3 Data Collection and Processing
1. Local authorities should have a stated system setting out their process for assigning condition categories to schools. In addition, an auditable record of that process and its results should be maintained. As a minimum, this should reference the process used and document the sources of input data, the names and roles of the participants, the dates over which the condition review activities took place, and the condition categories assigned to each of the major elements and to the school as a whole. The record should also note any amendments made to the overall school condition rating arrived at by the standard process.
Use of Condition Surveys
2. In accordance with the Core Facts guidance issued in August 2003, the condition rating should be based on the local authority's condition survey. Suitably qualified and experienced personnel should oversee this survey. There is no change from the current guidance that best practice suggests that a full condition survey of the school estate should be carried out every five years. The condition rating should also take into account information from routine inspections by other suitably qualified and experienced staff, and concerns expressed by users.
Review and Update of Condition Data
3. It is considered good practice that the update of information in between full condition surveys should be carried out by staff who are professionally qualified in the appropriate technical disciplines to enable them to pass judgement on the condition of the element concerned. Thus the condition of each element should be judged by suitably qualified and experienced personnel.
4. As part of their routine work in schools, building maintenance inspectors/service engineers should ensure that forward work requirements are kept up to date and that information on improvements and/or deterioration is recorded for input into the Condition Core Fact assessment process.
5. Good practice should ensure that reactive/emergent maintenance requirements are documented and these records are collated to inform the annual review of the school estate condition.
6. Condition data should be reviewed on an annual basis, to:
- confirm the overall progress against the maintenance programme, that is, improvements that have been completed, and identify any work that requires to be carried forward into the next year;
- review the prioritisation of maintenance requirements;
- identify any new deficiencies/deterioration since the last full condition survey; and
- update the condition ratings applied within the school estate.
7. In order to prevent unnecessary duplication of work, the findings from relevant visits, inspections and surveys undertaken as part of asset management processes should be captured and taken into account when reviewing the condition status. These may include:
- structural surveys;
- fire risk assessments;
- insurance surveys and statutory inspections; and
- maintenance contractors' service reports.
8. Participants in the reviews should, preferably, include building maintenance inspectors/service engineers and appropriate representatives from the authority's Education Department. After review, the condition rating information and future maintenance priorities and programme should be communicated to the school users, as a courtesy and to ensure common understanding and stakeholder buy-in.
Interface with Other Local Authority Processes and Tools
9. Condition Core Fact assessments should not be influenced by the results of any options or investment appraisals. Nor should they be influenced by other factors feeding these, such as the cost of repairs, available budget, or future school capacity or demand.
10. Condition Core Fact data processing should be an integral part of normal asset management business and should be integrated with other established processes where practicable. The data collected and the work required to report the Condition Core Fact, over and above normal asset management good practice, should be minimised.
11. Local Authorities should aim to work the condition assessment process and tools in with asset management good practice tools and systems, for maximum efficiency. It should not be necessary to incur significant extra costs for software/asset management processes, over and above normal asset management good practice: for example, if necessary, the weighting and scoring process detailed below for establishing the overall condition category for the school can be operated using a standard spreadsheet package. The data collected to inform investment decisions, and prioritise and schedule maintenance requirements, should also be used to feed the Condition Core Fact reports.
Listing of School Elements
12. In the absence of a common scope on which to base the Condition Core Fact assessments, or a common means of aggregating the data on the elements within that scope, it is considered that the rating consistency sought by both the Scottish Executive and the local authorities may not be achieved. Good practice would indicate that the overall condition rating reported to the Scottish Executive for each school should be based on an element-by-element assessment of the condition of that school, summated to form an overall condition rating. The means of aggregating the information is addressed below, under Element Weighting and Scoring System. However, achievement of the desired consistency will depend on the use of a consistent set of elements to be weighted and scored. A suitable element tree is shown at Appendix 1, comprising two parts: physical elements and transverse elements. The physical elements are those parts of the school fabric that should be taken into account when assessing condition. The transverse elements comprise those issues that should be taken into account for each applicable physical element when assessing condition. Combined, the elements contained within that tree comprise the overall scope to be included within the condition rating for each school.
