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An Ultimate Guide to Design a School Bus Maintenance Facility

Monday June 4, 2018


Safety is the first norm in the management of school bus system. School authorities and bus companies have to regularly shoulder the responsibility of to and fro transportation of innocent children, which is time-sensitive as well as risky.

Although as priorities, the schools lay a lot of importance, while appointing expert drivers and selecting best buses, timely and right maintenance is the true need of any streamlined transportation system.

With the advent in technology, the schools have now equipped the buses with latest trackers that could give the authorities the real-time location of the buses and notify them about the maintenance required for the vehicles.

The authorities have now begun to realize that the well-maintained vehicles could keep the other operational expenses low. Right type of maintenance not only keeps the carbon emissions from the vehicles low but also makes the vehicles last longer.

A well-planned bus maintenance system ultimately helps companies avoid frequent break-downs and improve mileage from the oil consumption.

Steps to Create a Guide on “How to Design a School Bus Maintenance Facility”?

The planning and compilation of the designing of school bus maintenance facility needs the involvement of everyone, who would use the facility. To add to it, creating the facility requires meticulous planning. As the aim is to go for an efficient facility, which could meet the practical needs of the bus operator.

Let’s know about the steps to create a fruitful school bus maintenance facility.

1. Involvement of right types of individuals and creation of coordinating group

First of all, the first initiative for this is to involve individuals and create a group. Architects, engineers, and real users of the facility need to become members of the co-coordinating group, who would have brain-storming about construction of right type of maintenance facility.

The real users of the facility are mechanics, drivers, supervisors, and clerks and their involvement in the group would add practical ideas to the construction of the maintenance facility. This is the first part of the design stage, where detailed planning could make the future progress of the construction work easy and hassle-free.

2. Understand the Function and Know the Use of the Facility

The second task is to know and understand as to how the facility would be useful for the maintenance of the buses. For that, everyone needs to understand the true functions of the facility. Let’s consider them one-by-one.

  1. Would be facility get constructed only for maintenance purpose?
  2. Would it have space for adequate parking?
  3. Would the construction of the facility accommodate supervisory offices?
  4. Whether the construction would also include a separate “dispatch” section?
  5. Would it also have the provisions for training of the drivers?
  6. As “fueling” is also part and parcel of maintenance system, the new construction would also have a separate gas station or filling station.
  7. What would be the provisions for adequate water storage for washing the vehicles after through repairs?
  8. Where the installation for painting would get constructed?
  9. How would the outside parking get constructed?
  10. What are the installations required for security arrangements?
  11. Would the facility be put to regular use?
  12. Would there be provisions for night-shift maintenance?

3. Let the construction begin for the same

Every facility for maintenance would at least have two dedicated bays for the maintenance purposes. Usually the bay has the 16 feet width and 60 feet length.

The pattern of construction of the bay would have the provision for tool storage and access to every side for the convenience of repairs of the buses. As per the capacity, 20 to 30 buses could only get facilities for maintenance in a shift. When the necessity exists for 2nd or 3rd shift, the coordinating group would also plan for the construction additional bays.

4. What would be the height of the ceiling?

 Usually, the ceiling of the facility would have the height of 18 feet. This is essential for raising the bus on a lift for the purpose of maintenance. The facility needs to have at least one or two lifts.

If it has two lifts, the second one could become useful during the lengthy repairing of a particular bus. Lifts are also very useful for the purpose of inspection of the maintenance works of the vehicles.

5. What are the options for washing the bus?

When plans are afoot for the creation of right type of bus maintenance facility, the coordinating group needs to have proper consultation about right type of bus washing system. The decision makers would have to make careful selections for installing the right type of washing system for the bus.

They would have to exercise their options about creating the suitable type of washing system for the buses. Let’s know about the available options:

  1. If the automatic washing system would become enough for the need of thorough cleaning of the buses.
  2. Whether a portable washing system could sufficiently wash dirt off the buses?
  3. Whether hand-washing of the buses could keep the buses cleaner and hygienic instead of using other types of sophisticated washing systems.
  4. The coordinating group of individuals could think of assigning the contract of washing the buses to the outside agencies instead of getting involved in creating the entire washing arrangement for the facility.
  5. As the wash bay of the buses would require a space of at least 1200 square feet and installation of storm discharge and sewer disposal facilities, construction of the system needs careful analysis and execution.  When huge quantity of water is essential for washing the buses, a water recovery system needs to remain in place to avoid wastage of water.

6. Ideas about constructing the painting facility for the buses

 While the buses get repaired in the maintenance facility, painting of the faded or dented buses is simply unavoidable in the repairing process. Painting restores the vehicles to their original shapes and looks and gives them shining as they get back to the streets after thorough overhauling.

So the ideas about constructing painting bay are as follows:

  1. It is also important to decide whether the maintenance facility would accommodate an independent and dedicated “paint section” or not.
  2. As now-a-days, three types of painting installations are available, such as compressed air, high volume and low pressure, or electrostatic, the coordinating members of the group would have to select the right option for the purpose.
  3. A compressed air system gives highly polished finish to the exterior of the vehicle, whereas high pressure produces over-spray of the paint and it also attracts air-borne particles. The high volume and low pressure system operates with minimum air-pressure that invariably gives low-quality painting. The electrostatic system makes use of electrically charged paint particles, which reduces the chances of over-spraying of the paint on the bodies of buses.

Considering the pros and cons of each painting facility, the members of the group would have to make a judicious decision.

7. What about storage room for Spare-parts?

 A storage-room for spare-parts is almost an essential part in the construction of facility for maintenance facility. Moreover a quick access to the inventory of spare-parts is necessary to minimize the requirement for an open inventory of spare parts.

For storing tires and pipes, the facility has to include space for dry storage. Moreover storage of inflammable and hazardous materials requires safe and restricted areas.

8. Parking – last but not least in priority

As the final phase in construction is to create provision for adequate space for parking, a decision needs to be made whether the parking facility would exist inside or outside the maintenance premises.

As block heaters are necessary for parking inside the maintenance building, no heaters are necessary if the vehicles are parked outside. It depends on the climate of the place to decide about the type of parking for the vehicles.

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