As schools across the country limp wearily to the Summer break and the close of another academic year, a different part of the school calendar is only just coming to life! It’s the secret existence of a school in the six weeks that see it bereft of the pounding of feet and finger smears on walls. In many ways, the Summer holidays have been left as a fait accompli for decoration and maintenance purely due to its length of time. Indeed, there are many reasons that the Summer is an opportunity to be seized, but in many other ways also a time of many challenges.
Why Summer is Great!
In the same way that it takes half the time to pop to the shops without a gaggle of children in tow, decorating or refurbishing a school space without students present is simply quicker and more straightforward. With the site clear of the diminutive end users, it benefits the contractor to be able to move around the space without restriction and to be able to undertake any work around electrics or plumbing without causing disruption. It benefits the students to avoid noise and other disturbance and to return to the fresh start that a newly refurbished area inspires. Not to mention that the Summer is (potentially…) drier and warmer than the rest of the year, with long hours of daylight.
Why Summer is Tricky…
For the same reasons that you’re considering a Summer holiday refurb project, so are many other schools and educational establishments. For this reason, it can be hard to schedule and expensive to run. Bear in mind the schedules of key staff who may be involved in project planning; do they need to be accessible to be consulted on design details? In this busy period, a delay in project communication translates into slipping schedules. The Summer holidays have a very definite and non-negotiable end date. The students are coming back on a specific day in September come what may, so any project changes or unforeseen circumstances can become very stressful!
Of course, all of this is further complicated by the fact that schools are changing. They are not necessarily the deserted territories that they used to be over the Summer break. Use of the space is becoming less perennial with wraparound childcare, holiday activities and venue hire as an income stream all fairly recent changes to the status quo. So be sure that any activities that may be scheduled in and around school over the Summer break are fully considered within a project plan.
Planning and budgeting
Really, the only way to overcome the challenges that Summer redecoration throws up is through planning. Whatever the scale of a decoration or maintenance project, it is key to have laid out a comprehensive plan of works and to have systematically thought through all of the tasks that need to be undertaken. It’s worth considering how the variety of jobs will impact each other, the order in which they need to occur and the equipment they will require. As you may be looking at different levels of decoration happening in different rooms of the school, this is where an experienced decorator really shows their value.
The Summer holiday refurbishment programme should not be a mad rush to complete all of the tasks you’ve wanted to achieve over the year but should exist as part of a year-round maintenance programme that fulfils your objectives in stages. Appointing a decorator from the advance planning stage will help you to overcome potential challenges and schedule clashes before they even occur, which has the benefit of preventing those sudden increases in both budget and stress!