Future-Proofing Educational Institutions for the Next Generation

3 Jul, 2018

With the increasing demand for high-quality education in Hong Kong, it is equally important to have good “software” and “hardware” in place for educational institutes to remain competitive. Hong Kong has a highly competitive education sector in which schools and universities attempt to attract the brightest talents, with parents and students alike expecting the best experience possible. The right mix of teaching staff and students call for a reliable and efficient facility that is favorable for learning.

The Role of Facilities Management in the Education Sector

Facilities Management (FM) in the education sector includes all activities related to keeping a building safe and operational to meet the needs of its users. This enables the institute to provide a sustainable environment to its staff and student body while meeting regulatory requirements. For example, managing indoor air quality is vital to the well-being of students and staff members. Poor air quality can lead to the spread of bacteria, viruses, allergens and contribute to the cause of, or worsen, asthma. Some schools and universities suffer from “sick building syndrome”, which causes absenteeism and affects the performance of students.

A vital role of educational facilities is to equip students with skills such as teamwork, collaboration, effective communication, and creativity. This requires careful space planning, and the flexibility to reconfigure seating arrangements for various modes of teaching and learning, such as the use of technology in the classroom. Adopting modern methods of FM, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), will also boost the quality of teaching and learning. This includes improved campus safety, keeping a track of key resources, and enhanced access to information through web-based systems and controls for mechanical equipment, inside the buildings - extending the asset’s life-cycle and maximizing productivity.

In the past, educational institutes would directly employ cleaners, groundskeepers and catering staff, only outsourcing specialist services, such as HVAC or equipment maintenance. However, the FM market has gradually moved away from this ‘in-house' approach, towards an outsourced delivery model to enhance efficiency and reduce cost. With the aim to better serve students in the increasingly competitive education market, the sector must be more flexible and creative in its approach towards FM.

Our Approach / Solution:

Through developing a tailored FM model and service specification, we enable our clients to implement a strategic approach that can alleviate budget pressures, maintain high standards and create an optimal learning environment for students. This is delivered through 8 essential steps:

  1. Conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to provide an honest assessment of the current position of the client

  2. Conducting benchmarking and analysis of the current FM market trends

  3. Developing a tailored FM operating model to meet the specific demands of the client

  4. Leveraging our operational experience and market sector knowledge to develop operational guidelines and procedures that control service delivery quality

  5. Developing specifications defining what, not how, services are to be delivered, recognising service expertise and encouraging innovation

  6. Developing a tailor-made procurement strategy responding to the needs of the client. We provide an impartial procurement service because we have no vested interests in downstream operational delivery. This promotes a competitive tender process, ensuring the best FM service provider is brought on-board

  7. Building a performance management framework that incentivises service providers to focus their resources on the areas of highest priority, and on the latest trends and technology enablers in the industry

  8. Managing and supervising the transition process from asset development to asset operation, ensuring the asset is operationally ready to meet the needs of its stakeholder.

Education institutions are pillars within a community. To realize the potential efficiencies, costs savings and enable a positive knock-on effect that sees an overall improvement in performance, it is vital for education institutes to adopt a tailored FM strategy to improve operational efficiency through expert support and innovative solutions.

The Arcadis operations consultancy team has worked in Asia for over a decade and are specialists in providing FM consultancy services. We provide strategy, procurement and supervision services for our clients to identify, plan and deliver operations in accordance with their unique business needs. Our clientele in Hong Kong ranges from international schools to leading international and regional organizations.

Interested in reading more about our services? Download our capability statement by clicking here.

Contact Author

Christine Wong

Senior Consultant (Facilities Management) 2911 9875 Ask me a question