Roof Condition Survey for a Primary School: Case Study
Brief: Our client was concerned about the condition of the roof of their school building, and requested a condition survey so they could secure funds and prioritise repairs.
Property: A primary school building dating from circa 1900, with two more recent extensions.
Instructed by: The Site Manager.
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- The property was in use as a primary school.
- The oldest part of the building was built around 1900, but the property had been extended, with 20th and 21st century single-storey additions.
- The roof was hipped and covered with a clay tile. There were also sections of felted, flat roof.
- Our inspection comprised an external inspection of the roofs, and an internal inspection of the loft space.
Key survey findings
- Our commercial surveyor found that parts of the roof were in a very poor state of repair.
- The most urgent works required were to the areas of flat roof.
- We found poor valley detail that was blistering because of poor workmanship. This deterioration was expected to affect water tightness, and could therefore lead to further external and internal damage.
- The central flat felt roof covering was also uneven and blistering.
- Upstand details were poor in some areas, and could let in water and wind-driven rain.
- We recommended that roof coverings across the flat roof sections should be replaced, requiring a budget of approximately £135K.
- Other repairs needed in the immediate term included:
- redecoration of timber fascia boards and soffits
- repointing of ridge tiles
- immediate redressing and reinstatement of flashing in areas of damage, to prevent water ingress.
- In addition, we found several damaged lead weatherproofing installations that had reached the end of their serviceable life.
- Many valleys and gutters were blocked, preventing rainwater from draining away. Clearance of these in the short term would prevent long term problems due to standing water.
- The main hipped roof had previously had patch repairs.
- In the immediate term, watertightness could be maintained by futher repairs and repointing; however, the condition of the roof meant that the maintenance required would be above average.
- We recommended that proactive overhaul of the roof (estimated at around £100K) would be required to provide long term weathertightness.
- We also recommended that upon overhaul, a membrane should be installed between the roof timbers and tiles, to protect against water ingress.
- We would also suggest upgrading joist-level insulation throughout the original roof space to improve thermal performance.
Funding for School Building Condition Improvements
- Condition surveys are essential for proactively planning repairs and maintenance to educational establishments, such as schools.
- Evidence gathered in a survey report can be used to support funding applications.
- Government grants available to support schools maintain their buildings include the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) and the School Condition Allocation (SCA) – eligibility depends on the size and type of school.
- SCA funding is administered to multi-academy trusts and voluntary-aided bodies. In these cases, condition survey reports and planned preventative maintenance schedules support spending decisions by setting budgets and prioritising works.
- Smaller educational establishments can apply for CIF funding to maintain and repair academic buildings.
- The funds are allocated for serious problems with a building’s condition – problems that affect the ability of a school or college to run safely and smoothly.
- It could be a problem with the structure or fabric of a building. Examples include roof or window defects, cracking, or replacement of modular buildings.
- The funding can also be used for health and safety issues, such as asbestos removal or fire-safety improvement.
- To apply for CIF funding, the government recommends that the bid includes a recent condition survey by a suitably qualified, independent surveyor.
- Qualifications for surveyors could include RICS or CIOB membership.
- Independence means that the surveyor must not have any conflicts of interest. For example, they must not have quoted or tendered for the works that are required.
- Condition surveys should include photographic evidence of the defects, showing the full extent of the condition.