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A facilities maintenance plan details an organization’s strategy for proactively maintaining its facilities. Effective maintenance plans reflect the vision and mission of the organization, include an accurate assessment of existing facilities, incorporate the perspectives of various stakeholder groups, and focus on preventive measures that ensure that the capital investment is managed responsibly. As with any successful management endeavor, good facilities maintenance plans integrate best practices of planning, implementation, and evaluation.
Learning does not occur in a vacuum. Students and staff thrive in an orderly, clean, and safe environment. Classrooms that are well ventilated, suitably lighted, and properly maintained actually facilitate learning. Poor air quality, on the other hand, negatively affects alertness and results in increased student and teacher absences, which can have a corresponding impact on student achievement. Moreover, appropriate facilities maintenance extends the life span of older facilities and maximizes the useful life of newer facilities. Thus, a facilities maintenance plan contributes to both the instructional and financial well-being of an education organization and its community.
Facilities plans, like buildings, don’t age well unless they are maintained on an ongoing basis. For starters, maintenance strategies depend on the condition of facilities, which changes over time. If the condition of your buildings, grounds, and equipment have changed in the past five years (which they probably have), your facilities plan should be updated to clarify those steps that need to be taken to maintain these valuable assets.do, magna quis lacinia ornare, quam ante aliquam nisi, eu iaculis leo purus venenatis dui.
Why do I need the Planning Guide for Maintaining School Facilities to tell me how to keep our facilities and grounds in good condition?
Your organization may already be keeping its facilities and grounds in good condition. If so, spending a few hours reviewing the recommendations in the Planning Guide is a small investment relative to the amount of energy you already put into your facilities maintenance efforts—especially if there’s a chance (and there is) that you may find something new and useful in the publication. If your organization doesn’t maintain its schools and grounds as well as it might, you should definitely review the Planning Guide.
Facilities maintenance doesn’t occur in a vacuum. After all, grounds and buildings belong to the educational organization, not maintenance departments. The maintenance department’s job is to ensure that facilities and grounds are in adequate condition to support the mission of the organization. Thus, day-to-day maintenance activities must be guided by a facilities maintenance plan that is informed by, and aligned with, a larger organizational plan. Without a coordinated plan, it is impossible to know whether day-to-day maintenance operations support current and future organizational priorities.
Why should an organization go to the trouble of including stakeholders in facilities maintenance planning?
Stakeholder feedback provides new perspectives and fresh ideas to the planning process. Moreover, when stakeholders participate in organizational planning, they are more likely to buy into the strategies that they have helped to establish. “Buy-in” becomes especially significant when one recognizes that likely stakeholders in the facilities maintenance planning process include maintenance and custodial staff, teachers, parents, students, superintendents, principals, board of directors, collegiate administrators, board members, finance and business officials, and community groups.
A vision statement helps to focus facilities maintenance policies, procedures, and day-to-day operations on the needs of the larger organization. Without a vision statement (the target), management risks inefficient use of resources by squandering time, money, and effort on activities that are not consistent with the long-term needs of the organization. Moreover, a well-publicized vision statement reminds staff at all levels of the overarching purpose of their work.
Hopefully, lots of people, but that is a function of how well the organization disseminates the vision statement. A vision statement only has impact when it is read. Thus, it should be shared with everyone who maintains, supports, or uses educational facilities. If stakeholders are aware of the organization’s vision for its future, they can align their own long- and short-term plans to direct day-to-day activities in support of that vision.
A facility audit is an element-by-element assessment, or inventory, of an organization’s buildings, grounds, and equipment. If the large amounts of collected data (what, where, age, condition, maintenance needs, etc.) are not organized in a usable format, they will not meet the information needs of users. Thus, facility audits must be treated as data collections, and managed as such.
Facilities data can, and should, inform both short- and long-term policy making decisions. Moreover, the data also helps with day-to-day operations and decision-making. For example, suppose an ice machine breaks down and the estimate to repair it is one-third of the cost for a new machine. The repair-or-replace decision should be based on facilities data—that is, the age and expected life of the ice machine.
Data should be collected on all buildings, grounds, and equipment at all sites, buildings, rooms, and spaces. It should include both permanent features (structures) and temporary features (e.g., traffic patterns and snow buildup areas). Each element should be described by: what, where, size, number, age, condition, whether it is working as purchased or designed (as well as whether it is working sufficiently well to meet the needs of users), repair history, sizes and specifications for replacement parts (e.g., oil type and filter sizes), evidence of future needs, recommended servicing, and estimated remaining useful life.
Yes. Any factor that affects student health is likely to influence student attendance and alertness as well. For example, if a classroom has poor indoor air quality, the likelihood of students suffering from respiratory illness increases substantially—which results in higher absenteeism rates. Moreover, when teaching staff are exposed to unhealthy environmental conditions, they are more likely to miss classes more often as well, resulting in more substitute teachers and disrupted instructional programs.
How do educational administrators become better informed about the regulations and laws with which they must comply?
Numerous federal, state, and local laws that are intended to protect both students and the environment must be complied with (and, in some instances, followed to the letter) when managing educational facilities. Educational administrators can request assistance from both federal and state regulatory agencies in ensuring that existing regulations are understood and are being properly implemented. Another options is to contact peer organizations to exchange information and ideas about compliance strategies.
How does an organization know when it has met its obligation to provide safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly facilities?
There is no way to confirm 100-percent effectiveness on these fronts. However, an educational organization that makes the effort to learn about the issues and laws, proactively complies with the regulations, trains staff thoroughly, and performs self-evaluations regularly should feel confident that it is doing everything it can to ensure occupant health and safety and to preserve the environment. On the other hand, ignoring or otherwise neglecting these serious issues (in other words, hoping for the best) is not an acceptable management strategy from the perspective of either the public or the regulatory agencies charged with protecting the public.
Equipment 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.
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.
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 organizations. By automating maintenance records facilities managers can more effectively evaluate and analyze facility use, maintenance demands and history, and funding trends.
Educational 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 administration (e.g., business personnel) must be seamless and well documented. Modern work order systems have evolved into on-demand maintenance management systems , 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 online. Automated work order systems have become an indispensable part of effective school facilities management.