Property maintenance

This guidance provides tips for property maintenance, working with a caretaker, and hiring contractors for technical maintenance.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Boards
  • Principals and tumuaki
  • Proprietors
  • Property managers
  • Caretakers


School boards and proprietors are responsible for overseeing their school property maintenance. Regular maintenance keeps schools safe and free from hazards, such as obstructions or falling objects, or potential health risks to students and staff.

Regular maintenance prevents small problems from escalating into big ones needing costly repair. It strengthens the longevity of your school buildings and prevents unnecessary rundown. Maintenance also keeps warranted products up to shape and in manufacturer standards.

Maintenance guide for schools | kura

The maintenance guide for schools | kura explains how to plan and carry out regular maintenance in schools | kura. The guide was developed by BRANZ, in consultation with the Ministry. It is to help school leaders, caretakers and those carrying out maintenance repairs develop the knowledge and skills needed to keep school buildings safe and performing as intended.

The guide includes maintenance plan templates, for both routine and preventive maintenance, for schools to adapt and create their own maintenance plans.

Types of maintenance

There are a few types of maintenance you will have to consider for your property:

  • regular
  • cyclical
  • specialist/technical. 

Regular maintenance

This includes day-to-day tasks and more general work such as weather damage prevention.

Risk Tasks
Extreme weather
  • Trim trees and dead branches.
  • Remove unsafe trees or large hanging branches.
  • Clean out gutters regularly.
  • Ensure pipes are lagged in areas that have heavy frost.
  • Put snow straps on spouting in areas that get snow.
  • Maintain radiators, boilers and pipes.

When the school is closed:

  • Turn off the water to the urinals.
  • Turn off all taps.
  • Make sure all sinks and drains are not blocked.

Cyclical maintenance

Cyclical maintenance is significant maintenance work that schools do on a cycle.

The most common examples are long-term projects such as painting the outside of school buildings (usually done every 7 to 10 years). 

Budgeting for cyclical work 

The cyclical maintenance calculation template and worked examples help calculate how much funding to set aside each year. This must be updated annually to provide to your auditor.

Tools to support cyclical maintenance provision

Set aside a portion of your property maintenance grant funding every year to build up a fund for repainting the school. Otherwise, you may struggle to cover the substantial cost of painting a school later.

Property maintenance grant

Advice for school painting
  • Schedule painting buildings on a rotational basis.
  • It is easier to manage your budget if buildings are painted in different years.
  • Consider regional factors affecting your school when organising painting.
    For example: sea spray corrosion in a coastal school) and choose the appropriate tools and materials.
Look at other projects
  • Are there other capital works that may affect your planning?
    For example: if there is a refurbishment coming in the next few years, schedule your painting after.

Long-term maintenance contract

Some boards enter into a long-term maintenance contract for the school’s cyclical maintenance work every year or according to a longer-term plan.

You need to complete the 10YPP summary maintenance schedule to show when your cyclical maintenance is scheduled. 

Some long-term maintenance contracts include a financing arrangement. This must be within your school’s borrowing limits and disclosed appropriately in financial statements.

Cyclical capital work

Some major capital items at schools are regularly replaced, such as heating systems, roofing and fit out. You must plan for this from your 5 Year Agreement (5YA) funding.

5 Year Agreement (5YA) funding

Specialist or technical maintenance

Some maintenance needs to be done by a qualified tradesperson.

The below section details when to use contractors, including what types of work may need to be escalated to a specialist.

Maintenance by your caretaker

Your caretaker should be able to do most of your routine maintenance tasks, including cyclical maintenance. However, you will need to call in specialists for some more technical maintenance (eg, boiler systems).

If you don't employ a caretaker, you may need to employ a person to perform these tasks as needed or allocate duties, such as checking taps, to staff members.

Caretaker checklist

Use the caretaker checklist as a starting point and, with your caretaker, review the listed activities and add tasks that are particular to your school.

Paying caretakers

Caretaker salaries are paid from operational funding.

Equipment and consumables used by the caretaker can be paid for from the property maintenance grant (PMG).

Assessing performance

Regular performance assessments are necessary to ensure:

  • the relationship is still working for both the school and caretaker
  • issues are being resolved on a timely basis
  • any problems with the standard of work are being communicated
  • you are getting value for money.

In consultation with your caretaker, contractors and any other relevant staff/people, use the maintenance assessment form to assess the performance. Any poor performance or concerns should be escalated to the school leadership team.

Maintenance assessment form [PDF, 570 KB]

When to use qualified tradespeople (contractors)

Some maintenance needs to be done by a qualified tradesperson.

Task to be completed by a qualified tradesperson Schedule or related information
Annual inspection of gas appliances  
Annual service of the boiler Boilers for school heating
Servicing switchboards
Servicing air-conditioning split-system (not related to building warrant of fitness)
Servicing security panels and associated componentry

Security design in schools

This includes standard specifications for the installation and maintenance of a security alarm systems)

Projectors maintenance
Playgrounds maintenance

Playgrounds on school sites

This includes designing, building and upgrading playground

Most maintainable items will come with a manual or set of instructions with maintenance requirements.

Other maintenance standards will come under New Zealand standards and legislation. 

Trusted standards – Standards NZ(external link)

Your contractors should outline the tasks required for the maintenance work and provide assurances this work is appropriate.

Hiring and paying contractors

In general, it is best practice to:

  • ask for and compare multiple quotes
  • compare prices against other recent similar work
  • compare prices against your understanding of current market rates (View or download the ‘School property procurement quick reference guide” via the link below).

Procuring property construction 

The Ministry’s procurement requirements do not need to be followed for work costing less than $10,000.

Contractors are paid from your property maintenance grant.

Property maintenance grant

Standard maintenance contracts

Download contract templates for ongoing or one-off maintenance work from:

Contracts for maintenance work

Sign in and out

Keep a sign-in register at reception or the main school entrance. Ensure contractors sign in and out to track who is onsite at any given time.

Visitor and contractor sign-in register [PDF, 57 KB]

The detailed register will let you know about the contractors’ safety documentation, whether they have been police vetted and their training and contact details.

Police vetting for school property projects

Assessing contractor performance

Regular performance assessments are necessary to make sure:

  • the relationship is still working for both the school and contractors
  • issues are being resolved on a timely basis
  • any problems with the standard of work are being communicated
  • you are getting value for money.

Use the maintenance assessment form (in consultation with your contractors and any other relevant staff/people) to assess their performance. Poor performance or concerns should be escalated to the school leadership team.

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