45179_towardssaferschoolconstruction_0 2015 - Page 96

Key activity 1: Development of maintenance and user manuals As construction draws to a close, attention should turn to maintenance and future use of the school. The design team and construction workers best understand the building materials and structural system. They should draft a schedule for maintenance. For example, how often the roof cover should be repaired or replaced, when to re-plaster or paint walls, when floors and windows may need replacements, and how often latrines need to be emptied. While the maintenance manual may be an extensive reference document, the school management committee needs simpler checklists so that maintenance staff can perform routine work and school staff can monitor maintenance activities over time. Maintaining safe schools incur costs. When MoEs or MoPWs oversee school maintenance, school management committees should establish the maintenance schedule and determine what funds, from which sources, will be allocated to these activities. Government agencies may seek to coordinate the school maintenance with other sites to increase efficiencies and cost savings across their jurisdiction. Also needed are user manuals, covering permissible usage and alteration to the building. For government-run schools, usage is typically the responsibility of the MoE or their district offices. These agencies need to indicate if the building can be used as shelter in times of crisis or for community activities after school hours. The government authority should, in consultation with the design team, also specify which aspects of the building and grounds the school staff can alter without seeking further approval. As needs change, staff may naturally want to modify the school but such actions can seriously endanger the lives of students and staff. Adding or removing doors, walls, floors, columns and beams is particularly concerning. Changes to the site, such as removing vegetation, can also alter drainage or increase erosion around school foundations. The user manual should stipulate when modifications need approval, technical review or both. The user manual serves as the written, institutional memory for the school building and grounds. As such, it should include any results from the site investigation and hazard assessment completed during the Planning Stage. If alterations are made, the manual should be updated to reflect the changes. Key activity 2: School completion and handover SECTION III: POST-CONSTRUCTION 87 The completion of a safer school should be a communitywide celebration. These projects are not merely about the construction but also about strengthening a community’s ability to engage as equal partners in their own development and in providing a safer and more resilient community for their children. Commemoration of the completion of a safe school should go beyond thanking donors and welcoming students. It can and should be a time where the safety of the structure is noted and the community acknowledges the decisions and actions that led to this safety. The message of the commemoration should clearly focus on how safetyconscious choices about site, design and construction resulted in a school that protects children and remains an educational resource even after a disaster. The handover has both legal and celebratory aspects: • The contractor should first hand over the school to the contract holder – the implementing actor funding the school construction – by submitting a completion certificate. The contract holder should sign the certificate after ensuring the work is completed to the desired standards. Where the community has been heavily involved in the construction process or community monitoring, the completion certificate signing should be an important event where all acknowledge the effort and dedication needed to complete a safe school. Safety features of the school should be identified through guided tours or photo presentations. Ideally these features should be permanently highlighted and notated so the community has a constant reminder of safety. • When the contract holder is not a government agency, the completed school should then be passed to the appropriate local government agency for formal steps to open the school. The agency needs to add the school to national and sub-national databases and task local emergency services with reviewing the school and integrating it into their disaster management procedures. On the operational side, the government agency needs to assign students and staff to the site and provide operation and maintenance funds. School boards or other oversight committees may also need to be established or ratified. • The final handover is to the school community – to the principals, management committees or school boards. As they begin operating the school, they should continue maintaining the commitment to safety that began with the construction of a safe school building. They should define the roles and responsibilities for monitoring deterioration and repairing it. They should also complete any nonstructural mitigation needed to protect students and staff from the dangers posed by the school’s interior contents. To maintain safety during operations, the school staff should also address Pillar 2 and 3 of the Comprehensive School Safety Framework. They should establish a standing committee and give it the task of coordinating school disaster management with key internal and external stakeholders.