Last Updated: 21st September 2020
School Property Matters is the country’s foremost specialist in calculating school pupil capacities and works with local authorities, academy trusts, and individual schools across the country. The company works within schools to measure and assess the sites and buildings and then completes detailed analysis as a desk based exercise.
School Property Matters was very quick to identify the issues with Covid-19 and closed the main office on Monday 16th March 2020, a week prior to the Government’s announcement of the nationwide lockdown. All site work in schools was also suspended from this date. Sales and Marketing staff were placed on furlough around this time with the Production team attempting to continue working from home on desk based reports. As of the start of September all staff are back to regular working hours and the office has reopened with additional sanitising and social distancing measures in place.
School Property Matters appreciates that the services provided are deemed essential by some clients as they struggle to calculate the pupil capacity of their socially distanced schools. With this in mind, the company has reviewed site procedures to devise a method of operating within schools whilst adhering to Government social distancing guidelines.
The new procedures are designed with the health and safety of employees and clients in mind and cover two areas; travel and accommodation, and site procedures.
Travel and Accommodation
As the company operates nationally, under normal circumstances staff will stay in hotels local to the customer’s schools on several nights per week. At present, hotels across the country are open and taking bookings and therefore we are able to work in any area, although we are are avoiding the use of hotels where possible. When staying in hotels staff are taking additional precautions such as sanitising high contact areas of their hotel rooms on entering, and following Government guidelines around hand washing and the use of face coverings.
With regards to local lockdowns in place across the country, School Property Matters will continuously monitor and abide by local guidelines and regulations in place where an on site visit is required.
When traveling to on site appointments, School Property Matters employees will always attempt to travel separately to the location. Where this is unavoidable and employees must travel together, relevant guidance from the government will be followed at all times.
Whilst on school sites, the team will visit each space and take required dimensions. Taking the dimensions involves no contact with any building elements and thus is not considered a risk. The key issues are identified as; interaction with school staff, wearing PPE, opening of doors, and use of sanitary facilities.
Interaction with school staff: The site team will operate a strict 2m social distance from any school staff or pupils in the building and will not hesitate to request that staff or pupils move away if they feel they are too close. The site team will not enter any room where they feel it will not be possible to maintain a safe social distance. School Property Matters will only send necessary staff to work on site, numbers of staff will be kept as low as possible to help maintain social distancing. Where possible, staff will follow individual school guidelines in place, allowances may have to be made in order to keep the process as quick and simple as possible (e.g. staff may not always be able to follow one-way systems put in place in corridors).
Wearing PPE: Staff will be wearing masks provided by the company on arrival to all school sites before entering the buildings and thereafter will comply with any requirements in place by individual schools. This is with the exception of gloves as staff are required to use tablet devices to record measurements.
Opening of doors: Gaining access to every space requires passing through doors where the handles are an identified transmission risk. When arriving at site, the team will discuss with school staff how to mitigate this by potentially having every door be left open for them to gain entry. Where this is not possible, the team will have wipes and hand sanitiser to sensibly reduce the risk of virus transmission to and from them on any door handle. Staff will also carry a door opening hook and will use this where possible.
Use of sanitary facilities: The team will obviously need to use the toilet facilities at some stage during the day, they will discuss with school staff what local procedures are in place and agree which toilets they are able to use. The team will use disinfectant wipes to wipe the toilet, sink and door handles prior to and after use.
School Property Matters has taken a considered and sensible approach to restarting site work within schools and is committed to maintaining safe practices.
© 2020 School Property Matters