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Building Services & Maintenance


■ This means that planned maintenance needs to be strictly programmed and fi t-out items like furniture need to be measured up and ordered two or three months before the start of the works.


■ All of the students arrive over a few weekends and leave over a few weeks which presents challenges to programming so that any planned maintenance is avoided during these peak periods.


Student damage can be a big issue:


■ The traditional approach is to equally share out such charges among all of the tenants in the cluster of fl ats so that peer pressure prevails, however in the common areas it’s diffi cult to pinpoint the culprit.


■ In one large development we increased the size of the stair and lift lobbies for what we thought was the benefi t of the students; however, these areas became a focus for student parties which caused extensive wear and tear and damage. This was prevented in the next academic year by installing CCTV in these areas. Future designs have incorporated smaller lift and stair lobbies to avoid these problems.


The induction and training of students and staff has a signifi cant impact: ■ Because students normally change annually, there is a re-education process each time; this includes how to report faults, reduce damage, and not set off the fi re alarms!


■ A practical approach needs to be part of the skill set for PBSA as, whilst there are technical issues, many of the tasks involve changing fridge/freezers, replacing mattresses, touching up paintwork as well as carrying out maintenance and checks of plant.


■ Using technology to support the service has benefi ts; for example, using such things as maintenance apps to allow faults to be reported and tracked, or remote review of laundry machines to assess any faults.


Our best experiences have been when


we have been involved from inception of the scheme and in supporting the designers on what we believe works – whether this be the type of carpets and paint or the pipework and jointing


systems or the cladding and roofi ng – all based on knowledge of what has and hasn’t worked in the past.


Better outcomes So how can we avoid the 1:50:2000? ■ The forward funding of PBSA schemes has helped to mitigate some of the worst evils where the investor who is holding the investment for the long-term employs representatives to check and agree the specifi cation and build quality etc.


■ The involvement of the students in the design process to remind designers what they want pays off.


■ The involvement of the FMs to build in practicality and fl exibility into the design and in the choice of specifi cations defi nitely pays off.


■ The terotechnology approach being used by all professionals including the contractor closes off problems and opens new opportunities.


And fi nally, the Royal Academy of Engineers 1:5:200 ratio appears to be a little farfetched in reality. However, it does demonstrate the impact of poor design and specifi cation on lifecycle and operation. The ratio calculated more scientifi cally by the School of Construction Management and Engineering at the University of Reading for offi ce buildings is 1:0.4:12. It’s all arguable, of course – but whether it’s 12,200 or 2000, that’s still a signifi cant ratio of impact if we get it wrong.


Author information


Martin Corbett is Managing Director at Homes for Students, the new student accommodation management specialist. http://www.wearehomesfor students.com/


FACILITIES 111


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