School building jobs for spring
Spring is in the air, and whilst the weather is improving somewhat, it is well worth doing a bit of spring maintenance. It is definitely worth asking your caretaker to work down the checklist this spring and hopefully this will help reduce the risk of much more costly repairs later on. Here is Chris Slinn’s to do list for schools with a particular focus on gutters and downpipes – these are the main source of leaks and if left unattended may very well result in a significant and costly works to the roof.
Windows & Doors
General maintenance set out in your Health & Safety file should include checking perimeter seals, caulking and sealing to reveals and cill boards and smooth operation of ironmongery. For those of you with timber doors and windows check the frames have not warped over the winter and opening lights fully close.
Barrier matting takes a lot of damage over the winter months so check the condition during the warmer and dryer months. Consider replacing mat wells with fully adhered heavy duty barrier matting, in particular to entrance lobbies.
Check maintenance files and reports if you have a sump or internal drainage pump. It is usual for a 12 month service to be required and the best time to do this is when there is less demand on the pump and equipment.
We all love a good flat roof but unfortunately they can deteriorate very quickly if left un-maintained. Newer flat felt roofs should be ok with a quick sweep to remove leaves etc but older roofs may require more intensive clean to remove moss, vegetation and clear away any valley gutters. Check chutes and sumps along with downpipes to ensure they flow and are free from cracks which could leave water dripping onto adjacent masonry. If you have internal outlets check the base of the boxed pipe internally for signs of damp (a disintegrating skirting board is a good sign of water ingress dripping down to the base of the pipe). Don’t panic if there is standing water on a flat roof, they are designed to take it.
Check for signs of damaged tiles / slates and re-point or re-bed ridge and hip tiles if they are showing signs of loose mortar. Don’t always blame the flat roof if there is a leak internally, abutments between flat and pitched roofs often leave the pitched roof as the weakest point so check flashings and lower tiles to ensure there is no damage or build-up of vegetation which has formed at the base
Gutters / Downpipes
Visual inspection from ground level will pick up any sagging gutters or failed brackets and joints where water can leak onto masonry below. Check connection between gutters and downpipes. At roof level inspect for vegetation, leaves and other blockages (tennis balls) which could be causing a problem. At the base of the downpipe check the condition and quality of the gully. Most will allow you to lift out the internal silk bucket or hopper so you can clear the pipes
Freeze / thaw action over the winter can devastate bad pointing to masonry, particularly at low level where snow and water can sit against the brickwork. Visual inspection of bed joints will identify any areas where re-pointing may be required. Check parapets and coping stones at roof level as losing the joint along here can allow water to penetrate the wall cavity
Cut away branches from paths and access points and also any which over hang the roof. Planting season is upon us so it may time to bring out the strimmer and start raking back the muddy playgrounds ready for seeding