There is still a need to ensure School buildings comply with statutory building compliance, however at the time of drafting this document regulatory bodies are in discussion with Government departments to clarify emergency practices for critical testing and certification of systems such as gas, air handling, lifts, water and electrical systems.
The present published guidance from regulatory bodies aligns with the Government guidance; of carrying out essential work only using safe practices such as: Keeping a minimum of 2m apart from other people, washing hands frequently, Wiping down all surfaces.
To align with the Government guidance to reduce non-essential travel and person to person interactions, it is recommended that only Statutory testing of building elements or emergency works are scheduled to ensure the building is safe and secure.
Examples of essential work; statutory testing of building elements or emergency works to ensure building safety and security:
▪ test and certify a gas water boiler as being safe to use
▪ test and certify air handling units – especially those that have mechanical cooling
▪ carry out tests and cleaning of water systems to reduce legionella (Higher risk in a building that is not being fully used)
▪ or carry out essential repairs to a broken hot water system to ensure staff and pupils can wash their hands properly.
▪ Repairs to fire or intruder alarms
It is also recommended that works are scheduled where possible during times where there are very few people in the school building to reduce further the possible risk of infection. Works may have to be rescheduled due to lack of staffing.
It is advisable to review building water flushing regimes as normal procedures will be based full occupancy. There may well be a need to increase flushing to reduce the risk of bacteria growth in water systems. It is advised that the Diocesan guidance is used as a minimum. You can find additional Government advice on Legionella at this at the end of this document marked Annex A.
If you have any questions or concerns do please contact the Diocesan Schools Building Surveyor. The following advice is aimed at helping you to provide an appropriate level of security for your school during the close-down periods:
▪ Bins and skips should be located at least 10m from buildings and be secured in position. Ideally bins and skips should have lockable lids.
▪ All vehicles including minibuses/coaches should not be parked near the buildings (unless in secure and alarmed garage etc.). This is due to the potential fire spread from a vehicle to the building.
▪ Contractors: If work must be undertaken, the permit to work/hot work permit system should be strictly adhered to. Don’t forget to notify your insurer of any hot works being undertaken.
▪ Maintenance Programs: Checks are required to ensure that maintenance programs on services including fire alarms, intruder alarms and sprinkler systems are up to date. Coordinate any compliance or maintenance visits with SLT.
▪ Intruder and Fire alarms: Ensure these are operating correctly and showing no faults. If the system is linked to a central monitoring station check that this link has not been broken and that the monitoring stations are able to detect activation.
▪ Ensure that no cash is retained on the premises overnight (leave a note on the door stating that no cash or valuables are kept overnight) or store them in a security accredited safe bolted to the floor.
▪ Security patrols: Consider the need for security patrols, which may include random visits. This is of particular relevance if the school has suffered unwanted attention, and this aspect should be monitored during these extended periods of closure/partial closure.
▪ Review key holders: Ensure that key holders are not considered vulnerable and remain capable and available to respond to activations during the close-down. It may be necessary to put alternative arrangements in place, including the employment of a professional key-holding company to assist in this process. Ensure that the monitoring station for the intruder alarm has up-to-date key-holder details.
▪ Consider isolation of non-essential services: Gas, water and electrical services left connected to empty properties present hazards with regards to fire and water damage. If the premise remains in close-down for an extended period, it should consider isolation of non-essential services. Ensuring that the Intruder Alarm, Fire Alarm and any sprinkler systems remain active and fully effective.
It is recommended that the site is inspected regularly at least every three days, depending on specific local circumstances, by an authorised representative to ensure that any defects or damages are noted and remedied as a matter of priority. Lone workers attending site must conform with the academy’s lone worker procedure or consideration should be given to keyholders attending in accordance with the school policy on lone working if applicable.
Access Control: Access control is vital should your school face partial closure. Consider only opening entry/exits point that can be easily managed by the onsite skeleton staff to prevent unauthorized visitors.
Ensure that all staff are fully briefed each day, on emergency procedures and working practices.
Below is a short checklist that should be helpful to School managers to secure school sites and to use as a reference point for regular checks during temporary closedown periods.
Actions to be completed before a prolonged shutdown (More than 1 weeks) Security Key holder response is up to date and adequately resourced Email any changes to your SLT and [email protected] Are site contacts up to date? If not forward to SLT and Diocesan School Buildings Surveyor. Notify your insurer of any planned hot works.
Hot work permit procedures strictly are adhered to.
Regular inspections of the property are completed.
Confirm Intruder alarm is communicating with the monitoring centre (If applicable).
Confirm Fire Alarm is communicating with the monitoring centre (If applicable).
All chemicals and chemical stores should be reviewed to confirm that they are safely stored All grounds maintenance equipment is securely stored.
Confirm science labs/cookery rooms/DT rooms have their gas isolated.
Put a notice with contact details of keyholder on the front door.
Ensure that any recently used areas such as toilets showers and other sanitary areas have been cleaned down Notify key stakeholders of shutdown.
Notify key suppliers of shutdown.
Confirm any maintenance programme with SLT.
Water hygiene including protection from legionnaire’s disease will still have to take place. This will include flushing of outlets in little used areas. If necessary discuss with DSBC/SLT Review what services can be reduced and make a financial saving: waste collections, sanitary bin services, confidential waste collections etc.
Actions to be completed each time the building is locked are completed? All valuable equipment is secured and out of view.
Flammable materials are locked away.
Rubbish is removed from the building and secured (10m) away from the building. (Consider the risk of arson.)
All internal doors are kept shut.
Windows are locked shut – any grilles locked shut External and internal doors are adequately locked/secured.
All timings on access control should be suspended to ensure all doors/automated gates are locked at all times. (It is vital that all key holders have ‘All hours, all days’ access assigned to their keycard, should they need to attend the academy in an emergency.) Security alarm is working correctly and activated whenever the building is secured (zoned if necessary) External lighting is operational. and all internal lights are switched off where appropriate. CCTV is still operational.
Fire alarm is operational, and any faults reported/rectified.
Windows are intact and any broken windows repaired/boarded up.
Do roof tiles/slates/flashing/skylights appear in good condition (visible check from ground).
Fencing complete and effective and gates locked – look for signs of access.
Mail is cleared from the letterbox.
All vehicles are parked away from buildings.
Ensure keys to the premises or other venues are locked securely in a key safe not left inside the building and are instead with dedicated key holders.