Premises management for schools

To make sure all school sites are safe for staff and visitors, site management checks must be undertaken to meet legal requirements.

We are aware that staff who usually complete these checks may not be at work due to the coronavirus pandemic, however we must maintain our buildings as much as possible, especially those that are being used.

The site management checks are listed below and must be completed as follows:

  • Mandatory - these must be completed as detailed
  • Partially mandatory - these checks are dependent on when the building is in use
  • Non mandatory - these do not have to be completed if it is not practical to carry out the checks

Hazard and defect reporting system

Procedure for reporting and recording hazards and/or defects (mandatory)

Step 1

You must report all hazards or defects that could cause harm and make sure any action to address them is taken.

Using a red, amber, green (RAG) system as part of your defect reporting system can help you to prioritise any issues.

To avoid duplication, all staff should report and record issues on a central log that is accessible to everyone (for example, it should not be saved on a personal drive). This will also help identify whether any action has been taken.

Step 2

You should take immediate action to make the situation as safe as possible such as:

  • cordoning the area
  • removing an item of equipment from use
  • affixing signage

If an issue is urgent or essential please contact your building surveyor for advice on how to proceed. Some maintenance is considered critical activity.

Please note: as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, there may be delays with contractors carrying out repairs because they:

  • are not currently operating or are operating with reduced staffing levels
  • have supply chain issues
  • have a backlog of requests to work through

General site safety

Daily opening up check (mandatory)

Before opening, the first person who arrives on site each day must check and be able to confirm that the site is safe to open to staff and members of the public, such as school children and parents. You may create your own written procedure, or you can download the checklist below:

General school site safety - daily checklist

What to do if you find a hazard, defect or issue

Record any hazards, defects or issues and what action has been taken to make the area immediately safe. If further action is required to fully resolve the situation, you must also record this and make sure the action is undertaken by the required person.

Fire safety

Weekly fire alarm checks (mandatory)

You must carry out checks on the fire alarms in all areas of the building that you are using to make sure that the fire alarm system is working correctly, and can be heard throughout the building.

Weekly fire door inspections (mandatory)

We understand the temptation to wedge open fire doors to reduce contact with surfaces, however this is not good practice and should be discouraged wherever possible. If any doors are wedged open, there must be a procedure in place to make sure fire doors are closed in the event of an evacuation, and at the end of the day as part of the closing procedure.

You should log any issues with fire doors on the repairs reporting record.

Please note: fire doors might be damaged if they are wedged open. You must carry out regular inspections to check for damage and make sure the doors close properly.

Monthly emergency lighting tests (partially mandatory)

Emergency lighting should be tested to make sure there is sufficient illumination to allow safe exit in the event of an evacuation.

Buildings that are used during hours of darkness must be tested. If a building is only occupied during day time hours, you are not expected to carry out the test if it is not practical to do so. You should log any issues with emergency lighting on the repairs reporting record.

A fish key is required to complete emergency lighting checks so make sure you know where this is located.

Monthly fire extinguisher inspections (non mandatory)

Checks should be recorded on the dedicated template within the fire safety and maintenance log book that each school has. You should check:

  • there are no obvious signs of damage
  • the tamper tag is still intact
  • the pressure bar is within the 'green zone' (where applicable)

If it is not practical to carry out these checks, due to staffing issues you are not expected to do so. However any evidence of damage or tampering should be reported on the repairs reporting record.

Please note: fire extinguishers should only be used to tackle a small, contained fire or to enable exit from the building.

Water hygiene

Monthly temperature monitoring (mandatory)

Legionella bacteria can multiply where temperatures are between 20 and 45 degrees celsius. Checks should be carried out to make sure the temperature remains at a safe level.

The test should be completed at the tap furthest away from the water heater or boiler (known as the sentinel point).

Hot water testing

Thermostatic Mixing Valves (TMV)
  • Record the temperature at the hot water inlet to the TMV - running hot water should not exceed 44 degrees celsius.

  • Hold the thermometer in the hot flow for 1 minute.
  • Record the temperature after 1 minute - it should have reached at least 50 degrees celsius

Cold water testing

  • Hold the thermometer in the cold running water for 2 minutes
  • Record the temperature after 2 minutes - it should not exceed 20 degrees celsius.

Weekly flushing of infrequently used outlets (mandatory)

As legionella bacteria favours stagnant water, it is important that infrequently used outlets, such as showers and outside taps, are flushed weekly.

Find out more about water hygiene inspections

Gas safety

Location of gas shut off valve (mandatory)

Make sure you know the location of the gas shut off valve and that it is accessible.

In the event of a fire the gas needs to be shut off.

Contact your premises management team or caretaker for further instructions about gas safety.

Play equipment

Indoor and outdoor play equipment (mandatory)

Check indoor and outdoor play equipment each day to make sure it is safe to use. This includes looking for:

  • signs of damage
  • wear and tear (cracks, fraying or broken)
  • vandalism
  • trip hazards
  • splinters (in wooden furniture, particularly in Spring and Summer months when children are more likely to wear shorts or dresses)

Cyclical maintenance

Third party service, testing and maintenance visits (mandatory)

As service, testing and maintenance visits are generally critical, you should make reasonable efforts to enable these activities to be completed. Please bear in mind government guidance regarding coronavirus and also safeguarding arrangements.

Find out more about maintenance and cyclical inspections.


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