School condition survey methodology

Surveys of condition on school premises are commissioned through Facilities Management and undertaken periodically on behalf of Children and Families for those schools where Cheshire East Council is the responsible body for capital maintenance. This includes all community, foundation and voluntary controlled schools as per the table below. 

 EstablishmentCapital maintenanceBasic need additional places
Community School Cheshire East Council Cheshire East Council
Academy School / Education  Funding Agency Cheshire East Council
Voluntary Aided School Diocese Cheshire East Council
Voluntary Controlled School Cheshire East Council Cheshire East Council
Free School School / Education Funding  Agency Cheshire East Council
Foundation Schools Cheshire East Council Cheshire East Council

Condition surveys provide a systematic, uniform and objective basis for gathering information on the state of premises. The information helps to inform strategic decisions on a programme of repair, replacement or improvement of the premises. This in turn will enable resources to be targeted where they are most needed and reduce the effects of unsatisfactory premises.

The condition surveys have been designed to identify the work necessary to bring premises up to a serviceable state of repair and to rectify breaches of legislation, where necessary. Once in a serviceable state, only routine maintenance should be required, which can be carried out under a pre-planned programme. The surveys were of a non-intrusive nature but have been sufficiently thorough so as to identify the need for any further surveys or tests, which have been taken into account in the condition assessment.

The condition of each element of a property has been assessed using the following grading criteria. Priority grades have been adopted in the context of a five year planning period:




CodeCondition GradingPriority Notes on priority classification 
 A Performing as intended and operating efficiently  1 Urgent work that will prevent immediate closure of premises and/or address and immediate high risk to  health and safety of occupants and /or remedy a serious breach of legislation.
 B Performing as intended but exhibiting minor deterioration  2 Essential work required within two years that will prevent deterioration of the fabric or services and/or address a medium risk to health and safety of occupants and/or
remedy a less serious breach of legislation.
 C Exhibiting
major defects and/or not operating as intended

Desirable work required within three to five years that will prevent deterioration of the
fabric or services and/or address a low risk to health and safety of occupants
and/or remedy a minor breach of legislation.

D Life expired and/or serious risk of imminent failure  4 Long-term
work required outside the five year planning period that will prevent
deterioration of the fabric or services.

The estimated costs for each condition / priority are an assessment of the likely cost of repairing or renewing a defective element within a building.  These costs are anticipated as those required for bringing the element up to a ‘Grade A’ condition. Minor day-to-day maintenance and minor routine works have been excluded.

In addition, the DfE are currently undertaking inspection of all schools across the country as part of their Condition Data Collection Programme 2 (CDC2).  The Condition Data Collection 2 (CDC2) programme is the successor to the Condition Data Collection (CDC) programme, which ran from 2017-2019. This followed the Property Data Survey (PDS), which ran between 2012 and 2014. CDC2 collects condition, contextual and building management data for every government funded school in England. Data from CDC2 will directly inform future investment in the condition of school buildings and will provide an evidence base to support the successful delivery and development of education capital policy.

Further information on this exercise is available at the following link:

CDC2 Programme Guide (

Page last reviewed: 01 May 2024