The challenges of working on school buildings; Howells Patent Glazing

Domestic and Commercial Glazing Manufacturer, Supplier and Installer

The challenges of working on school buildings; Howells Patent Glazing

Here at Howells Patent Glazing, we’ve been in the manufacturing business for over 40 years and worked on many building and installation challenges over the years.

We’ve decided to use our experience to take a closer look at what makes working on school and education buildings different to any other contracts, and explain how to overcome some of the more challenging obstacles that contractors may face.

Tracey Jackson, marketing manager at Howells Patent Glazing said, “With so many schools across the country needing desperate repairs to their buildings, there are a lot of opportunities out there for firms like ours. Taking on a school project can be quite unique, especially if you have never worked on one before. We have found that every project has its individual needs, and school and educational buildings are no exception to that rule”.


Howells Patent Glazing have worked on numerous school buildings over the years and we believe that, with some careful forward planning, school projects can be the one of the most rewarding contracts to undertake. Here’s our list of the most common challenges when working on a school building:


  • Company enhanced DBS clearance – all employees that will be on site will need to have DBS clearance. From the project manager to the installers. Depending on who you intend to use to get your DBS clearance, this can take some time to come back to you, so Howells suggest starting the process of obtaining clearance as soon as possible.
  • Timings – if you are planning a school project, you need to take into account that there will be students everywhere. If you can land a project inside the school holidays, then this issue can be resolved. If not, then this is where a regimented plan proves imperative to the efficiency and success of a project.
  • Deliveries – this is important. When working on a project that takes place outside of the school holidays, deliveries have to be scheduled to arrive outside of peak times when pupils are arriving or leaving school. Congestion around school buildings makes for a challenging approach to the site, and unloading at peak times will flag up some serious safeguarding issues.
  • Age related issues – a lot of old school buildings are fitted with old systems. On their Leeds City College project, Howells Patent Glazing found that the 40 year old glazing system used steel bars, no ventilation, condensation and dangerous single glazed panels. These can be tricky to remove, and dispose of, without causing damage to the surrounding areas.
  • The Big ‘A’ – asbestos. Asbestos still presides in most UK buildings built before the year 2000, and one of the most common problems that Howells Patent Glazing have faced is the fact that they were unable to remove the asbestos. Howells now has the certification to remove asbestos, but they urge any contractor to bear this in mind before taking on any project on an older building.

Howells Patent Glazing’s experience in the glazing manufacture industry has seen us take on numerous school projects over the years, but we don’t just contract to schools. Our portfolio also includes working on other public sector buildings including nursing homes and hospitals as well as commercial property, retail, leisure and private homes. Our product range features bespoke rooflights, mono, gable ended and hip lanterns, frameless flat lights, north lights and much more.

Since 2014, Howells Patent Glazing, based in Birmingham, have experienced rapid growth with record sales and turnover increasing year on year. The increase in demand for Howells’s products and expertise is believed to be because of increased investment in some of the UK’s biggest cities, and their most recent contracts prove that to be true.


For more information on Howells Patent Glazing, visit