Element Weighting and Scoring System
13. As stated above, good practice would suggest that the overall condition rating for the school should be arrived at by means of a weighting and scoring system. This methodology will help to ensure consistency regarding the importance attached to the various elements. The weighting and scoring system is described below.
14. To obtain the overall condition of the school, each major element is assigned a condition rating (A to D) by the professional judgement of a suitably qualified and experienced person. The assigned condition ratings should take into account:
- the urgency of any repair or remedial work;
- the potential impact or shortcoming to the overall delivery of the school functionality/service provision; and
- safety and compliance with legislative requirements.
There should be some means within each local authority for ensuring the consistency of judgement of these elemental condition ratings, for example, the use of a small common group of individuals, or, in small authorities, a single staff member.
15. In order to aggregate the elemental condition ratings to the overall condition rating for the school, these ratings are then transcribed to numeric values, as follows:
16. The numeric value for each rating is then multiplied by the weighting for the appropriate major element. Suitable weightings are given at Appendix 1. The results are then summed and expressed as a percentage of the weighted score that would be achieved if all elements present in the school were in Condition A. The overall condition for the school is then given by the following percentage brackets:
|More than 85%:||Condition A|
|85% or less, but more than 60%:||Condition B|
|Between 40% and 60% inclusive:||Condition C|
|Less than 40%:||Condition D|
17. In order to achieve the desired consistency across local authorities, each major element in the element set used should contain the same intermediate and minor elements as those shown at Appendix 1. Similarly, if the desired consistency is to be achieved, there should not be significant discrepancy between the sample weightings given at Appendix 1 and those used by the local authority.
18. The weighting and scoring system may be extended below major element level, to cover the intermediate and minor elements. If this is done the system should maintain the same effective major element weightings as would be the case for a system based on major element scores and weights alone.
19. Where a school consists of a number of discrete buildings, the overall condition rating may be derived by rating the elements within these buildings individually and aggregating the scores on a pro-rata basis, according to the gross internal areas of the blocks. This aggregation should be calculated before conversion of the weighted and summed scores to a condition category.
Benchmarking and Validation
20. The element weightings and the percentage brackets used in the weighting and scoring system should be validated by each local authority, by benchmarking against schools of agreed condition. In the first instance, this should be done within the local authority. Ultimately, there may be scope for benchmarking between authorities.
21. The overall condition of each school should be reviewed and validated by a suitably qualified and experienced person to ensure that the final rating is considered appropriate. Where amendments are made, this should be done in an auditable fashion, with a note stating what amendment has been made, by whom, and the reason for the change. Where the overall condition rating of the school is considered inappropriate, the ratings ascribed to each element should be reviewed. If it is still considered that the overall condition rating arrived at by the weighting and scoring system is inappropriate, then, exceptionally, this may be amended based on the professional judgement of the reviewer. Borderline cases may also occur where the aggregate score is found to be marginally above or below a threshold, when professional judgement would put the school in the next better or next worse condition rating. In these cases, the rating to be assigned should be amended. Ultimately, it is expected that this information will inform continuous improvement in the assignment of condition ratings.
Condition in Relation to Lifecycle
22. Condition rating is not intended to imply any view of lifecycle stage. That is to say, it is not a measure of depreciation: the fact that the design life of a school or part of a school has expired should not automatically mean that the school is in Condition D or even C. The condition rating should reflect the state of the school in relation to its design intent. For example, the design life of a roof may have expired but if it is reliably weather tight and structurally sound, then clearly it should be allocated a rating of A or B.
Clarification of Condition Category 'D'
23. In the past there has, in some cases, been reluctance to assign the Condition Category D, due to the perceptions that such a rating might create in others. This has been recognised as a potential cause of inconsistency in Condition Core Fact reporting across local authorities. In order to overcome this, the definition is clarified as follows. The emphasis is on the availability, performance and safety of the facility.
D: Bad - Economic life expired and/or risk of failure
24. In this instance, economic life expiry is taken to mean that the ongoing maintenance costs are not viable long term, in contrast to the cost of a major refurbishment, new build school, or provision elsewhere.