The summer holidays are often a frantic time for schools in the UK as they provide a relatively small window of opportunity to carry out larger-scale building and remedial work while students are absent, but contractors are also busy during this time.
Modular building manufacturers Modulek asked us to create a guide for schools on how to reduce the pressures and challenges.
Is Your School September-Ready?
September may seem a long way ahead, but smart-thinking school bursars, estate managers and headteachers are already inspecting school facilities and planning for the new academic year.
They know that the summer months are traditionally the peak period for alterations, extensions and major maintenance tasks in the educational sector as schools and campuses across the country are closed for the holidays.
They know that, if they leave decisions until the last minute, they will be competing with other schools to push through planning applications, gain building control approval, and appoint architects and contractors.
They know that if they delay the process, they will have to pay higher prices to complete their projects on time and may even risk not finding available contractors.
Give Your Facilities a Health-Check Now
While your school is completely or partially closed due to lockdown, you have an ideal opportunity to carry out an in-depth survey into the condition of your school buildings without disturbing lessons or creating hazardous areas for students and staff.
You might reason that the decreased use of school facilities during 2020 should have slowed down any deterioration through wear and tear, but leaving buildings empty, unventilated and unheated for long periods can also be detrimental to their fabric.
Consider repair or replacement if deterioration could potentially cause health or safety issues.
Plan Ahead to Prevent Panic
Submitting your planning and building control applications early will allow for unexpected delays in the process and resubmissions.
Appointing architects and contractors ahead of the rush will avoid the last-minute panic decisions that increase pressure on you and the project team.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Every project has unforeseen complications, which is why contractors build contingency allowances into their pricing. If you include extra time in your project plans it will give you ‘time capital’ to work with.
Get the Pick of the Prices
The first quarter of the year is when the best prices can be obtained from architects, building contractors and fit-out companies, as it is traditionally a quiet period for them and they will be eager to start filling their order books and production schedules.
Give Yourself Time to Check Forensically
Requesting quotations early will also mean you can study the responses in detail; projects can easily run over budget if you haven’t checked contractors’ submissions against your specifications, contractors have misunderstood your requirements, or crucial elements have been overlooked.
Get Early Completion
Nobody wants contractors still onsite when school starts in September. Expediting your project will ensure that snagging jobs will have been completed, equipment, waste and surplus materials will have been removed from the premises in plenty of time for staff to return to the new classrooms and prepare them for reopening.
Eliminate Disruption with Modular Construction
The UK summer holiday only provides a short window of opportunity for contractors to complete larger projects, and major building works will generally demand more time. Construction equipment, building materials and working areas all pose health and safety risks, and the noise of power tools, hammers and general construction work are definitely unwelcome during the exams period immediately before the holidays.
Modular classrooms are no longer the creaking, draught-plagued structures of distant memory. Designed with versatility and built to high quality standards using environmentally-friendly materials and processes, they are a fast and cost-effective option for schools and colleges looking to replace, improve or increase classroom facilities.
Although they are based on standardised sectional units, they can be modified to create bespoke designs that perfectly fit your needs, and one of the biggest benefits for the education sector is that they are built offsite. This means that most construction work is undertaken remotely, leaving only minor finishing work to be completed once the units have been positioned and assembled onsite.
Production time from order sign-off to competed installation is also much faster than conventional building methods.
It’s Time To Talk To Modulek
Modular classrooms from Modulek are built on a durable steel-framed structure – one of the strongest on the market – and has an estimated 60-year design life.
Our Thermowood heat-treated external timber cladding is harvested from a sustainable source and gives a 30-year maintenance-free design life.
Fitted with energy-efficient lighting, double-glazed windows and high-performance insulation in the floors, walls and ceilings as standard, and offering a choice of triple-A-rated energy-efficient HVAC systems or air source heat pumps, Modulek classrooms create a modular learning environment offering a level of comfort that’s equal to or better than that of traditional school buildings.
We hope these tips on how to streamline costs and progress on your new facilities management project will be useful, and to sum up your immediate tasks:
- If you haven’t done it already, carry out a full audit on your existing facilities and projected needs
- Start the conversation with planning authorities and architects
- Contact Modulek to explore the possibilities and benefits of modular school buildings