Transform maintenance and management of educational buildings with CMMS and CAFM innovation, information and insight
In today’s economically challenging environment, managing educational buildings and facilities in the face of severe budgetary constraints has become an unfortunate reality. It is putting increasing pressure on education maintenance and facility spending.
The investment problem impacts all levels of education; higher education funding has been significantly reformed, while state education funding has become a priority topic of cross-party relevance.
In state school education, the maintenance issue has reached a crisis level. One in six schools in England have fallen into such a state of disrepair that they require urgent repair, a recent Guardian investigation discovered. At the same time, universities and colleges have increasingly struggled to ensure fees even cover their full economic costs of education, leaving little for buildings and facilities, other than from external sources and sponsorships.
Modernising education maintenance and facilities management can directly help to address many of these challenges. Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) and Computerised Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) such as ShireSystem from Elecosoft can give education maintenance leaders the flexible digital platform they need to work smarter, plan better and make more informed decisions.
The state of education maintenance management
The complexity of education facilities management is significant – yet many establishments are simply not professionally equipped to manage these requirements.
Paper-based administration still burdens many organisations, even alongside largely digital information flows and communication. The problem frequently lies with the use of Office software for information that it is not designed to process. For example, spreadsheets are often used to capture asset registries, task lists, schedules and directories of datasheets.
Supporting documents are stored on school and college servers with little structure, version control or consistency, and in a range of file formats with documents ranging from MSDS sheets to manuals found in Excel, Word and PDF format.
This is coupled with information being frequently distributed via email or sent externally to service providers and suppliers so there are always numerous versions insecurely in circulation.
Escape the spreadsheet and embrace the database
If educational institutions want to do better by their buildings and students then it is time to make a change.
The pressure on higher education facilities is growing daily, as dramatic increases in student numbers are forcing a rethink of how campuses are designed and buildings are utilised.
Meanwhile, nearly 4,000 schools in England have been judged by surveyors to require immediate remedial work. This came from the government’s own collection of school condition data. This was intended to help focus planned new investments but has instead provided a worrying call to action for local education authorities.
It is imperative for schools, colleges and universities to improve how they plan and manage education maintenance and grasp the opportunities of better systems.
They must act not just to ensure that young people have the safe facilities they need for good education in the future, but also before maintenance issues and connected costs escalate even further.
CAFM/CMMS solutions such as ShireSystem from Elecosoft offer a raft of opportunities for overstretched education estate managers and maintenance leaders. They can help you to secure efficiencies, save money on maintenance, and sustain facilities in better operation.
You can create digital meters and more easily record readings on water and power systems during routine inspections with data going directly into the system, so you can give more accurate reporting in real-time to accounting.
The digital database can hold an evolving body of information about key systems, assets and spaces in a single accessible place that you can share securely with your maintenance engineers or service providers, at your discretion.
Keeping assets in efficient working order requires you to schedule essential service visits at the right time. With the support of a CMMS/CAFM, you can ensure regulated safety checks of fire doors and other systems are timely and compliant, ensure service visits are fixed on schedule and analyse any failure patterns in assets which suggest a service visit should be brought forwards.
Instead of relying on memory recall, to-do lists or diarised actions, you can create timed and condition-based alerts so that you never forget an essential activity.
Maintain a single, complete and current repository of asset, maintenance and usage information that can help you to more easily and quickly generate monthly or quarterly board reports and auditor reporting whenever required.
A CMMS/CAFM solution such as ShireSystem delivers a flexible platform that enables smarter school and college maintenance by enabling more informed decisions based on complete, current and accurate data about assets, buildings and maintenance imperatives.
Moving to an FM solution that is designed to help you manage maintenance workload, tasks and schedules can be a natural evolution from spreadsheet-based processes of capturing information and lists. It will not only transform education maintenance management but will enable you to move towards planned preventative maintenance, and secure even greater savings by extending asset lifespans, minimising emergency repair work and just-in-time inventory management.
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