Fundamentals of good estate management

The important policies, processes and documents schools should aim to have in place.

Take a strategic estate management approach

Thinking strategically about your estate will make sure the estate supports your educational goals.

To support the strategic management of the estate you should have the following documents:

  • estate vision
  • estate strategy
  • asset management plan
  • strategic review process

As a minimum, you should have shared and agreed these documents with your board.

Estate vision

Your estate vision should set out your ambition for the estate in 5 to 10 years time.

Principally it should describe how the estate will support the educational vision and strategy of your organisation.

It should be prepared in consultation with relevant stakeholders (particularly any landowning parties) and should be signed off by your board.

Estate strategy

Your estate strategy should:

  • explain how you will carry out the estate vision
  • cover the next 3 to 5 years
  • identify projected funding for estate development
  • outline anticipated outcomes and improvements to deliver the education strategy
  • be signed off by your board
  • be reviewed alongside the estate vision

Asset management plan

Your asset management plan is the working document which will inform operational day to day activities on the estate and should:

  • include data and information about the estate
  • set out the work necessary to maintain the estate
  • set out the actions needed to achieve the estate strategy
  • cover the short to medium term (up to 2 years)
  • be signed off by your board
  • be aligned to the estate vision and strategy

Strategic review

A strategic review is a structured process which can help you understand:

  • whether the estate is meeting your needs
  • how well the estate is performing
  • options for the future

It will help you develop and review your asset management plan.

Find out more about strategic estate management.

Plan and organise estate resources

To support the management of the estate you should have agreed and documented processes and procedures. They should cover the whole of the estate.


You should have clear governance processes to support the estate. They should:

  • explain accountability for the estate at a board level and who is responsible at school level
  • support and enable strategic decision-making about the estate
  • include arrangements to ensure that statutory and other necessary estate activities are carried out

Review the top 10 estate checks for boards about estate management.

Budget and finance

You should have a 3 to 5 year budget plan for the estate, signed off by your board. This should include:

  • a prioritised maintenance plan
  • how you will achieve value for money through investment
  • actual and potential funding sources

You should include your budget plan as part of your estate strategy.

Buying goods, works and services

You should have defined and transparent procedures that include:

  • how to engage professional advisers to design, price, manage and deliver property related projects
  • purchasing arrangements for capital and revenue expenditure
  • how to achieve value for money through procurement

Emergency planning

Your emergency planning should include formal procedures for responding to emergencies that affect the use of the estate. These procedures should be linked to an estate risk assessment which has considered possible estate emergency scenarios.

Understand your land and buildings

You will need a variety of information to help you manage the estate effectively. You should have the relevant policies and procedures in place to collect this.

Information about your estate

Data and information about the estate is the foundation of estate management. It should be stored securely as well as being accessible.

You should hold data and information to support your estate management documents, and record ownership, status (such as condition) and operating information about each asset (land and buildings) in the estate.


Understanding the condition of the estate will help you make informed decisions about the estate and will inform the maintenance plan and estate budget.

You should have an understanding of:

  • the condition of all buildings in the estate
  • the cost and priority of any works needed

Suitability and sufficiency

Understanding the estate’s suitability and sufficiency will help you make strategic decisions. You should understand how the estate meets your current and future educational requirements.

Tenure and land ownership

You will need a complete understanding of land ownership, rights and obligations to help you manage the estate. This includes:

  • who has a legal or controlling interest in your land and buildings
  • any implications for the use and development of the estate

Acquisitions and disposals

You will need a variety of information when dealing with acquisitions and disposals. This includes:

  • the process for making and seeking approval for acquisitions and disposals decisions
  • understanding necessary tenure and land ownership approvals and implications

Manage estate performance and sustainability

Performance management of the estate

You should have an agreed approach to performance management for assets across the estate.

This should include:

  • a consistent approach to the measurement of property related performance
  • how this information will be used to improve performance

Managing and reducing your energy and water usage

You should have a consistent and challenging approach to:

  • monitoring and managing energy and water use
  • reducing energy and water use
  • maximising energy efficiency in buildings

Maintain your estate

Well-planned maintenance will help you manage the estate and budget. This will make sure you keep staff and children safe, get value for money and achieve your educational vision.

Your maintenance plan should include:

  • a prioritised programme of maintenance works based on statutory responsibilities and condition data
  • who is responsible for maintaining land, buildings and equipment

Find out more about maintaining the estate.

Meet health and safety requirements

The health and safety of the estate is an important part of estate management.

You should have policies and processes to support this.

Health and safety

You should have documented safety procedures that include:

  • defined and understood responsibilities for the safety and security of staff, pupils and visitors
  • accountability at board level

Statutory compliance

Your compliance procedures should include:

  • a complete understanding of your statutory compliance requirements – what you should be doing
  • an understanding of compliance across the whole estate – how you are doing against requirements

Plan and carry out estate projects

You should have a consistent approach for planning and delivering different types of estates projects across the estate.

Planning and prioritisation

When planning and prioritising projects you should have:

  • transparent processes for identifying, defining, appraising and prioritising projects
  • clear responsibilities for those involved with investment and expenditure decisions

Project delivery

You should have a strong approach to project delivery, including:

  • managing contract performance
  • evaluating the outcomes of investment

Find out more about managing your estate projects.