Area guidelines for schools have been revised, simplified and increased.
From 1 April 2004, Building Bulletin 82: 'Area guidelines for schools' (and its draft revisions), has been superseded by two new publications:
Both documents include advice, particularly for schools and governors, on how to develop a design brief for projects in new and existing school building projects, as well as simple guidance on minimum recommended areas for all kinds of indoor and outdoor space.
The revised guidelines are also intended to set realistic, non-statutory recommendations for minimum areas to address the needs of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities, the school workforce, and community use outside of school hours. The intention is not to set any constraints to innovation in Schools for the Future, but to ensure minimum standards are understood.
The net, or usable area of buildings is divided into five or six categories of space. Basic teaching, halls and learning resources form the teaching and learning area. The remainder is made up of storage, staff and administration and, in secondary schools, dining and social areas. There is a minimum recommended area for each category which will allow for the core functions needed to suit the capacity of the school.
The total of these minimum recommendations is equivalent to Building Bulletin 82 (BB82) +seven per cent in an average secondary school and BB82 +17 per cent in an average primary school. However, the recommended total net area for any school is four to ten per cent higher than this. This 'float' can be used to provide further provision to suit the individual priorities of each school.
In addition, this net area is assumed to be around 70 per cent of the total gross area of the school buildings. The increased allowance for 'non-net' area would include reasonable internal circulation to all rooms, accessible toilets and school kitchens, as well as space for boilers, servers and internal walls.
There is similar guidance for school grounds, with similar categories of outdoor space and a float area to bring the balance up to the total recommended net site area. Like the gross area of buildings, the total site area will be more variable, depending on the constraints of the site and the design of the buildings.
The key formulae for the minimum recommendations are available now, along with further discussion on the background of area guidelines.
Printed copies of Building Bulletin 98 and Building Bulletin 99 can be purchased from the Stationery Office.
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