Essential School Maintenance

Essential School Maintenance

Who should read this?

Duty holders, including employers or people in control of premises and those with Health and Safety responsibilities for others, to help them comply with their legal duties.

The guidance below focuses on maintenance of school buildings and assets. Schools will have other Health and Safety obligations that are covered under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and other relevant legislation.


Who is the Duty Holder?

The Duty Holder would depend upon the type of school;


School Type

Duty Holder

Community schools, community special schools, voluntary-controlled schools, maintained nursery schools and pupil referral units

Budget Holder or Employer

Foundation schools, foundation special schools and voluntary-aided schools

Governing Body

Academies, free schools, community technical colleges and other independent schools

School Proprietor (the Academy Trust in the case of academies and free schools)


In some instances, the Duty Holder may appoint a Responsible Person to manage premises and associated statutory duties.


What is Essential School Maintenance?

Essential School Maintenance relates to the legal responsibilities of a school building and associated assets and:

  • ensures the Duty Holder is meeting their statutory duty
  • ensures a safe and secure environment for all building users
  • can reduce disruption to education
  • can extend the life of school assets
  • can reduce substantial maintenance and replacement costs in the future


What is required by the Duty Holder?

The Duty Holder must have a full understanding of their building and the associated statutory and essential school maintenance requirements. This can be achieved by:

  • Carrying out a Building Asset Audit
  • Carrying out a Condition Survey
  • Compiling a Planned and Preventive Maintenance Schedule/Plan
  • Using Approved Vendors/Contractors
  • Ensuring Value for Money is achieved.


Statutory Duty and Good Practice

The Duty Holder has a Statutory Duty or is advised to ensure the following legislation and recommendations are being implemented at their school. Please click on the Building Element to learn more:


Building Element

Associated Legislation


Air Conditioning


Statutory Duty

Asbestos Management

Regulation 4 Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 in non-domestic premises

Statutory Duty

Convector heaters - fan assisted and natural


Good Practice

Display Energy Certificates (DEC)


Statutory Duty

Door maintenance


Good Practice

Drinking water dispensers


Good Practice

Dry Rot


Good Practice

Electrical – Portable Appliance Testing


Statutory Duty

Electrical – Fixed wiring testing


Statutory Duty

Evacuation Chairs    



Good Practice

Fire - Alarm Maintenance


Statutory Duty

Fire - Extinguisher Checks  

Statutory Duty

Fire - Sprinkler Systems  

Statutory Duty

Gas - Burner    

Gas and Boiler


Statutory Duty

Gully cleaning



Good Practice

Water - Legionella

The Approved Code of Practice (ACop) for Legionella Control: L8 and BS8580

Statutory Duty

Lifts (Passenger)

Regulation 9 - Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER)

Statutory Duty

Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV)


Statutory Duty

Painting and Decorating


Good Practice



Good Practice

Roller Shutter (Pedestrian)



Security Shutter



Steps and handrails


Good Practice

Water - Unvented Hot Water Systems    
Water - Inhibitor Dosing Heating    

Window maintenance


Good Practice


Note: The above table will be added to over a period of time.


What could happen if you do not fulfil your Statutory Duty?

  • A person(s) could become ill, incur an injury or die
  • Buildings could be closed, disrupting the delivery of education
  • Head Teachers, Governors and Building Custodians etc. could face legal action
  • Head Teachers, Governors and Building Custodians etc. could receive a large fine along with court costs
  • Reputations could be damaged


Who should I contact?

Contact Lee Anne Sagar on E: for further information.


Further information



Schools may have in-house staff to carry out some plant and building maintenance but there will always be the need for specialist contractors. To enable both in-house and contracted staff to work in safety you will need to properly brief them on your site and processes, and you will need them to follow safe working practices. Please select the HSE – A brief guide to using contractors to learn more.

The Authority’s Building and Technical Services Team have a wealth of knowledge on school buildings and can offer expert advice and support on technical issues along with contract administration, when schools take out the B&T Service Level Agreement.


Who should I contact?

Building Services on Telephone: 01274 431877

Lines open between 8am and 6pm.












Page owned by Darren Starkey, last updated on 09/01/2018. This page has been viewed 1,607 times.