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Planning Guide for Maintaining School Facilities
Home/Introduction
Chapter 1
  Introduction to School Facilities Maintenance Planning
Chapter 2
    Planning for School Facilities Maintenance
Chapter 3
    Facility Audits: Knowing What You Have
Chapter 4
    Providing a Safe Environment for Learning
Chapter 5
    Maintaining School Facilities and Grounds
Chapter 6
    Effectively Managing Staff and Contractors
Chapter 7
    Evaluating Facilities Maintenance Efforts
Appendices
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Chapter 5
Maintaining School Facilities and Grounds

GOALS:
  Image of Checkmark To remind readers that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
  Image of Checkmark To convey strategies for planning and implementing “best practices” for maintaining facilities and grounds



The facilities manager should be one of the team leaders in any renovation or construction project. After all, he or she is the school district's in-house expert on building management and knows how the district's maintenance and operations departments can best support a new or renovated facility. To best accomplish this task, the facilities manager must keep an open mind to the needs of all stakeholders throughout the planning process.

The Role of Maintenance During Renovation and Construction

There are two prevailing approaches to planning a renovation or construction project. The first is an item-by-item (or building block) approach; it is driven by school need and the final project cost is calculated only after needs have been addressed. The risk is that the total cost often comes in far higher than anticipated because actual needs sometimes get confused with perceived need (or even a wish list). The second approach is the "top-down method," in which building features are selected based on a preconceived "acceptable" total cost of the project. Often, total project cost gets translated into cost per square foot, which then dictates what options and features are available. The risk with this approach is that the district gets only what it thinks it can afford and not necessarily what it needs. Most renovation and construction projects blend the two approaches to planning-in other words, some tasks will rely upon item-by-item planning, whereas other aspects will use the top-down approach.

When establishing selection criteria for an architect, consider what experience the firm has with designing environmentally friendly schools, including components such as active and passive solar heating, ground-water recycling, garden space, and low-VOC (volatile organic compound) building materials.

Image of KeysAnother key to successful renovation and construction is the assembly of a diverse project team consisting not only of school staff (e.g., business personnel, maintenance and operations staff, principals, and teachers), but also construction professionals, architects, engineers, and general contractors. Other stakeholders such as students, parents, and other community representatives should also be included in the planning efforts. Each stakeholder should be encouraged to share his or her opinions about the needs and expectations of the new or renovated facility. Of course there will be disagreements during this phase, but the net effect of this exchange of ideas should be positive if the interactions are managed respectfully.

This team of stakeholders should review all plans and construction documents throughout the project (e.g., at 25, 50, 75, and 100 percent complete) to minimize the likelihood of last-minute surprises and objections. Key team members, such as the district's business personnel and maintenance staff, must review the construction documents prior to the release of procurement guidelines because any changes thereafter will invariably result in additional costs to the school district. Generally, the mechanics of the bid process are mandated by local or state law (e.g., fixed bids or competitive sealed proposals). These types of decisions should be made only after consultation with the district's architects and legal advisors.

The topic of building renovation and construction is, quite literally, a separate book. There are many excellent resources available to the education community, including those available from:

American Institute of Architects
http://www.aia.org

American School and University Magazine
http://www.asumag.com

Council of Educational Facility Planners International
http://www.cefpi.org

National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities
http://www.edfacilities.org

SchoolDesigns.com
http://www.schooldesigns.com/

School Planning and Management Magazine
http://www.spmmag.com

U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Smart Schools
http://www.eren.doe.gov/energysmartschools/

In this Planning Guide, we address only those renovation and construction issues that directly relate to facility maintenance planning.








Digital cameras, video recorders, and still photos are valuable tools for documenting construction activity.

Image of KeysAlthough construction staff need to limit access to work sites and ensure site safety, district representatives have every right to expect access to the work site on a regular basis (after all, it is the district's property and the contractor works for the district). Thus, during construction, members of the maintenance and operations department (or locally hired and trusted plumbers, electricians, etc.) should visit the construction site regularly to observe the quality of the work, monitor the placement of valves and switches, and verify overall project progress. Digital cameras, video recorders, and still photos are valuable tools for documenting construction activities. On large projects, the district's chief project officer, the architect, general contractor, and subcontractors should meet on a weekly basis to discuss progress and problems. All such discussions should be well documented.
 









