Effective Maintenance in Schools



Schools are the breeding ground for knowledge and skills to spread. Therefore, it is vital to keep schools well-maintained in order for students to be able to maximize their learning. The maintenance processes to support these schools operating must be as efficient as possible due to the sheer volume of schools in the United States. Another major problem associated with the maintenance of American schools is the time at which the schools were constructed. Schools in America were in everyday practice throughout a large portion of American history, therefore a majority of the schools were built in the 20th century. This is important to address because sophisticated infrastructure may not have been built at that time. Thus, problems such as inefficient energy systems, poor ventilation, and more can fraught these schools. Inherently, it is important to establish a proper maintenance routine and practice to ensure that schools across America are able to function properly and efficiently. American schools follow the procedures provided by the Institute of Education Sciences(IES) maintain schools, which lists practices for many scenarios.


How to Effectively Plan for School Maintenance?

A plan is essential for an operation of any scale to succeed. Considering the magnitude of use schools go through, a strong plan is required for the maintenance. A strong plan can provide satisfaction for the school administration and students that attend. The way a plan is constructed in American institutions is to initially include the opinions of stakeholders. Stakeholders can range from school staff to citizens of the community. These opinions are important as they can offer a new perspective to problems that the schools may look to address. After considering multiple perspectives, a document called the “Master Plan” or Facilities Maintenance Plan is created. The plan requires the involvement of stakeholders, the proper establishment of needs and targets, the proper means for garnering funds, and evaluating the plan and the system every few years. Once that is done, this document can be considered the blueprint for decisions for an entire school district, and it addresses problems on a large and small scale. It is also understood that such documents can only serve for a limited period of time, which is why there are meetings to update the plan every few years or as needed. Funds are also essential for this plan to be in order. The way funds are garnered for this plan is through a vision statement. Vision Statements essentially state the goal of the educational institution and what the funds that are collected would be allocated for. A proper vision statement can increase the number of funds allocated to a district or even an individual school. All in all, a proper plan is vital for the sustenance of proper school maintenance.


Facility Audits in School Maintenance

A facility audit is a thorough assessment of the assets and liabilities in a facility and is an important part of the maintenance workflow. It is important to audit equipments in schools because of the extensive use the systems undergo. Some examples of assets in school include televisions for learning, cleaning machines, and more. Systems, such as air conditioning and ventilation, are overused and undergo rapid aging.


A facility audit offers the value for that aging product and then a value for a new product. Scenarios, such as these, are largely school-specific. Some schools may find that their older system is still working properly and they may not have a need for a newer system, or the older system may have a minor problem that would cost less to fix than to acquire and install a new system. Like these, there are many other scenarios that require an audit to consider the most proper maintenance approach this scenario. Schools conduct audits frequently. Understanding the conditions of your facility enables you to make plans on maintenance needs and services, conduct an in-depth analysis of product life cycles, and to be able to provide data for maintenance programs. This ensures that schools maintain cost-effective policies and routines for years to come.


Maintenance ensures a safe environment for learning

The four key components of a proper educational space are indoor air quality, asbestos removal, water management, and waste management. Indoor air quality can be affected by many factors including emissions, paint odors, and more. Schools must follow national and state regulations and standards for the proper maintenance of air quality. Some of these standards include maintaining indoor Carbon Dioxide between 800 to 1,000 parts per million (ppm), avoiding recirculating air, storing toxic substances in regions with adequate ventilation, balancing HVAC systems every five years, and more.


Maintenance has to be up to standards and proper schools exceed these standards. Schools also have to ensure that the presence of asbestos is kept very low. Asbestos is a mineral found in older buildings and it has been loosely linked as a cause of lung cancer and many other lung-related issues. It is such a major issue that there are many maintenance agencies focused on asbestos removal. These agencies appoint asbestos coordinators and create a framework to follow in the presence of asbestos. This ensures that the threat of asbestos is mitigated as soon as possible and parents of students do not have to worry about this contaminant.


Next, it is important that the water that students drink at school is clean and drinkable. The United States Congress passed the Safe Water Drinking Act, which sets standards for clean, drinking water. All schools in the US by law have to ensure that their water is as clean as these standards state, therefore water maintenance is essential. Water treatment plants and school water fountains are frequently checked and maintained to keep the water as clean as possible. Lastly, schools need to be able to dispose of their waste in a proper manner. Waste that contains chemicals or biological waste is disposed of using standards set by respective agencies. Waste disposal systems such as trash collection and sewage disposal systems need to be maintained frequently to prevent contamination. There are considerations, in addition, to these 4 important problems. A school’s environmental impact must also be kept to a minimum. Essentially, maintenance agencies look to improve emissions standards and reduce the ecological footprint of a school. This is done by ensuring that the equipments operating in the school are energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

Lastly, effective transportation maintenance systems must also be established. Many students rely on the school buses to get to and from school. The school buses must be maintained properly, and this is done through the high schools of the district. The buses park at the high school of their respective routes and they are tended to and fuelled up for the following days. Within schools, students may also rely on an elevator service to get to class, as some students may not be able to walk the stairs. Elevators are also maintained through the school maintenance system, which involves a report to the county. Thus, maintenance plays an important role in ensuring schools function as intended.


The Maintenance Hierarchy & Spectrum and Prism CMMS Software

Most schools follow a maintenance hierarchy. Schools that encounter a need for a maintenance report their need to the county office, which would then supply them with the apt crew for the problem. The overall process of this can be measured on the maintenance spectrum. Schools always try to remain on the high-efficiency portion of the maintenance spectrum. This region is what is called preventive maintenance. Preventive Maintenance is addressing a machine before a problem occurs so that a problem does not occur in the future. This type of maintenance is important in schools as a problem of machines during school hours could disrupt education. As maintenance software and programs get more developed, a new fulcrum is being added to the maintenance spectrum: Predictive Maintenance. This can be considered to be the niche combination of both preventive and breakdown maintenance, as it uses computer software to predict when a machine will malfunction. Using this, maintenance could be conducted right before the predicted time to save money and improve efficiency.


These practices are being implemented in some of the common areas of maintenance in schools, which is custodial maintenance and ventilation. Software is used to alert when the air quality within the building is at an unsafe level then a maintenance crew is alerted to fix the problem. Similarly, custodial maintenance can be addressed when an area is detected to be below sanitation level expectations. Practices, such as these, offer the right combination of efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The Prism CMMS Software is perfect for these types of situations, as it offers the perfect balance between productivity and cost-effectiveness. The software can be used to manage preventive and breakdown maintenance work orders across schools. Streamlining this process will ensure schools function without issue and be as effective as possible. The Prism CMMS software offers all the processes needed for the maintenance of a school in one platform, which significantly simplifies the overall process.


Conclusion

Schools across the world need to be properly maintained to ensure proper education for students. There are many facets of a school that require maintenance and in different modes. This is why most schools form a “master plan” that addresses all of these problems and apt maintenance practices. Overall, schools maintain safe standards in the management of water, waste, and air quality and consider this at the highest level of importance. As schools look to be more efficient in their maintenance activities, they move towards technology and predictive maintenance. Prism CMMS software enables schools to view all their maintenance needs and orders in one platform providing maximum efficiency and convenience.