Carter Jonas
Carter Jonas

Did You Know?

The Carter Jonas Education Team specialises in advising on the maintenance of listed school buildings and in recent years has prepared planned maintenance reports for institutions as far afield as The Kings School in Canterbury, Ackworth School in Pontefract, West Yorkshire and the Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls in Monmouthshire. 

 

School

 

If you are responsible for the maintenance of your school's buildings, we've put together a list of some key facts that you should be aware of:

 

Alterations to listed buildings need appropriate building consent

If your school portfolio includes listed buildings you must not undertake alterations without seeking listed building approval, even if the work is just to the interior. It is a criminal offence to make material alterations to a listed building without permission.

 

Modern cement products can damage listed buildings

The use of modern cement products such as mortar and render has shortened the economic life of the structural elements of many listed buildings during the last 50 years as these modern, cheap and easy to use materials do not allow traditional building elements to 'breathe'. Moisture is retained, which can lead to frost damage to bricks and stonework and more rapid fungal decay to timber framed structures. Can you identify where these inappropriate modern materials have been used on your school buildings?

 

An asbestor register must be available

Under the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations the duty holder (usually the bursar) must have an asbestos register for all non-domestic property and the document must be made readily available to maintenance staff and other relevant people who could potentially be exposed to dangerous asbestos materials. The document must also be updated whenever there are any material changes.

 

Schools must have a Fire Risk Assessment

Under the Fire Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 the school must have a Fire Risk Assessment which is particularly important when the school includes boarding accommodation.  Did you know that often the bursar is nominated the ‘responsible person’ for fire safety? Do you understand your fire risk assessment report and how to implement improvement works, not only to routine procedures, but also physical improvements?  Sometimes minor modifications in the design of a building will help reduce the risk of possible fire spread and may also help to reduce your school's building insurance premium.

 

Disabled Access Audits are not just about wheelchair access

Disabled Access Audits are not just about recommending ramps for wheelchair uses – there are plenty of other ways of helping disabled people use your facilities who are not confined to a wheelchair, such as the visually impaired who may benefit from an informed choice of internal decorative and floor finishes.

 

Sterilisation must be carried out to minimise risk of legionella

Water services need to be sterilised to minimise the risk of legionella – this particularly applies to hot water services and shower fittings – are you aware of where all the hot water tanks are located and their general condition? 

 

Older air conditioning units contain problematic refrigerants

The refrigerant gases in older air conditioning units contain chemicals which are increasing more expensive to dispose of and eventually will be banned by EU regulations – are your air conditioning units up to current standards? 

 

Metals in different types of radiators react badly together

It is false economy to replace old cast column radiators with modern press steel radiators. Copper tubing is often used to connect the new radiator into the existing circulation pipe work and a chemical reaction takes place between the metals.  This results in earlier failure of the rest of the original heating system and distribution pipe work. Any replacement boilers will also fail more rapidly and regular circulation pump failures are more likely. The key is not to mix metals.

 

Routine high level maintenance will save you money

Routine roof maintenance is essential but with scaffolding being expensive the school should seriously consider the purchase or regular hire of a 'Cherry Picker' so high level checks and gutter cleaning can be arranged. Most major outbreaks of dry rot and wet rot decay are as a result of defective roof flashings, valley gutters, rain water gutters and pipes.  You will not necessarily realise there is a problem until stains occur on the ceilings and wall plaster inside buildings. The leaks may have been on going for months before they are visible and the repair costs and the time to rectify the problem will be significantly higher than they may have otherwise been if maintenance had been planned. 

 

A Carter Jonas planned maintenance inspection includes a general overview on all of the items above as well as budgetary cost guidance on these and possible renovation works.  For more information, contact Michael Lunt in the Education Team.

Michael Lunt

Michael LuntMRICS

Associate Partner

Michael is an Associate in the Building Consultancy Team at the Oxford office but regularly can be found at our Worcester (Croome) office providing building surveying advice to clients.  He provid...

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01865 404421

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