Be wary of "casual renovation." Construction that takes place in occupied buildings can have an adverse impact on occupants' health (e.g., air quality problems may arise during construction).

As construction begins to wind down, the project may be designated as having reached "substantial completion": although work may not be 100 percent complete, the building can be used for its intended purpose. Building "ownership" is customarily transferred to the district at this point, meaning that the contractor is no longer responsible for utility or insurance bills. Upon designation of "substantial completion," however, the architect must prepare a "punch list" to identify those components that are not yet complete (or which do not meet the district's quality standards). The school district should retain the last payment to the contractor to ensure that the balance of the work is completed in a timely manner.

Maintenance should be a consideration even during the building design phase. For example, designing a building without carpeting may make sense because wall-to-wall carpeting is so hard to keep clean over time. Situating vents and cleaning wells in areas that can be easily reached is another area where maintenance needs can influence building design. Seasoned maintenance staff can also inform construction and renovation planners about where the maintenance equipment should be housed.

Image of KeysFinally, it has been estimated that 15 percent of all new buildings have missing system components for which the owner has paid. Thus, construction contracts should require that a third party commission the facility before contractors are relieved of their contractual obligations. Commissioning is discussed in greater detail in Chapter 3 of this document and in the PECI document Model Commissioning Plan and Guide Specifications (http://www.peci.org/cx/mcpgs.html).

Facilities planners generally schedule renovations during breaks in the academic year so as to minimize disruptions. But in some cases this may not be possible (e.g., in year-round schools, schools with summer programs, and after-school enrichment programs).


Commonly Asked Questions

How does preventive maintenance save on costs?
Image of Eagle with HammerEquipment failure is often a direct result of wear and tear on parts that should be replaced on a periodic basis (such as filters, belts, gaskets, and valves). Preventive maintenance is designed to minimize these breakdown events by attending to these deteriorating components in a timely fashion. This means replacing filters and belts, changing oil, and cleaning coils according to schedule. The costs associated with routine servicing of equipment (in terms of both parts and labor) is small compared to the cost of coping with unexpected and catastrophic breakdown events that will inevitably occur if equipment is not properly maintained - particularly since breakdowns often require not only major repairs but even the replacement of affected components and systems. Another argument is that failure to perform preventive maintenance may invalidate the warranties on major equipment and systems.

What is the difference between preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance?
Preventive maintenance is the routine, regularly scheduled maintenance of a piece of equipment to ensure its continued use and maximize its life expectancy (e.g., by replacing filters, changing oil, and cleaning coils). Predictive maintenance uses advanced computer software to monitor equipment operation and forecast future failures based on performance measures and statistical analysis.

What role does computing technology play in facility maintenance management?
When dealing with facilities management, technology use must be considered from two perspectives: 1) operations technology and 2) administrative technology. Increasingly, maintenance personnel are required to master the use of computerized diagnostic and programming tools for many types of building components. HVAC systems, for example, are now operated almost exclusively through computerized interfaces. From the perspective of facilities managers too, technology has become an essential tool in all but the smallest of organizations. By automating maintenance records in even simple ways (e.g., use of spreadsheets), facilities managers can more effectively evaluate and analyze facility use, maintenance demands and history, and funding trends.

Why is a work order system necessary?
Work order systems have always been necessary in the school business-it's just that 50 years ago the "work order system" was probably a note from the principal to the building custodian to repair a broken fan before completing the day's cleaning. But times have changed and school operations have become substantially more complicated. Buildings are larger, and contain complex electrical, HVAC, and technology systems. If these components and systems are to be properly maintained, communications between administrative staff, instructional staff, maintenance staff, and the central office (e.g., business personnel) must be seamless and well documented. Modern work order systems have evolved into computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), which allow staff to submit work requests, assign tasks to craftspeople, track project status, record parts and labor costs, verify completion, and evaluate performance-all automatically. Thus, automated work order systems have become an indispensable part of effective school facilities management.

When You Can't Afford Not to Make the Investment

Image of Eagle with HammerHarry had worked hard to mine his database for all the relevant information. He didn't want the district to waste money on unnecessarily high utility bills at yet another school. He arrived at the construction planning meeting. "Now listen," he said after several speakers advocated cutting corners on the quality of construction materials, "You may save $30,000 or $40,000 now, but that is just peanuts compared to what we'll pay for that mistake over the life of the building." He saw an assistant superintendent roll his eyes, but he continued: "In 1978, we built Spinner Middle School correctly because of the high utility bills we saw during the winter of '77. And now we pay 88 cents a square foot to heat and cool that building, even after 25 years, compared to $1.72 per square foot for the elementary buildings you skimped on in 1995. I've done the math; at those rates you recoup the additional upfront costs in less than three years. After that, we'll save $15,000 a year on the building's utility bills. You can't tell me this doesn't make sense." No one said a word. Harry was right. They couldn't tell him it didn't make sense.


