Education

Facilities Inspection List

January 03, 2006 2 min read
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Inspecting for Quality

A 2004 legal settlement 1 in the Williams v. California school finance case has led to new efforts to improve conditions in the state’s most academically needy schools. A set of laws passed following the settlement established an inspection program to ensure that those schools are in good repair and free of major health and safety hazards.

1. Gas

Check for odors caused by a gas leak, and inspect for broken pipes.

2. Electrical

Check for exposed wires and inadequate lighting. Look for outlets, switchplates, and junction boxes that are not covered or working properly.

Roger Chang, an inspector for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, walks through Lincoln Elementary School in Pomona, Calif. The school, which helped pioneer the inspection program in the county, received a “good” rating. During a typical week, Chang can inspect 10 small to medium-size schools or five large schools. The county, with 39 school districts, has 10 facilities inspectors and 55 textbook reviewers.
— Ringo H.W. Chiu for Education Week

Listening to classroom phones to ensure each works in an emergency.

3. Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning

Make sure the heating and airconditioning systems work. Check for blocked ventilation units and ensure that facilities are vented.

4. Fire Safety

Check for missing or damaged sprinkler heads. Be sure emergency alarms are functional and fire extinguishers are present and within expiration date.

5. Sewer

— Ringo H.W. Chiu for Education Week

Inspecting for holes in walls, floors, or cielings and for signs of pest infestation.

Check for signs of flooding.

6. Pest/Vermin

Inspect for holes in walls, floors, or ceilings. Look for rodent droppings or odors caused by pest infestation.

7. Windows, Doors, Gates

Check to see if they are broken, missing, or have locks or hardware that do not function.

— Ringo H.W. Chiu for Education Week

Checking for severe cracks and other structural problems.

8. Structural Damage

Check for severe cracks, sloping or sagging floors, and missing posts or beams. Dry rot or mold in structural components should also be reported.

9. Interior Surfaces

— Ringo H.W. Chiu for Education Week

Inspecting overall classroom conditions.

Inspect for tears, missing ceiling or floor tiles, holes, or water damage. Mildew and mold also indicate a problem.

10. Sinks/Fountains

Inspect for inaccessible drinking fountains, loose fixtures, and inadequate water pressure. Look for leaks, moss, mold, or unclear water.

11. Restrooms

— Ringo H.W. Chiu for Education Week

Ensuring restroom facilities are open and fully operational during school hours and stocked with necessary supplies.

Facilities should be open and fully operational during school hours and should be stocked with necessary supplies, such as toilet paper, soap, and paper towels or functional hand dryers. Restrooms should be clean.

12. Uniform Complaint Process

A notice on the process should be visibly posted, and complaint forms should be available in the office.

Roger Chang inspects more than 50 items by himself both inside and outside the school, including checking for loose screws on playground equipment, listening to classroom phones to ensure each works in an emergency, and inspecting overall classroom conditions. While all of California’s schools must meet “Williams legislation” standards, on-site inspections are required only at the state’s lowest-performing schools.
— Ringo H.W. Chiu for Education Week

Checking for loose screws on playground equipment.

13. Additional Inspection Sites

Cafeteria, office, staff lounge, other lounge areas, library, Reading First room, counseling center, speech room, storage areas.

SOURCE: Los Angeles County Office of Education

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