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Real Lead

Over the years, the design of school buildings in Pakistan has evolved to incorporate new elements and amenities in order to accommodate the use of technology as well as more effective security measures.

Here is an in-depth look at these aspects, which school managements and parents of school-going children should be aware of.

Amenities. Schools should be built on plots measuring at least 2,000 square yards or more, not only to accommodate a substantial number of students but to ensure space for amenities such as assembly grounds, computer labs, play areas, parking and pick up and drop off points.

Classroom design. The average class room size (for 30 students) prescribed by the law is 40 square metres. However, 50 square metres is a more acceptable size. Classrooms should have at least one window; the use of skylights is recommended as they provide light and are relatively inexpensive. Furthermore, due to the increase of technology-based learning, provisions should be made to allocate space and to incorporate connections for tools such as multimedia projectors and speaker systems.

Security. The following security measures should be in place: multiple entry points (so people can exit the building immediately and safely during an emergency), a CCTV system and a fire safety system (including sprinklers, smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and emergency exits) on every floor. The use of asbestos and lead-based oil paints should be avoided, because although not illegal, they can pose health hazards in the long-run.

The additional investment required to incorporate these features and amenities is usually paid off within five to 10 years because due to their presence, schools can charge higher fees and the school’s resale value increases by almost 15%.

Furthermore, and this is important for homeowners, the presence of a school within a one kilometre radius decreases the value of the residential property by five to seven percent due to increased traffic. However, the value of residential property within a five to 11 kilometre radius increases by 10 to 12%.

Ibrahim Murad
The writer is an engineer.

First published in the Real Estate of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on August 17, 2014.