Additional Resources

Image of School BusEvery effort has been made to verify the accuracy of all URLs listed in this Guide at the time of publication. If a URL is no longer working, try using the root directory to search for a page that may have moved. For example, if the link to http://www.epa.gov/iaq/schools/performance.html is not working, try http://www.epa.gov/ and search for "IAQ."

Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI)
http://www.carpet-rug.com/
The web site of the national trade association representing the carpet and rug industry. It is a source of extensive information about carpets for consumers, writers, interior designers, facility managers, architects, builders, and building owners and managers, installation contractors, and retailers. CRI also publishes the web site "Carpet in Schools" (http://www.carpet-schools.com/) to address topics such as indoor air quality, allergies, and carpet selection, installation, and care.

Cleaning and Maintenance Practices
http://www.edfacilities.org/rl/cleaning.cfm
A list of links, books, and journal articles about custodial standards and procedures, equipment, safety, and product directories for the cleaning and maintenance of schools and colleges.

Energy Savings
http://www.edfacilities.org/rl/energy.cfm
A list of links, books, and journal articles providing extensive resources on various methods of heating, cooling, and maintaining new and retrofitted K-12 school buildings and grounds. National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Washington, DC.

Facilities Management: A Manual for Plant Administration
http://www.appa.org/resources/publications/pubs.cfm?Category_ID=1
A four-book publication about managing the physical plant of campuses. Its 67 chapters cover general administration and management, maintenance and operation of buildings and grounds, energy and utility systems, and facilities planning, design and construction. Middleton, William, Ed. (1997) APPA: Assn. of Higher Education Facilities Officers, Alexandria, VA.

Facilities Management Software
http://www.edfacilities.org/rl/software.cfm
A resource list of links, books, and journal articles describing and evaluating computer-aided facilities maintenance management systems for handling priorities, backlogs, and improvements to school buildings. National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Washington, DC.

Floor Care
http://www.edfacilities.org/rl/floor_care.cfm
A list of links, books, and journal articles about the maintenance of a variety of floor coverings in K-12 school classrooms, gymnasiums, science labs, hallways, and stairs. National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Washington, DC.

Good School Maintenance: A Manual of Programs and Procedures for Buildings, Grounds and Equipment
http://www.iasb.com/shop/details.cfm?Item_Num=GSM
A manual that describes the fundamentals of good school maintenance, including managing the program and staying informed about environmental issues. Procedures for maintaining school grounds are detailed, as are steps for maintaining mechanical equipment, including heating and air-conditioning systems, sanitary systems and fixtures, sewage treatment plants, and electrical systems. Harroun, Jack (1996) Illinois Association of School Boards, Springfield, IL, 272pp.

Grounds Maintenance
http://www.edfacilities.org/rl/grounds_maintenance.cfm
A resource list of links, books, and journal articles about managing and maintaining K-12 school and college campus grounds and athletic fields. National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Washington, DC.

Guide to School Renovation and Construction: What You Need to Know to Protect Child and Adult Environmental Health
A guide that presents cautionary tips for protecting children's health
during school renovation and construction projects. It includes a checklist of uniform New York state safety standards during school renovations and construction, and several examples of the potential negative consequences of disregarding the risks of renovation and construction on occupant health. (2000) Healthy Schools Network, Inc., Albany, NY, 6pp.

HVAC Systems
http://www.edfacilities.org/rl/hvac.cfm
A resource list of links, books, and journal articles about HVAC systems in school buildings, including geothermal heating systems. National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Washington, DC.

IAQ In Schools and Preliminary Design Guide
http://www.healthybuildings.com/s2/Schools%20-%20IAQ%20Design%20Guide%2001.01.pdf
An educational tool and reference manual for school building design, engineering, and maintenance staff. Healthy Buildings International, Inc. (1999) Healthy Buildings International, Inc., Fairfax, VA.

