5 School Renovation & Construction Planning Tips

Space is at a premium at all levels of schools, it seems. From elementary level to institutions of higher education, campuses are filled with aging buildings that need renovations for atheistic, environmental and safety reasons. According to the 2018 Facilities & Construction Brief study by College Planning & Management, 45 percent of 143 schools surveyed are planning a major renovation or modernization in 2018. The survey found that 26 percent of schools are planning to add onto an existing building.

School teacher in classroom

Both scenarios mean that at least some space currently in use by students or staff will likely be unavailable during the project. The study found that the top concerns for schools considering construction projects are time management for project completion by the start of the school year, and safety, logistics and continuation of the educational program during construction or renovation. By ensuring these projects stay on schedule, school renovations can be less disruptive to their students, faculty and staff.

When projects take longer than expected, the school often pays more too. Extended completion times can damage morale on campus as well. According to the RegisterGuard Newspaper in Eugene, Oregon, Oregon State University’s George W. Peavy Forest Science Center is a year behind schedule and 33 percent over budget. Because the original building was demolished, approximately 50 faculty and staff members’ offices moved to other locations on campus. Morale on campus was reported to be lower due to being displaced and the multiple schedule changes.

Here are five ways to keep campus renovations on schedule:

1. Create a cross-functional team to manage the project.

When the University of Pennsylvania renovated the mechanical and lighting system in a wing of the chemistry labs, the school created a team that included contractors, the design team, university representatives and construction management personnel. The team proactively and openly communicated to address issues and provide information to each other. This helped the project stay on schedule. According to Facilitiesnet magazine, communication is the best tool for keeping a school renovation project on time and on budget.

college students working on campus

2. Start the project with complete and accurate information.

Each time a project must stop because of outdated specifications or a lack of information, the schedule slips. During the planning phase, gather and verify the latest floor plans, electrical information, permit requirements, and any other information contractors and designers will need.

student athlete on the soccer pitch

3. Store furnishing and fixtures in portable storage containers.

Whenever the construction team moves furniture or has to work around existing fixtures, the effort takes additional time. Before the project begins, transition everything in the buildings under renovation into movable storage, which can be parked in an unused corner of campus. By using locked and secure storage, such as PODS containers, schools also reduce the risk of theft and vandalism while renovation projects are underway.

4. Build incentives (and penalties) into the construction contract.

Include a clause in the construction contract that provides financial incentive for the contractors to finish on time. Some schools use incentives such as a bonus if the project is completed early, while others levy a penalty for each day or week the project runs over.

students studying in school library

5. Use mobile storage for materials, tools and equipment.

Unloading tools, equipment and materials each day takes time that could be better used actually working. If a theft occurs, the project will experience delays as the crew replaces tools and materials. Save time and reduce risk of losing tools, equipment and materials by providing a PODS container for the construction crew. When you place the PODS container near the building they’re working on, the crew can quickly grab everything they need and save time and money.

To learn more about how PODS can keep your campus renovations on schedule, visit PODS for Business or call 855 706-4758

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