Purpose - The Hong Kong SAR Government increased its expenditure on education by 13.2 per cent from 1998-1999 to 2002-2003 in order to improve education and upgrade school facilities, despite the fact that the economy was in bad shape. To investigate the current facility management (FM) of secondary schools in Hong Kong, a study of the needs of the end-users (students and teachers) was conducted. The paper aims at identifying major FM components and investigating the relationships between the identified FM components and overall satisfaction with FM in three common locations within secondary schools (classrooms, IT laboratories and libraries). Design/methodology/approach - A questionnaire survey of 1,472 local students was conducted to evaluate the FM performance of schools, as well as to establish the relationships between the levels of satisfaction with each FM component and overall satisfaction with FM. A number of formal interviews with local students, teachers and professional school designers were also conducted so that the gap between users' needs and designers' considerations could be identified by cross-checking the differences between the data gathered from the questionnaires and the interviews. Findings - The study revealed that different locations within secondary schools emphasise different FM components (e.g. flexibility, temperature and safety and security in classrooms; seat allocation, density, colour and decoration, technical support and safety and security in IT laboratories; and seat allocation, lighting, temperature and furniture in libraries). Hygiene, natural lighting and sufficient facilities were found to be key FM components in all three locations in secondary schools. Research limitations/implications - The interviews focussed on two schools only, while the questionnaire was conducted on four schools. However, since the interviewees included end-users (teachers and students) and designers of both schools, we believe that the differential responses to the FM components reflected in the study do not indicate that our results are biased. On the other hand, the study only examined students in Forms 2, 4 and 6. The results might be slightly different if the questionnaires were filled in by all the students in the schools. A study of all students in secondary schools is recommended in order to understand and confirm the requirements of FM from the point of view of end-users. Practical implications - Designers need to understand end-users' expectations in the preliminary stage of design in order to enhance learning among students and ensure that school buildings are designed to achieve educational purposes. Some important elements are the arrangement of classroom seats in rows, the avoidance of desk movement in class, the provision of natural lighting, the installation of an adjustable temperature control, the improvement of natural ventilation, the measurement of noise, the installation of a lock for each drawer, the provision of sufficient facilities in each room and the selection of building materials for hygiene purposes. On the other hand, facility managers also need to ensure good hygiene and upgrade technical support, especially in IT laboratories. Originality/value - This paper identified 13 major FM components and evaluated the relationship between the identified FM components and overall satisfaction with FM. The results indicate that different FM components are emphasised in three common locations within secondary schools (classrooms, IT laboratories and libraries). Designers and facility managers need to understand end-users' expectations in the design stage and the operation stage, respectively, in order to enhance learning among students and ensure that school buildings are designed to achieve educational purposes. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
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