All schools whether they are public or private, are under budget constraints which can result in facility maintenance being listed as a lower priority, as it is a task which has less effect on a child’s learning outcome. This mindset may result in a false economy, as foregoing basic tasks leads to more significant maintenance works, injuries and loss of reputation, which can outweigh any savings that were made. “A stitch in time saves 9.”
The cost of maintaining school property can be controlled and budgeted through a well-thought-out preventative maintenance plan. Such a plan should outline periodic maintenance such as heater servicing, and routine inspections to identify and plan for maintenance to be actioned in the near future e.g. replacement of roof tiles. Areas of safety concern should also be identified and solutions implemented to manage these risks.
The unexpected costs brought about by reactive maintenance puts a strain on a schools budget; where to take the money from in order to pay for the critical repair? A well managed preventative maintenance plan will go a long way to eliminating unexpected defects from occurring. Budgeting for periodic paint or chemical spills, and vandalism, often in the form of graffiti, will assist a school to be able to respond quickly with budget stress.
Best practice is for schools to manage both preventative and reactive maintenance, to ensure a safe and productive environment for students, and maintain a presentable image for parents of current and prospective students.
Recommended Periodic tasks:
Janitorial cleaning (every 1-2 school days)
Pressure cleaning (monthly)
Removal of chewing gum and other ad-hoc stains which cannot be removed through janitorial cleaning (monthly)
Plumbing and hot water units (every 6 months)
Electrical inspection (every 12 months)
Service of heating and cooling systems (every 12 months)
Termite inspection and treatment (most treatments are not guaranteed any longer than 12 months)
Areas for Routine Inspection:
Buildings often receive damage to footings, concrete slab floors and walls due to moisture damage. This may be caused by changes in moisture levels and can be reduced by removing large plants growing close to buildings and rectifying poor drainage, plumbing or storm water which allows water to pool close to the buildings edge. Check walls for cracks, rising or falling damp or efflorescence (salt deposits). Maintain adequate sub-floor ventilation by ensuring that weep holes in external brick walls remain uncovered and free from obstruction. Ensuring these tasks are taken care of will also reduce the likelihood of termite infestation.
Doors and windows require routine inspection as frequent use creates wear and tear. Failure to maintain these can result in drafts and lack of security. Inspect these areas for smooth opening and closing, warping from moisture changes, gaps which allow air to enter and escape, timber rot, broken locks and loose hinges.
Tile roofing must be inspected for loose or cracked tiles. Corrugated iron roofing should be inspected for rust. In all roof types, water must not be able to leak inside the roof, where it can cause structural damage as well as damage to the insulation. Drains must be checked to ensure water is able to escape the roof and be transported away from the building.
School grounds should be inspected for wear and damage to sealed surfaces such as asphalt, paving, and concrete which can gradually disintegrate, resulting in a loose or uneven surface which looks untidy and can cause a running child to slip.
Damage to sealed surfaces can be reduced through the application of a protective coating. These surfaces may also be prone to becoming slippery, particularly stairs or surfaces which are on an angle. Accidents and injuries can be reduced with the application of an anti-slip coating.
No matter how well we educate students, there are always a number of spills and accidents that result in property damage and staining, particularly in design classes. It is impossible to predict when the next spillage of paint, oil or chemicals will occur. Such spills can create a slippery hazard that is disruptive to the classroom.
Abrasive cleaning methods will cause further damage to porous surfaces such as concrete, bitumen and tiles and add to your future repair costs. Contact a stain removal expert who can carefully draw the stain to the surface and remove it with ease.
Graffiti is another unexpected reactive maintenance task. This must be acted upon with urgency, to prevent reputation damage and reduce the likelihood of further graffiti vandalism. Schools are frequently targeted by graffiti vandals, due to the low-volume of inhabitants at night, on weekends and holidays. Installing anti-graffiti coatings on walls and windows will reduce the cost of graffiti removal.
As schools require a number of preventative and reactive maintenance, time and money can be saved by choosing a maintenance provider who can deliver all of these important tasks. The Graffiti Eaters provides maintenance agreements for schools across Australia, performing tasks such as:
Removal of stubborn stains such as paint, oil, chewing gum, egg stains
Removal of stains caused by efflorescence and mould
High-pressure cleaning of dirt, dust and grime
All Graffiti Eaters employees have undergone police checks and working with children checks. Where possible we conduct work outside of school hours to minimise disruption. Contact us to arrange an inspection of your school and discuss your maintenance requirements.