Neil Cole, Partner, Project Management at Bidwells gives a seven-point plan which addresses the key challenges you may face
Point 1: Statutory Compliance
This covers ensuring your estate and facilities are legally compliant in terms of fire, asbestos, the Disability Discrimination Act and Health and Safety. Failure in any of these areas could be very serious.
Point 2: Utilisation
It’s important that your facilities are used to their maximum capacity and it may be worth undertaking a Space Utilisation Study to see if there are different ways to maximise the space available.
Point 3: Building Health Status
Check that your facilities are adequately maintained to meet your business needs including the building fabric and Mechanical & Electrical Surveys.
Point 4: Cost in use
With year-on-year increases in energy costs, make sure your facilities are as energy efficient as possible. Check the Energy Performance Certificate /Display Energy Certificate assessment and life cycle monitoring.
Point 5: Facilities to attract and retain students
Appearance matters – the quality and appearance of facilities is a critical factor in the decision process of our customers – including prospective students. You can achieve this by working with architectural and interior design consultancies to achieve attractive results.
Point 6: Best value
With budgets often under pressure, establishments must ensure that expenditure on facilities drives the best value. Take professional advice on procurement and supply chain management.
Point 7: Funding
It’s essential to provide stable forecast expenditure on estates and facilities to avoid unexpected calls on funding. Consultants can augment internal expertise by providing help with investment management and cashflow forecasting.
At Bidwells we have extensive experience of working with clients in the educational sector to help them manage their estate and avoid unpleasant surprises.
Recently we helped one establishment which wanted to understand the condition of its existing building stock and be aware of any maintenance work that they could potentially be liable for. We carried out an assessment of activities, and our early engagement with the estates team allowed remedial work to take place quickly and with limited supervision. The comprehensive review of all of their buildings which we produced allowed them to plan and budget for any work that needed to take place.
Another educational institution wanted to increase the capacity of student numbers, as well as improve the learning and teaching environment, to give it a fresher look and feel. We acted as a project manager and contract administrator for the refurbishment and extension of several buildings on the site and also produced a user-friendly strategic programme to allow the team to meet key project milestones, as well as review phasing options to support future activity.