Although summer is when most faculty members take time to wind down, many school maintenance departments are gearing up to tackle repair projects that need to be completed before students return in the fall.
Juggling multiple maintenance projects across several school buildings on a short timeframe isn’t easy, but maintaining a schedule for each location and keeping communication open with all involved can help your projects run smoothly. With a plan in place, your maintenance crew will be ready to hit the ground running as soon as summer break begins.
Start Major Repairs Early
Time-consuming repairs, such as replacing a roof or repaving a parking lot, should be started as soon as possible to account for possible setbacks, says David Waggoner, vice president and regional program management director for Heery International, an integrated program management and design-build firm that oversees projects for school districts nationwide.
To prevent setbacks from derailing a project’s completion date, maintenance departments should set project timelines that account for unforeseen obstacles like severe weather, Waggoner says. Additional construction crews should be contracted during the bidding process and kept on retainer to help repairs stay on track if a project falls behind.
Complete Projects Simultaneously
To prevent classroom disruptions, most school construction projects take place during summer, making it essential to work on multiple projects at the same time, Waggoner says.
He recommends looking at each school’s to-do list and seeing which projects can be conducted at the same time without much confusion, such as floor replacements and exterior painting. “You wouldn’t want to plan replacing a carpet and interior painting [simultaneously] because workers would be tripping over each other,” he says.
Keep Communication Open
If one of your projects involves shutting off electricity or water, all maintenance members working in that building should be notified, as the loss of utilities could impede their projects, says Randy Barber, a principal at OAC Services, a project and construction management company that handles maintenance projects for school districts.
“If you’re going to cut power off to whomever is working on the inside of a building, they need to know whether they are going to be impacted or if they need to make arrangements for a back-up power source,” he says.
Any projects that involve noxious adhesives or paints should be completed one to two weeks before faculty members return to school to ensure all odors have dissipated. Waggoner suggests completing painting projects by July to give the paint ample time to dry. In addition, flooring projects should be completed after interior painting to avoid paint spills on new floors or carpet.
Waggoner also recommends keeping cleaning and landscaping crews on hand to make sure project debris is properly cleared. “We always have cleaning crews and landscaping crews in place to dress things up at the end of the summer before teachers and students arrive,” he says.
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