Employing dedicated school refurbishment contractors can seem daunting. But, sometimes, only refurbishment contractors can improve building efficiency.
Reduce Maintenance And Therefore Disruption
Whenever you plan any form of refurbishment or refreshment of decorations in your school or college building, there is a degree of disruption to various levels of staff and students.
Even the most conscientious of contractors or your own facilities management team can sometimes not quite set a teacher’s room and furniture back precisely as they found it. And, of course, there are sometimes far bigger disruptions from conducting maintenance and decoration works: closed corridors, noise, dust and mess being created, to name just a few.
Employing a refurbishment contractor to conduct a more long-lasting and thorough refurbishment of your school or college building means that less often is maintenance work needed when it comes to both ad-hoc and planned maintenance.
Improvements in heating, glazing or floor coverings can reduce the need for, for example, classes to be moved at short notice due to things, such as, damp carpets due to a leak or a classroom being too cold. A proper refurbishment contractor will be able to diagnose the cause of these kinds of problems and prevent them happening again in the future.
A refurbishment of building features or equipment also means that less ad-hoc disruptions occur, as all aspects will now be more reliable and disrupt the teacher’s and pupil’s days much less often, if at all.
Improve Energy & Water Efficiency
Many school and college buildings have been in use for a number of years and therefore have been constructed using now outdated techniques. For example, looking around your school building, does it have thick external walls and lots of long corridors leading to separate rooms? Is it often very hot during warm summer days and takes an age to warm up during freezing winter mornings?
This type of heavy structure is highly ineffective in terms of heating efficiency. It results in a building having a high thermal mass. Buildings that suffer from this take a long time to heat up and to cool down. They also use a lot of energy doing so and this incurs a financial and environmental cost which can be avoided.
A school refurbishment contractor can redesign the space of the building (explained in more detail below) and upgrade the heating and cooling systems to something more contemporary. This will improve the building efficiency in terms of energy usage and spend. The end result is a more pleasant working environment and an improved budget spend, allowing more money to be spent on the important things, such as, teaching and learning resources.
Other options related to this, including taking advantage of solar energy and managing the heat absorbed from the sun in a more effective way. Whilst photo voltaic cells and solar energy storage is still expensive in terms of whole-building use, as well as, being an unreliable energy source, it can be used as an additional means of providing energy for specific items; like heating water, for example.
This is also a great marketing point and educational tool within your science and geography departments.
Another reason, briefly mentioned, which may be resulting in your building being overly warm during the summer months is ineffective solar shading. The external envelope or glazing can be added to, to help with managing the amount of heat the building absorbs from the high summer sun. External canopies, internal blinds and coated roofing are all options that a refurbishment contractor can likely install on your building to help manage the temperature more efficiently.
There may also be scope for improving the efficiency of water usage. Plumbing systems could be due a major overhaul and there could be potential to install a rainwater harvest tank.
More open corridors with improved lighting and airflow results in less student congestion and misbehaviour, but also helps with managing heating and cooling.
Toilet layout and design could be due an overhaul, with the reason for this being dual purpose. It can be done to improve water usage and efficiency but also as a means of student management. If toilets are still a troublesome area in terms of bullying or other illicit behaviour, a redesign in terms of open corridor toilets (of course, complete with private cubicles) and shared hand wash basins (between staff and students) can dramatically reduce the number of bullying and vandalism incidents.
This means teachers spending their time more efficiently, as they will be spending less time resolving incidents between pupils, and the facilities maintenance team can spend their time more efficiently too as they will be cleaning up far less blocked toilets and wash basins.
Improve Space Efficiency
A full refurbishment can often help your building make a lot more efficient use of the space within it. Repurposing rooms and altering the layout of internal walls is something which only a professional contractor can undertake, but it can deliver brilliant results for all sorts of schools and colleges.
It’s like moving to a new building but without the added expense of actually doing so.
Improving air flow and circulation around the building is a great way of reducing the thermal mass of the building and speeding up the process of heating and cooling. It also makes for a much more pleasant working environment during summer, which boosts teaching and learning levels at a crucial time of the academic year.
Often, school buildings which were designed 30, 40, or even more, years ago offer uniformity in classroom size and layout, with only minor tweaks in terms of furniture from room to room or subject to subject. But your teaching staff may no longer be operating in a way which is suitable for their surroundings – and this is a sign that teaching techniques or class numbers have changed and adapted, so your building fabric should be changed to match. Not the other way around.
We recently wrote about different classroom layouts and designs which can help boost productivity, but altering layouts of the building as a whole can also boost efficiency. Here’s an extract:
Here’s a multi-purpose space from the aforementioned blog post.
Improve Teaching Efficiency
And with improved space planning and layouts comes improved teaching efficiency. Altering the internal wall layout may or may not be an option in your building. But, whichever, there is also the process of reforming your space planning. Again, this is something which a contractor can undertake for you. It will also help with improving teacher morale, as an additional bonus.
It may be that a combination or all of the following ideas can result in a more productive space and more productive teaching:
- Altering the purpose and layout of specific classrooms can allow staff to work differently in different rooms without the need to alter the layout from lesson to lesson. For example, having English department classrooms set up drama performance and discussions, and others for essay writing, respectively.
- Designing spaces to be used for seminars and group discussion but having individual work take place in closely monitored spaces nearby can keep lessons full of life and well-varied. Which young and older students appreciate.
- Incorporating new and better designed furniture into a classroom can either mean it has more flexibility in terms of alterable layouts or increase the number of students it is capable of holding. Likewise, you may have switched to double-periods or extended lessons since you purchased your current furniture items; is it any wonder students get restless when sat in those chairs for an hour and twenty minutes?
- A refurbishment of ICT and electronic teaching resources can dramatically improve teacher efficiency. Electronic smart boards and shared folder cloud storage systems are what many of your students may be used to from previous schools, so you may be at a disadvantage in terms of teaching and learning, but also attracting new students, if your teaching resources are not up to current standards.
Does Your Building Need A Refurbishment Contractor?
This is just a short explanation of how a specialist school refurbishment contractor can help you make your building more efficient. It’s sometimes a daunting prospect, undergoing a whole school refurbishment, but you might not need to be so drastic. And it certainly won’t cost as much as some may have you believe.
If you are unsure as to what aspects of your school building – if any – need a refurbishment or refresh, take a look at our free checker and planner. It gives you all the information you could ever need to work out what your building needs, how to canvas staff and students effectively and how to get sign off from Governors and County Hall or your own Local Authority.