School Contractors Rethink Design After Covid-19
School contractors are adapting to changed circumstances. As has been the case for other industries, the education sector was not spared from the dreadful effects of Covid-19. Schoolchildren across the country were not allowed to physically attend school to mitigate the spread of the virus. Now that schools in England reopened on the 8th of March, all stakeholders must turn their attention to forward-thinking strategies that will future-proof school buildings. School contractors will play a central role in this by rethinking current school building plans and adopting more resilient designs while making new builds net zero.
Meanwhile, the Department for Education had reinforced its commitment to this task through its 10-year school rebuilding programme, with £1 billion allocated for the first 50 projects, but how can school contractors adapt building designs to promote safety for teachers and students
Improved air circulation
One of the most important strategies to incorporate in the context of a pandemic would be getting rid of stagnant air through increased ventilation. While this is an obvious solution to this problem, there are a couple of challenges school contractors still need to overcome to make it a reality, such as; safety concerns when opening windows in classrooms above the first floor, opening windows in places where noise and/or air pollution are widespread problems, the high-energy consumption from mechanical ventilation and more.
One of the main challenges faced by educational institutions during the pandemic is keeping people within school premises while trying to observe social distancing. To solve this problem, some schools approved one-way systems as a short-term solution. This created a new problem as one-way systems took longer for pupils to navigate, thereby making them late for classes.
Considering the growing student population and the building budgets which are often as constrained as classroom spaces, the ideal solution would be to embrace flexible spaces for multiple purposes. Implementing some clever architectural designs to embrace this approach will help keep pupils in their groups while reducing the number of people circulating in corridors. Another alternative would be to extend learning opportunities into outdoor classrooms to enjoy the natural lighting, and improved ventilation and free up more space indoors.
A hygiene-centric approach
The most important priority for educational institutions is to ensure that teachers and students are welcomed into a safe environment. One way to achieve this would be to create additional handwashing opportunities all over the school premises, especially at entrances/exits, corridors, and lobbies. Equipped staff can also use these spaces to check temperatures. Additionally, the materials which are used in schools should be assessed in an attempt to prioritise those that are easy to clean and hygienic.
In the past, school contractors have shown that good-quality buildings have a positive impact on educational outcomes. That said, the numerous challenges faced by the educational sectors have also created an opportunity for building contractors to implement future-proof design solutions to support children’s learning.
Jerram Falkus- The right contractors for your School projects
Jerram Falkus is an experienced family-run construction business that has successfully completed projects in the educational sector, namely: the Hounslow Town Primary School, and the University For Creative Arts. Here at Jerram Falkus, the challenges caused by the pandemic have only strengthened our commitment to a proactive and innovative approach that will ensure future-proof solutions that ensure pupils stay in school safely.
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