the necessary documents, and setting up a comprehensive maintenance plan, it's possible to ensure that the building is safe and well-maintained. It's also important to stay up-to-date with legislation and regulation relating to building and asset maintenance to avoid fines, penalties, and even imprisonment. Regular preventative maintenance helps to identify potential issues before they become more serious and ensures that school and university estates remain safe, efficient, and comfortable learning environments for the students and staff.

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