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A guide to a successful school refurbishment

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There are numerous benefits to upgrading schools with a refurbishment. Better facilities mean better opportunities for students and staff to enjoy a more prosperous learning and work environment.

Reports have highlighted a critical need for several schools to undergo improvements. Leaks, temporary classrooms and unsafe areas within the school grounds have created concern across the UK. Statistics indicate that around 700,000 pupils are being taught in schools in England that require major refurbishment.

Understandably, the prospect of a school refurbishment can be daunting. Disruption to everyday life at school could pose a threat to the educational experience, which is why it’s important to implement these projects responsibly. Here are some things to consider.

Planning and staying organised

Timing is everything with school refurbishments. The less disruption caused, the better. This means it can be beneficial to time major works with school holidays, whether during the Christmas or summer holidays. Ideally, you should avoid critical periods such as exam season.

To stay organised, it can be helpful to hire storage containers that will help to keep on top of the added mess. You should engage with relevant stakeholders with plenty of time to spare before work begins. This way, you’ll have scope to plan out projects in more detail so you can iron out issues in advance.

Establish a timeline and budget

Like with any large-scale project, timelines are key. You should assess each stage and how it could potentially disrupt students’ or teachers’ day-to-day routines. Timelines help you identify potential issues and mitigate any risks. They also offer information for teachers, students, parents and other stakeholders, helping you to set expectations.

Budget is another important aspect that can help you determine what can be done within a set period of time. There should be a clear understanding of how the refurbishment will be financed. There are grants available to assist the process where necessary, however you should allow enough time to apply for these.

Design functional spaces

Understanding what you want to get out of a school refurbishment is important. You could work with specialists to design collaborative spaces that will improve the school experience for staff and students, for example.

Other options include specialist classrooms and spaces, ranging from science labs to sporting courts and amenities. Functionality is a theme that should run throughout. It’s all about getting more out of the school building and grounds.

Managing disruption

Frequent communication allows you to keep an open and transparent relationship with those impacted by the refurbishment. You should also be open to adapting certain schedules so that demolition or construction work has less of an impact on the school.

You may need to repurpose certain spaces to avoid clashes with ongoing building work. This will also help with health and safety onsite.

Health and safety

Construction sites are hazardous places, which is why it is so important for schools to observe clear health and safety guidelines when undergoing refurbishment.

You should ensure that students and staff are aware of areas that are out of bounds and use markings and signs where necessary. Any workers on site should also observe strict health and safety rules on site.

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