A survey undertaken by the government has revealed that Schools in England are currently facing a repair bill of more than £11bn. The repairs survey involved visits to 22,000 state schools and took over four years to complete, before being published in May following a number of delays.
The report by the DfE stated that “remedial work to repair or replace all defective elements” will cost £11.4bn. This is nearly double a previous estimate by the National Audit Office. The problem comes into context when you consider that England’s total school estate covers more than 500 square kilometres in buildings and school land – bigger than most UK cities.
Particular areas of concern highlighted by the report include electrical and IT repairs, repairs to boilers and air-conditioning, mending roofs, windows and walls.
In response the survey, schools in England will receive individual reports on the repairs identified.
Having been working in the education sector for a number of years, the results of the survey are not a huge surprise. Schools are often fighting a losing battle; trying to keep on top of repair works with an ever-tighter squeeze on budgets. Additionally, schools are increasingly being expected to show strong financial management and control over their budgets, which can be difficult to do when unexpected repair work arises.
To help plan and make the best use of resources available, schools may look to appoint a School Building Consultant. This is a role we undertake for several schools across the North West.
As Chartered Surveyors and School Building Consultants, our role involves advising schools on all building matters including repairs and maintenance, refurbishment, alterations and extensions in order to meet a set level of condition, suitability and sufficiency of a school’s premises. Using our knowledge and expertise, we can help schools to put in place both short and longer-term plans for maintaining and developing the school’s buildings.
Furthermore, as an area in which we are consistently working, we will often become aware of funding streams that may be released – such as the CIF scheme from the DfE and SALIX schemes for Energy Efficiency Funding. We are able to advise schools as and when appropriate funding streams are released and support them in the preparation of funding bids.
For any advice in relation to the upkeep, maintenance or development of a school’s buildings, contact our School Building Consultants. Our team have a wealth of knowledge within the education sector and can work with schools to help both the project management of one-off projects, and also putting longer-term plans in place to ensure that repairs are approached in a sensible order to make the best use of a school’s budget.