2021 was another busy year for our education team as we worked with school across the North West to obtain funding and project manage building and improvement works, predominantly under CIF funding, PSDS and SCA funding.
Due to the criteria involved with CIF funding, the types of project we typically oversee include those that address condition, compliance, health and safety issues or maintenance needs, including improvements to roofing, windows, science laboratories, kitchen/dining facilities, changing rooms, sports facilities and safeguarding projects, along with electrical upgrades, boiler and heating upgrades and projects relating to compliance issues – e.g. fire protection systems.
Here we look at some of the other key drivers that are resulting in schools undertaking building and improvement projects.
Post Covid Alterations
Since the mandate to provide all state school settings with caron monoxide monitors in September 2021, we have seen a number of schools looking at projects to improve the air quality within their internal learning spaces.
By having portable carbon monoxide monitors, the idea is that schools can take representative readings from across the indoor spaces in their estate to identify and monitor areas of poor ventilation.
Consequently, we have been asked to find ways of bringing in fresh-air where opening windows are not available, along with looking into forced ventilation systems to ensure more frequent air changes.
The pandemic also resulted in many schools examining the way they use their internal space, with a number taking on conversion and adaptation of existing classrooms and communal areas to provide greater flexibility.
Sustainability and Efficiency
Another area of focus that we can only see developing over the coming months and years is the move towards greater energy efficiency in school buildings.
2021 saw a number of funding phases of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS), with a defined allocation for schools in some cases. The funding for phases 1-3 was aimed at projects which decarbonise heating systems in public sector buildings – replacing traditional fossil fuelled solutions with low/zero carbon technology, such as ground source heat pumps and air source heating systems.
Other popular projects falling under the banner of decarbonisation include Solar PV panel systems, upgrading thermal insulation, including new windows and re-roofing and LED light fitting installation.
We anticipate more rounds of funding to promote decarbonisation projects over the course of 2022 and beyond. We will update our blog in relation to any new funding rounds that are announced.
In all of these cases, schools are thinking about alteration projects and how these might fit into the wider plans for the school’s improvements. Lea Hough’s School Building Consultants are able to assist schools with scoping out and planning works on a single project basis, or as part of a wider strategic approach to estate management.
To arrange an initial discussion with one of our Chartered Surveyors, please get in touch.