FM in schools | Macro

FM in schools

by Phil Terzza, Manager, Macro International

The achievement of set objectives and goals in any educational establishment require the maximum safe and appropriate use of the facilities provided. This will improve the quality of the working environment which in turn will lead to enhanced teaching and learning.

A direct association exists between the quality of school facilities provided and the quality of the products of the school. The physical environment of a school is a major determining factor in the attainment of its objectives by satisfying the physical and emotional needs of the staff and students of the facility. Facilities Management (FM) is without doubt a fundamental part of the overall management of the school.

Multiple stakeholders

An educational facility has many stakeholders other than pupils and staff, therefore Facilities Managers need to be aware of the context of their organisation with regards to the external and internal influences that can affect the quality of delivery of exceptional FM services.

Once the context of an organisation is determined, the Facilities Manager will be aware of the issues associated with the management of the facility and the risks and opportunities that brings, which can be evaluated. If it can be evaluated, it can be managed.

Maintaining high standards

To ensure consistency of a high standard in the quality of the delivery of services, accreditation to internationally recognised standards is preferable. Compliance with an International Standard cannot confer immunity from legal obligations, however, but it will ensure that an organisation has the ability to meet regulatory, customer and statutory requirements applicable to the delivery of FM services. A Legal and Other Requirements Evaluation of Compliance Register, along with copies of each document in that register, is therefore a must. The ever-changing legal requirements are managed by Macro International by registering with a specialist company offering access to the most extensive EHS knowledgebase in the world, providing updates as soon as they are made available to the public.

Safe environment for children

The management of schools has many challenges for the facilities staff. Inquisitive minds by exploring children means that they must be kept safe at all times. A pro-active approach is required to ensure that fabric maintenance is kept as high on the agenda as Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing maintenance. Children will climb, they will run, they will jump and the facilities staff have to be constantly vigil to notice anything that may be a potential to cause harm, and then take immediate steps to discuss ways of improving the facility with the school staff. Facilities staff must also undergo mandatory Child Protection training.

Security

Security of the school is uppermost on the agenda from unwanted visitors around the clock. Manned Guarding at secure access points, validating every person accessing the school grounds with electronic security surveillance around the perimeter being a must for all schools. Every visitor must wear an easily identifiable security access ID card, with different colour lanyards identifying whether they are school staff, maintenance staff or solely establishment visitors. Supply vehicles entering the premises must be fitted with an audible reverse alarm to warn everyone when reversing, as all vehicles have blind spots. If in doubt, always ensure a third person is available to clear the way, when supply vehicles are reversing. If possible, always try to have a one way system so that supply vehicles need not reverse.

This article first appeared in FM Today