Operational Guidelines for Grounds Management
http://www.appa.org/resources/publications/pubs.cfm?Category_ID=2
A comprehensive guide to maintaining and managing grounds and landscaping operations. Chapters discuss environmental stewardship, broadcast and zone maintenance, grounds staffing guidelines, contracted services, position descriptions, benchmarking, and environmental issues and laws. Feliciani, et al. (2001) APPA: Assn. of Higher Education Facilities Officers, Alexandria, VA, 159pp.

Principal's Guide to On-Site School Construction
http://www.edfacilities.org/pubs/construction.html
A publication that explores what school principals should know when construction takes place in or near a school while it is in session. It covers pre-construction preparation, including how to work with architects/engineers and other school staff; actions to take during construction, including proper information dissemination and student and property protection; and post-construction activities, including custodial and maintenance staff training and post-occupancy evaluations. Brenner, William A. (2000) National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Washington, DC, 5pp.

PECI Model Commissioning Plan and Guide Specifications
http://www.peci.org/cx/mcpgs.html
A resource that details the commissioning process for new equipment during both the design and construction phases. It goes beyond commissioning guidelines by providing boilerplate language, content, format, and forms for specifying and executing commissioning.

Preventive Maintenance
http://www.edfacilities.org/rl/maintenance.cfm
A resource list of links, books, and journal articles about how to maximize the useful life of school buildings through preventive maintenance, including periodic inspection and seasonal care. National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Washington, DC.

Preventive Maintenance Guidelines for School Facilities K-12
http://www.rsmeans.com/index.asp
A five-part manual that is intended to increase the integrity and support the longevity of school facilities by providing easy-to-use preventive maintenance system guidelines. It includes a book, wall chart, and electronic forms designed to help maintenance professionals identify, assess, and address equipment and material deficiencies before they become costly malfunctions. Maciha, John C, et al. (2001) R.S. Means Company, Inc., Kingston, MA, 232pp.

Project Management
http://www.edfacilities.org/rl/project_management.cfm
A list of links, books, and journal articles about the management of school construction projects by school administrators, business officials, board members, and principles. National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Washington, DC.

Roof Maintenance and Repair
http://www.edfacilities.org/rl/roof_maintenance.cfm
A list of links, books, and journal articles about maximizing the life-cycle performance of school roofs. Roof inspection strategies, scheduling, documentation, and repair resources are also addressed. National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Washington, DC.

School Design Primer: A How-To Manual for the 21st Century
http://www.edfacilities.org/pubs/li/little.html
A resource that describes the school planning and design process for decision-makers (e.g., superintendents, planning committee members, architects, and educators) who are new to school construction and renovation projects.

Software for Facilities Management
http://www.edfacilities.org/rl/software.cfm
A resource list of links, books, and journal articles about computer-aided facilities maintenance management systems for handling priorities, backlogs, and improvements to school buildings. National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Washington, DC.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
http://www.epa.gov/
The main web site of the EPA, whose mission is to protect human health and safeguard the natural environment - air, water, and land - upon which life depends. The EPA works with other federal agencies, state and local governments, and Indian tribes to develop and enforce regulations under existing environmental laws. The web site includes an alphabetical index of topical issues at http://www.epa.gov/ebtpages/alphabet.html. EPA Regional Office and Linked State Environmental Departments can be found at http://www.epa.gov/epapages/statelocal/envrolst.htm.


Maintaining School Facilities and Grounds Checklist

More information about accomplishing these checkpoints can be found on the pages listed in the right-hand column.

