Watts Sector

A stitch in time... saves money

The Government-commissioned James Review has called for all schools to carry out independent condition reports on their premises. In a funding climate where all expenditure is under scrutiny, now is the time to ensure that a diligent approach is taken towards the upkeep of school buildings.

Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) and Stock Condition Surveys are essential tools that enable property owners to monitor and control costs, as well as optimising the value of their property portfolios over a pre-determined timeframe. With academies around the country taking responsibility for their own budgets – and with maintenance issues high on the agenda – schools are under pressure to deliver a high quality teaching environment. That means continuing to deliver well maintained buildings that are fit for purpose.

Making the right decisions across the whole range of school buildings, from classrooms through to science, sports and arts facilities, requires a thorough, strategic and systematic approach, bringing together the critical components of building fabric and services, energy and carbon.

To manage school property effectively it is vital to measure performance and determine future requirements. A successful PPM programme enables schools to do this by relating the condition of their property assets to projected improvements and their cost over a range of different timescales. With carbon management now high on the green agenda, PPM also has a key role to play in promoting an understanding of the direct impact on carbon and energy reduction associated with a broad range of strategic property decisions.

A successful PPM programme is key to the effective management of any built asset and prompts consideration of a diverse range of property issues, timing projects to achieve economies of scale. A good example is that of a window replacement programme which could be tied in with other structural works, such as roof replacement or external redecoration, so that scaffolding only has to be erected once. With effective long-term maintenance in place, internal refurbishment programmes can also be scheduled to include disabled access work and works can also be brought into line with the green agenda so that for example, a roof replacement programme could incorporate installing a green roof.

In collaboration with Franklin & Andrews, Watts has now developed a software tool linking lifecycle cost with in-built carbon and energy impact assessments. One of the key benefits of this software is the ability to perform scenario testing on different maintenance strategies at the touch of a button, enabling schools to make the right decision about their asset strategy. This can be employed across an entire school estate or at micro level, looking at a single component, such as roofing, in one building.

For more information, contact Daniel Tapscott, Associate at Watts Group, on 0117 927 5800.

Watts Pocket Handbook

The Watts Bulletin is the technical companion to the Watts Pocket Handbook, the essential guide to property and construction, as used by professionals since 1983.

Watts Bulletin editor: Trevor Rushton.

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