FM specialist, Kier, has been closely supporting education trust, Oasis Community Learning, as it expands its national network of primary and secondary schools.
Created in 2004, Oasis Community Learning manages and administers the running of 17 academy schools across the country and has ambitious plans to open more schools in the coming 12 months.
The trust began working with Kier in October 2010 as part of a trial project at nine secondary schools and one primary, and following this success, Kier has since been awarded a five-year contract to provide FM services to a further seven primary and secondary schools.
Kier has previously worked with schools in Kent, Waltham Forest, Radcliffe and Bexley, gaining experience that helped the company navigate the specific FM challenges presented by operating in schools, including a need to limit disruption to lessons and adapting to the increased importance of health & safety.
An early initiative Kier introduced was a professional Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) regime to ensure school buildings would continue to comply with legal and statutory requirements as well as minimising reactive costs and prolong the life of key equipment by providing regular and routine maintenance to school buildings, boilers, lifts and air conditioning supplies.
As part of the contract, Kier manages all subcontractors on behalf of the academies as welll as cleaners and caretakers and also takes responsibility for health & safety on school premises.
However, the job doesn’t stop at physical maintenance work. Kier also provides training opportunities for pupils, including working with engineering company, Powell Systems, at the Oasis Academy in Immingham to offer apprenticeships in FM to school leavers.
Anne Hook, national account manager at Kier, said: “A good facilities management company should be almost invisible, quietly keeping everything running smoothly and anticipating problems before they happen. There are a number of challenges to working in the education sector but our experience with other schools across the country has enabled us to provide a service that gets the job done with the minimum of disruption to students.
“The role is always interesting and varied – no two days are ever the same and I’m happy to say that since the contract started we’ve developed a very good working relationship with Oasis and together we have improved services across the board.”
Nigel Poole, interim chief operating officer for Oasis, said: “Kier are flexible in their approach to partnership working and finding effective solutions to managing the Oasis portfolio of academies across a wide geographical area.”
By providing FM services at a national level, Kier has been able to reduce costs and improve efficiency by providing more streamlined and responsive services.
Overall, the contract has seen more efficient and professional working practices introduced across the organisation and created valuable savings that are helping to ensure the academies will continue to thrive in the future.