School Facility Management serves to coordinate the management and maintenance activities of educational facilities. Discover all the tools to use
Any school, educational or research facility that has the objective of offering its students a quality education, must implement adequate maintenance processes. In addition to ensuring the proper functioning of buildings and equipment, they contribute to creating safer, more effective and engaging learning environments for their users.
Of course, each facility has unique needs and specific requirements to meet, so there is no universally valid approach to manage school buildings. However, if you are involved in the management and/or maintenance of school buildings you must rely on a solution that helps you optimize the entire process.
For this reason, I recommend that you try a school facility management software right away, a solution that allows you to monitor assets, plan activities and solve problems from a single centralized platform.
In this article, we will cover the meaning of School Facility Management and we will try to explain what are the tools and processes that teams involved in the maintenance of schools (or university campuses) should adopt to optimize the process and obtain a significant improvement of the educational system.
What are school facilities?
In the school system, the so-called “facilities” refer to the physical spaces, equipment (tangible) and services (intangible) necessary to support the training of students and the work carried out by teachers, managers, administrative assistants, technical personnel, and so on.
School facilities are a fundamental requirement for the creation of learning-friendly environments. They have a significant impact on the mental and physical growth of students and, in a sense, also on their academic performance.
Generally, educational facilities and spaces are designed for specific purposes and can be divided into two broad categories:
- buildings that facilitate teaching and learning;
- indirect support facilities.
The former are used to carry out teaching activities, provide opportunities for direct experience, conduct scientific investigations, carry out demonstrations and experiments, etc. This category includes, for example:
- classrooms, air-conditioned and heated properly, equipped with networked computers and interactive whiteboards;
- scientific, computer and technological laboratories, equipped with all the necessary items;
- libraries and areas for study and reading;
- indoor and outdoor areas for physical activity and sport;
- rooms for art, crafts, music and theatre.
The support structures serve, instead, to increase the effectiveness of education, increase the efficiency and productivity of students and school personnel, improve the appearance of the building and ensure well-being, cleanliness, order and safety in all environments. The above-mentioned category includes
- offices and meeting rooms;
- greens paces, atria and common areas;
- laundry facilities;
- areas for social activities;
- plant systems;
- security systems;
- devices and equipment to support the various activities.
Each school should use appropriate Facility Management processes for schools to ensure the quality of the services provided and the maintenance of its facilities over time. Let’s find out what it is.
What is School Facility Management?
The term School Facility Management refers to the set of processes and tools that allow to optimize the management and maintenance practices aimed at buildings, structures, equipment and resources owned by a school.
As in the case of residential buildings (or those intended for production, work and recreational activities of any kind), school buildings, and all facilities and equipment contained therein, are subject to wear and to the effects of time. Therefore, they require periodic maintenance in order to preserve the levels of safety and functionality.
School Facility Management processes make it possible to respond effectively to this need because they offer a strategic and innovative approach to the management of school structures. These processes are based on the use of software and cloud platforms that help Facility Managers to
- keep an inventory of school resources, specifying their location and conditions;
- assess which of these assets need to be repaired or replaced to minimise financial losses;
- automatically schedule repairs and maintenance activities;
- generate and track work and service orders;
- keep track of equipment downtime;
- configure preventive maintenance programs;
- control the costs associated with maintenance;
- produce custom reports that offer detailed metrics on which future projects can be based.
Among the potential of Facility Management, we also find the ability to integrate with Building Information Modeling. The use of properly realized BIM models allows you to manage the construction and plant components of a building even more effectively. If you want to learn more about this topic, I recommend that you read the article “Bim facility management: the importance of BIM in asset management“.
Why is Facility Management important for schools?
The proper maintenance of school facilities is paramount because it contributes to the creation of optimized study and learning environments, and ensures the improvement of the overall efficiency of the buildings.
The most important aspects when it comes to School Facility Management are
- the management and maintenance of buildings, premises and plants. This is performed through regular inspections and interventions, and also through preventive maintenance actions aimed at drastically reducing the likelihood of breakdowns or degradation in the operation of assets;
- the planning and organization of spaces, which favors the creation of more comfortable and welcoming environments for all users;
- the containment of energy consumption, through conservation techniques that reduce energy expenditure and promote sustainability;
- compliance with health and safety standards, through an adequate risk assessment and the formulation of appropriate emergency protocols that help keep pupils and teaching staff safe;
- the preparation of lists and inventories, which allow to document, track and organize resources of any kind;
- the implementation of preventive security measures, which may include the installation of code-based access systems, CCTV, intruder alarms, etc.;
- the planning of hygienic-sanitary activities, aimed at cleaning and sanitizing the spaces;
- the creation of purchase orders, for the supply of new equipment;
- the management and monitoring of work orders, which help to schedule interventions, assign technicians, reduce costs, etc.
How can you improve school facilities?
All schools should provide a variety of spaces, means, and assets at every level of education. This would promote student engagement and achievement, improve school staff productivity, and ensure compliance with safety, wellness, and hygiene standards.
In order to guarantee an effective improvement of school facilities and increase the efficiency of the educational system, it is important to encourage the implementation of Facility Management in schools through
- greater use of technology, to take full advantage of learning opportunities and improve communication;
- flexible use of spaces, which must adapt to different configurations to host special activities, meetings, conferences, shows, alternative educational programs, etc.;
- the design of classrooms of adequate size, easily accessible and characterized by good acoustics and lighting. They should be equipped with systems for the control of the temperature and indoor air quality, and state-of-the-art technologies;
- the use of renewable energy to improve energy efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of schools;
- the adoption of security and surveillance measures, to deal with emergencies and ensure the protection of students and staff;
- preventive maintenance programs, which allow to anticipate breakage failures in the building before they may occur.
To make the management of school facilities even more efficient, and contribute to the improvement of the educational system, consider investing in a school school facility management software, a digital tool that will help you organize your Facility Management processes for schools, and allow you to centralize activities aimed at the management and maintenance of the spaces, systems and equipment present in a school.
What Are the Benefits of Facility Management in Schools?
The correct implementation of Facility Management in the school environment allows you to
- reduce facilities management costs;
- significantly extend the assets life cycle and improve their quality;
- positively affect students’ learning abilities and increase participation in teaching activities;
- simplify processes and reduce stress on managers of educational facilities;
- improve the space cleanliness, order and safety;
- encourage communication between employees;
- help staff manage limited resources by identifying priorities proactively;
- improve the appearance of buildings, the operation of equipment and the health of students and staff;
- save energy and protect the environment.