Alfred White is the maintenance coordinator of Virginia Beach Public Schools. He is in charge of overseeing many structural issues that involve sustainability, maintenance and staffing. Proper paint maintenance is included in those tasks, but easily gets lost in the shuffle when there are bigger name priorities to be taken care of, such as energy-efficiency, indoor air quality, etc. Unfortunately, this can mean that painting will take the backseat. photo credit: hamptonroads.com

White has found a way to include this within the budget and schedule so it gets done. Although this hasn’t happened without its own challenges.

One of the biggest is the age of the structures that need to be cared for. Some parts of these buildings date back to 1939. The average age of the structures within his school district is 30 years. These buildings have a myriad of materials in them: wood, concrete, sheetrock, block and metal.

All these different materials have different painting requirements, such as corrosion resistant paint  or concrete coatings (to name a few) which only adds to the complexity of Mr. White’s scheduling puzzle.

Year-round occupation is a big obstacle in efficient scheduling. In theory, summer would work, but even then, the buildings are occupied by different organizations. Sometimes it is not possible to relocate staff, students and planned events.  

The biggest conflict is minimizing the impact on existing engagements and allowing planned events to happen.

What Mr. White has found to work best is integrating flexibility within the schedules he makes. This also allows for better use of funds, as well. Communication is also key– White informs all the pertinent staff about the maintenance schedule and keeps them in the loop. He makes sure to listen to feedback in order to meet everyone’s needs and concerns.

As for further future efficiency, Mr. White plans on creating a long-term painting schedule which will include painting specifications, approving products, submitting projects for biennial budget, and overseeing the supervisor in charge of the painting crew.

Painting often proves to be one of the hardest things to accomplish, due in part to the preparation needed, but also because it’s often overlooked until it’s too late.

Proper planning and scheduling, like Alfred White has done, will ensure it’s done in a timely manner and efficiently, too.

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