Even during a shutdown, preventive maintenance can help a school reduce emergency work

Even during a shutdown, preventive maintenance can help a school reduce emergency work

Establishing a proactive maintenance program as part of your school’s risk-management strategy can help you avoid injuries and property damage and also help with energy and resource efficiency. As many schools are looking ahead at re-opening, consider taking these measures:

Building inspections

Ensuring your facility is in good condition will help provide a comfortable environment for occupants when they return. Create a documented inspection program for personnel to complete a visual inspection of roofs, exterior walls, foundation, drainage, presence of insects, doors, and windows. Common trouble areas include:

  • Cracking
  • Condition of insulation or flashing
  • Rust
  • Operation of windows/doors
  • Rotting
  • Drainage
  • Pooling of water
  • Evidence of mold growth

Building maintenance documentation should include a record of any repairs and warranties. 

Lighting maintenance

Replacing large parts of lamps at one scheduled time and cleaning of lighting can help improve efficiency, reduce labor costs, and maintain proper illumination. As a rule, lamps should be scheduled for replacement at 70-80% of the rated lamp life. The remaining good lamps should be saved and used to replace a failed lamp. It is recommended that the installation date be written on the lamp base or other discrete location. This will assist with identifying replacement lamps. 

HVAC and mechanical equipment

Maintaining temperature controls, adequate airflow, and refrigerant charge are some of the key items to focus on to help ensure comfort. ASHRAE Standard 55 defines a range of conditions where most people feel comfortable. Maintaining comfortable temperatures will help to minimize the use of electric space heaters in the winter or propping open doors in the summer. HVAC systems should run only during occupied periods to conserve energy. Other methods to save energy include duct sealing, use of economizers, and verifying/adjusting refrigerant charge. For more information, check out our article on restarting HVAC and other equipment.

Plumbing

Plumbing system maintenance includes water lines, steam and gas lines, kitchen appliances, waste systems, and irrigation systems. In addition to repairs of stoppages and leaks, regular/periodic checks should be completed for items such as:

  • Scaling
  • Mixing valve operation
  • Drinking fountain operation
  • Water filter replacement
  • Entrapped air
  • Safety/shutoff valves
  • Automatic disposal
  • Floor drains
  • Grease traps
  • Roof drains
  • Steam traps
  • Pressure relief valves

Landscaping

Developing a landscape management plan helps identify methods to provide the necessary nutrients to sustain healthy plants, eradicate pests, and reduce the use of toxic materials. Use of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach helps to minimize the risk to humans and the environment.  The Environmental Protection Agency provides many resources on IPM programs. When developing a plan, it is important to involve the appropriate individuals such as maintenance/operations, grounds maintenance management, groundskeepers, and outside service providers (pest control companies, lawncare, etc.). 

 

Additional resources

 

Your safety and well-being are our primary concern. These suggestions are general in nature, so please ensure that any activities you contemplate comply with all federal, state, and local COVID-19 orders impacting your facilities or operations as well as CDC guidelines for social distancing, hygiene, and other recommended best practices.

Our risk control services are advisory only. We assume no responsibility for: managing or controlling customer safety activities, implementing any recommended corrective measures, or identifying all potential hazards. No attempt has been made to interpret any referenced codes, standards, or regulations. Please refer to the appropriate government authority for interpretation or clarification.