What’s important for education sector roofs? Insights from Education Estates® conference and exhibition

Every education setting has a responsibility to provide a safe and comfortable space for learning and upgrading university, college, academy or school roofs is an important step in maintaining functional performance. It can also be an opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of buildings – helping to meet the Department for Education (DfE)’s wider goals for sustainability and climate change.

Ensuring the roofs of educational buildings are safe and climate-friendly in the short- and long-term was a key discussion point in October’s Education Estates® exhibition. But what else matters to decision makers and specifiers in the education sector? We asked delegates at Education Estates what’s most important to them when it comes to their education sector roofs as part of an exclusive survey for IKO. The top four responses were:

1. Durability and longevity

Educational buildings form the basis of positive learning experiences for pupils and staff, and conditions on-site can have a significant impact on an institution’s reputation. Layered with financial considerations, regulatory compliance and sustainability goals, it is imperative that education buildings procure long-lasting, resilient roofing systems that are built to last.

2. Sustainability and energy efficiency

Growing numbers of educational settings, particularly universities, colleges and academies, are establishing their own sustainability strategies and need partners and supply chains that have the infrastructure to support them. In line with DfE’s vision that the UK will be the world-leading education sector in sustainability and climate change by 2030, schools also have access to refurbishment funding to ensure buildings are more sustainable and fit for the future – with additional funding available via the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. It’s therefore no surprise that sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies are having a greater influence on procurement and purchasing decisions.

3. Long-lasting value for money

For publicly funded schools, ensuring maximum return on investment for taxpayers’ money is imperative. In practical terms, this translates to a high-quality, defect-free roofing system that will endure for decades. Achieving this is largely dependent on the quality of materials used and level of workmanship involved in the installation.

4. Protecting the safety of staff and pupils

Safeguarding is top of the priority list for schools and academies – so minimising risk is vital. Whether it’s determining if RAAC is present, assessing if a roofing structure contains asbestos, or checking a roof’s structural integrity, it’s important to protect what matters – your pupils and staff.

Make prevention the priority

Now we know the main priorities when it comes to school roofs, what’s next? Educational settings have two options. Either take a reactive approach and wait for problems to appear before dealing with them – resulting in room closures, relocation of pupils and staff, and costly remedial repairs. Or choose to be proactive, deploying roofing professionals to conduct regular roof condition surveys to identify potential problems early and take the appropriate measures. This can help minimise disruption to pupils, improve safeguarding and lead to long-term savings. On that basis, the decision is clear – proactivity is critical.

While some structural issues, like rising damp, flaking render and cracked walls are easily identified and rectified, roofing problems are more difficult to anticipate. Spotting the signs early is crucial for saving valuable time, costs and stress.

The way forward

The Education Estates exhibition was a great opportunity to meet with specifiers and decision makers in the education sector and find out what matters most to them. As roofing experts, we’re here to help with the next steps – and the key really is to approach any roofing maintenance problems head-on. Although waiting for roofing problems to appear before repairing them may seem like the sensible option, it can often have long-term implications for an educational setting. Taking a more holistic, proactive approach to roof refurbishment can not only save time and money, but also allows facilities and estate managers to make positive changes that will last for years to come.


Explore how we can help you reach your goal of achieving a safer and more sustainable educational building.


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