The P&SM team holding up the social distancing signs

Return to campus series – Spotlight on Estates

Taking part in our ‘Return to Campus’ series is Helen Holland (Head of Planning and Space Management) and Jenny Martine (Interior Services & Signage Manager), who tell us all about the work of the Planning and Space Management (P&SM) team to ensure a safe return to campus for us all.

Members of the P&SM team – Helen Holland, Sophie Pearson, Karen Weatherley, Jenny Martine and Pete Hayes – look after space management, planning and data, property leasing, as well as Interior Services covering removals, furniture and signage.

Helen Holland explains: ‘In preparation for enabling restricted access, our team has been busy working with stakeholders from all divisions, schools and professional services departments to determine maximum capacities and develop one-way systems (where possible) to enable social distancing around buildings on the Canterbury and Medway campuses. This is all part of making the campuses Covid-19 secure.

‘Once the one-way systems have been designed and reviewed by the team to check signage quantities are sufficient, these are then passed to the Design and Print Centre for printing. We have created a schedule of all buildings and a rolling programme of signage installation to ensure all buildings are ready for the start of term.

‘Due to the varying size of the buildings, it can take from one day to a whole week to install all signage as every route has to be rechecked to make sure there are no clashes and it’s easy for people to navigate. We are working closely with HR and the Safety, Health and Environment Unit to enable some staff (whose critical work cannot be done at home) to return to their offices or labs as soon as the buildings are ready.

‘This is a huge undertaking as we have approximately 96 non-residential buildings across the Canterbury and Medway campus. The project is not just limited to our team within Estates, as colleagues from our Estates Administration, Environment and Sustainability, Projects, Customer Services, Logistics and Postal teams are all helping with installing signage.’

Jenny Martine says: ‘The process of installing the signs has been a mammoth job from weeks of pre-sticking the posters in advance (thanks to Waste and Cleaning for their support on this task!) to testing routes in each building and laying out all the posters to ensure the routes flow.

‘Myself and my team  – Pete Hayes, Karen Weatherley, Emma Grove, George Baker, Emily Mashford, and Catherine Morris – have each clocked up an average of 16,000 steps per day and can be seen wheeling our signage-filled suitcase around campus from one building to another.

‘We won’t mention the blisters and the night terrors of falling down posters, but all in all it has been a fantastic team effort and camaraderie. If the social rules change…we have already booked our annual leave!’

Find out more about the services the Estates department provide.