As is the case for any other premises where there is a need for both the buildings and the associated equipment to be carefully maintained over time, it is crucial that effective arrangements are put in place for the management and maintenance of educational facilities, such as schools.
A workplace that is well-managed and maintained is also likely to be one that teachers and other staff enjoy spending time in – which in turn, is likely to support positive teaching outcomes.
But what else do you need to know about why and how you should be investing in efficient and impactful facilities management in schools or similar educational setting?
Why is facilities management in schools so important?
With school leaders and teachers being under constant pressure to deliver the strongest possible results for their school and their pupils, effective facilities management can go a long way to helping them achieve this, making possible a pleasanter working environment and higher levels of attainment.
Here are just some of the ways in which school facilities management is important:
- Keeping buildings in optimal condition. School buildings hugely vary in their scale, nature, and condition. The ongoing and responsible management and maintenance of everything from the building fabric and plumbing systems to the lights and air conditioning – including both preventative and reactive maintenance – simply must be done.
- Keeping equipment in optimal condition. Every day, schools make use of essential equipment such as computers, gym equipment and laboratory equipment that will deteriorate over time. It is vital for those managing schools to be proactive in ensuring such key equipment is always in a condition that makes it fit for purpose.
- Complying with health and safety requirements. The employers of school leaders, teachers and other personnel that use the school premises are ultimately responsible for these individuals’ health and safety. If you are an employer of school staff, it is your duty to provide them with a safe working environment, which will necessitate having risk assessments carried out, as well as frequent monitoring so that maintenance and repair interventions can be made as and when required.
- Capital planning. Over time, your school will inevitably need to make big decisions on investments, such as commissioning new buildings to ensure the school continues to meet the latest requirements of students and staff. A strong facilities management strategy will aid your school’s efforts to make the best-informed investments at the right times.
- Saving energy and protecting the environment. Buildings contribute to a significant proportion of the UK’s CO2 emissions. A facilities management approach backed up by suitable software can be instrumental in ensuring your school makes all the right maintenance and investment decisions, so that you use energy more efficiently and reduce your school’s carbon footprint. It can also be crucial in planning for any processes that could present a risk to the health of pupils and other occupants – for example, the removal of asbestos.
What facilities management software features do schools need?
If you are considering a software package to help your school with its facilities management, you should ensure the following features are included in your chosen platform:
- Asset management. Do you know where all your school’s assets are, or even what they are? What about their condition, and when they are likely to need to be repaired or replaced? If your school doesn’t have strong asset management arrangements in place, it will not make the best use of its assets or resources.
- Inventory management. Schools are an asset-intensive environment, and it is crucial to be able to keep track of these assets. Doing so helps to minimise the loss of equipment, in addition to giving facility managers the benefit of improved inventory control. The leading facilities management software on the market can help schools to keep a close eye on what equipment is available, and which assets have been checked in and out.
- Work order management. When your chosen facilities management platform incorporates work order management, this means that it will greatly help you with the creation, tracking, completion, and analysis of work orders within your school. It will enable you to automatically schedule repairs, assign technicians, and track periods of downtime for your equipment.
What are the advantages of using facilities management software in schools?
If you’re looking to replace your school’s current manual facilities management method – such as the use of spreadsheets, which presents a high risk of errors and inaccuracies – with dedicated software, you can expect to unlock benefits like the following:
- Reduced spending. Schools and similar organisations investing in facilities management software is associated with a high return on investment (ROI). Software platforms like our own Vision Pro solution can assist your school in lowering its maintenance costs, as well as reducing costs incurred from having to replace lost or stolen assets.
- Extending the life of assets. As mentioned above, the equipment used in a school tends to deteriorate over time, to the point that it is likely to eventually become unusable. Having an effective facilities management platform in place will help your school to be more proactive in the maintenance of such assets, thereby helping to extend their useable lifespan.
- Extending the life of buildings. Much of the above principle – of intervening at earlier stages to help keep assets in usable condition for longer – also applies to the management and maintenance of buildings. It will be much easier for your personnel to keep on top of their annual maintenance responsibilities towards your school buildings if they have a software interface that allows them to easily review the tasks needing to be done.
- Taking a preventative approach. As we have cited the importance of being proactive in one’s maintenance approach towards school buildings and equipment. Facilities management software can make the implementation of effective planned preventative maintenance (PPM) arrangements so much easier and more straightforward. That, in turn, will help you to reduce your school’s ongoing costs while better managing any emerging risks to school safety and security.
For more information about the many ways in which Vision Pro could be the solution to your own school or other educational institution’s facilities management requirements, please feel free to call or email our team today. We would be pleased to arrange a demonstration of the software, so that you can get a sense of the real benefits it could bring to your school.