HPA’s Top Tips for Successful Education Estate Management
Managing educational property estates involves balancing a wide range of considerations. As funding restraints continue to grow, estate managers are required to use their budgets effectively, whilst continuing to provide high quality facilities and learning experiences for their students.
Having worked with many schools, higher education and technical colleges such as Westholme School, Furness College and Cumbria University; HPA have established some key methods and ideas on how to manage educational estates successfully.
From the relationships you keep with your consultants, to embracing new technologies, here are our top four tips for successful management of educational estates:
1. Take a Holistic View
Facilities Managers are often under considerable pressure to maximise their building portfolio within a tight financial budget. It is therefore vital to view your estate holistically.
Rather than moving from one project to another in isolation, take a step back and look at your portfolio as a whole.
It takes time to understand a site, so when new, unfamiliar teams and contractors are used for each individual project, opportunities for innovative ideas or cost effective solutions can be missed. By employing the same consultants across multiple projects within your portfolio, there will be a familiarity and overarching knowledge of your assets. Take the time to build relationships with a consultant team so they can understand your school or college’s vision or needs.
Being able to see the bigger picture across your projects will also help you to avoid duplication or unnecessary works. A holistic outlook allows you to budget for the future, and helps to cultivate long term strategies for your school or college.
2. Consider Well-being in Design
With a growing appreciation for the health and well-being of students and employees, considering how your space impacts the people who use them is becoming increasingly important and beneficial to health and education sector.
Recent levelling-up funding and an emphasis on sustainability is providing an opportunity for Education Properties to update their facilities. Creating community facilities within education establishments can also encourage interaction between students and the general public, which can bring in new opportunities for your organisation.
Layouts of classrooms and communal spaces, natural lighting and good natural ventilation can all be adopted to create a greater sense of well-being. This focus on improving wellness is expected to continue to grow, and pushing for more user friendly spaces will be beneficial for students and employees.
3. Embrace New Technology
It’s important to regularly undertake a condition survey of your estate. This will allow emerging issues to be identified early, so they can be repaired before they become an expensive problem which drains time and resources.
A solution to this comes from adopting new scanning technology that accurately gathers building survey data quickly. This technology can help produce measured building surveys and condition surveys which are incredibly accurate and reliable. At HPA we’ve been linking this data to create room data sheets and performance targets to assist our clients to manage their buildings. In some school buildings, scanning data has enabled us to look at how to retrofit the building to reduce heat loss.
Another area where technology can play a huge role is in monitoring the energy usage of buildings. This insight allows design teams and estate managers to identify where they can make meaningful impacts, to make the buildings more sustainable and cheaper to run.
4. Identify Priorities in Your Budget
Being able to provide up to date resources is valuable in bringing in new students; so it is essential that your estate is fit for purpose. To achieve this it comes down to working out what your priorities are, and being able to allocate your budget accordingly.
In addition to a budget that’s been created with the correct goals in mind; an accurate and controlled timescale for works is equally as important. This will enable projects to run smoothly, and also allow for parents, employees or community members to be aware of the planned works and have a positive engagement with project.
HPA have vast experience working together with schools, technical colleges and the Higher Education Sector; to create successful projects that respect the clients budget and provide effective solutions to deliver the requirements of the brief. Click here to find out more about our work in the Education sector.