Risk and Statutory Compliance – What exactly do schools have to do?
The management and maintenance required of school buildings can be complex. In addition to regularly maintaining existing buildings to ensure statutory compliance with the number of pupils increasing, the need to improve facilities, and of course, the drive to reduce costs mean that school facilities management teams need more support than ever before.
While reactive maintenance can be hard to predict, ensuring that good excellent quality standards are in place for planned maintenance programmes, and capital projects is vital to ensuring that schools remain compliant with relevant regulations.
Electrical and Mechanical Compliance in Schools
It can be easy to underestimate the sheer volume of devices and mechanical installations within a school environment. With technology becoming a bigger focus in education, most schools are now equipped with a raft of electrical devices from computers to interactive whiteboards. All electrical equipment and appliances such as boilers, smoke alarms and sprinkler systems must be regularly checked and managed, together with the fixed wiring which is tested every five years.
Fire Safety Management in School Buildings
UK fire safety regulations require all schools and academies to undertake risk assessments on regular basis to safeguard anyone who accesses the school in case of fire. The process of monitoring can be time consuming for premises managers, as regular checks of escape route, alarm systems and adapting the assessment when changes are made, need to be carried out.
Managing Asbestos in Schools
Any school built before the year 2000 is likely to contain asbestos. While, if undisturbed, asbestos does not pose a threat to the health of those in the building, there are strict regulations around the management of asbestos in schools.
There is a duty to manage asbestos for any public building. In order to keep management plans up to date, there needs to be an up to date asbestos register for the building – showing where asbestos is located, and the condition of the area. Should any refurbishment works be carried out, a comprehensive assessment of risk will need to be carried out by an expert.
Other Regulations School Building Managers Need to be Aware of
RIDDOR – It’s imperative that everyone who works within a school is aware of accident and incident reporting requirements. Schools, by nature, are very likely to encounter incidents that require reporting to the Health and Safety Executive. In addition to accidents, it’s necessary that staff are aware of reportable diseases, some of which are seeing increases in densely populated areas. It’s advisable that regular training is carried out with all staff to help them to understand the regulations.
Almost all commercial buildings will have substances which could pose a danger to people on site, such as hazardous cleaning materials. In secondary schools the risks are also increased by chemicals and compounds used for example, in science labs. In order to stay compliant, regular assessments should be carried out, and all staff should have regular training.
Managing and Auditing Contractors In Schools
With so many different facets of legislation and regulation covering the management of school buildings, facilities managers are likely to use a range of contractors to carry out works. This in itself can pose compliance risks, as the school is ultimately responsible for any work carried out by contractors. But how does a school without this expert knowledge evaluate the quality of specialist projects?
Gen² can assist schools and local authorities to safely and effectively manage school buildings. We can offer fully outsourced facilities management, which offers excellent value for money over the long term. We can help with project management of refurbishment projects, or building rejuvenation. Our consultancy services provide school building managers with reassurance that they can meet with all compliance needs. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 03000 416888.