'School Property Costs'. If you're not familiar with the phrase yet, you soon will be. In the private sector and at the local government level in the public sector 'Property Costs' is a phrase that can't be over used. But what is it, what does it mean and what has it got to do with a school?​

In facilities management circles it is often stated that the biggest cost after people is property and this typically covers rent or mortgage costs, preventative costs such as servicing and reactive costs such as repairs. Obviously with schools there is no rent or mortgage to consider so we’re really dealing with the preventative and reactive costs.

Now I would assume you know from your finance system what the budget is for maintenance in the year. However, would you know how that is broken down? How much could you save by shopping around? How much is allocated to statutory work and how much to other work? What this means in terms of cashflow? Some authorities are moving their funding of controlled schools to a monthly model from an annual model which fundamentally changes the way schools manage their cash. Now cashflow is a term more regularly used by those School Business Managers. Finance Directors of Academies are also thinking more and more in this way.

At a recent presentation given by a financial services support company to schools, good financial planning should include realistic costs of premises maintenance and yet how many of you could confidently state you’ve got a grip on this?

This is point at which I’m going to say that help is at hand! Well, Every gives you a month by month breakdown of costs of all your premises activities and issues. So you’ll have your preventative costs itemised along with your reactive costs to date. This will give you a valuable and enlightening insight into your true property costs.