Accomplished Checkpoints
Yes No
    Do district planners recognize the four major components of an effective facilities maintenance program: emergency (responsive) maintenance, routine maintenance, preventive maintenance, and predictive maintenance?
    Do district planners recognize that preventive maintenance is the most effective approach to sound school facility maintenance?
    Has a comprehensive facilities audit (see Chapter 3) been performed before instituting a preventive maintenance program?
    For districts that are instituting preventive maintenance for the first time, has an appropriate system (e.g., heating or cooling systems) been identified for piloting before commencing with a full-scale, district-wide program?
    Have manufacturer supplied user manuals been examined for guidance on preventive maintenance strategies for each targeted piece of equipment?
    Are records of preventive maintenance efforts maintained?
    Has the schedule for preventive maintenance activities been coordinated with the routine maintenance schedule so as to minimize service interruptions?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing access control?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing boilers?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing electrical systems?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing energy use?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing fire alarms?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing floor coverings?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing gym floors?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing HVAC Systems?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing hot water heaters?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing kitchens?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing painting projects?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing plumbing?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing public address systems and intercoms?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing roof repairs?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing water softener systems?
    Has organization management determined its expectations for custodial services?
    Have facilities managers staffed the custodial workforce at a level that can meet the organization's expectations for its custodial service?
    Has a chain of command for custodial staff been determined?
    Has a suitable approach to custodial services (e.g., area cleaning versus team cleaning) been selected to meet the organization's expectations for custodial service?
    When planning grounds management, have grounds been defined as "corner pin to corner pin" for all property, including school sites, remote locations, the central office, and other administrative or support facilities?
    Have areas of special concern (e.g., wetlands, caves, mine shafts, sinkholes, sewage plants, historically significant sites and other environmentally sensitive areas) been identified and duly considered for grounds management?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing fertilizer and herbicide use?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing watering and sprinkler systems (e.g., the use of recycled water/gray water for plumbing, watering fields)?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing drainage systems?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing "rest time" for fields/outdoor areas?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing the costs and benefits of flowerbeds?
    Does the organization have a plan for responsibly managing the use of the grounds as a classroom (e.g., "science courtyards" and field laboratories)?
    Is the Maintenance & Operations Department organized and administered to best meet the needs of the maintenance plan?
    Does the maintenance and operations staff take time to market its efforts and successes to the rest of the organization?
    Are facilities managers proactive with their communications to and management of community groups (e.g., PTAs, booster clubs)?
    Has an automated work order system (e.g., a Computerized Maintenance Management System or CMMS as discussed in Chapter 3) been instituted within the organization?
    Does the CMMS incorporate the basic features of a "best practice" system?
    Do staff in every building and campus in a district know the procedures for initiating a work order request?
    Is the ability to officially submit a work order limited to a single person at each site (who can evaluate the need for work prior to sending it)?
    Does a supervisor evaluate (either by random personal assessment or customer feedback) whether the quality of work meets or exceeds departmental standards before "closing out" a work order?
    Is all information about a completed work order maintained in a database for future historical and analytical use upon its completion?
    Is the work order system streamlined so as to minimize the number of people involved in work order delivery, approval, and completion as is reasonable for managing the process?
    Has an automated building use scheduling system been instituted within the organization?
    Has the organization investigated the use of a "consignment cabinet" as a tool for storing supplies and parts in a cost-effective manner?
    Has the organization investigated the use of "open purchase orders" as a tool for purchasing supplies and parts in a cost-effective manner?
    Have appropriate control checks been placed on supply storage and purchasing systems?
    Have planners considered the costs and benefits of both local and central site storage for supplies and parts?
    Has equipment selection been standardized throughout the district (as possible and necessary) in order to save on storage space and costs associated with increased staff training for servicing multiple brands?
    Are chemical dispensers used to automatically mix and conserve cleaning agents?
    Have performance-based specifications been introduced to procurement contracts for the purpose of standardizing equipment purchasing?
    Have planners considered the costs and benefits of both the item-byitem (building block) and top-down approaches to renovation and construction planning?
    When selecting an architect to help plan a renovation or construction project, have planners considered the firm's experience designing environmentally-friendly schools?
    Has a qualified, yet experientially diverse, project team be identified, including business personnel, maintenance staff, principals, teachers, construction professionals, architects, engineers, and general contractors?
    Does the project team meet to review all plans, construction documents, and decisions throughout development (e.g., at 25, 50, 75 and 100 percent complete)?
    Do members of the maintenance and operations department (or locally hired and trusted plumbers, electricians, etc.) visit the construction site on a routine basis to observe the quality of the work, monitor the placement of valves and switches, and verify the overall progress of the project?
    Do the chief project officer and the project architect, general contractor, and subcontractors meet on a weekly basis to discuss project progress and obstacles?
    Are the results of all renovation/construction meetings well documented and archived?
    Upon the renovation or construction project being designated "substantially complete," did the architect prepare a "punch list" to identify components that are not yet complete (or which do not meet the quality standards)?
    Has the organization retained the last of its payments to the contractor in order to ensure that the balance of work on the "punch list" is completed in a timely manner?
    Has the renovated or newly constructed facility been commissioned by a third-party specialist?



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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
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