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Current maintenance strategies of university building facilities in the Western Cape, South Africa
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Universities generally have low budgets for building maintenance and this reality, often aggravated by further reductions, results in a decline in the condition and performance of buildings. This particular research investigated the current building maintenance strategies of Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). The aim of the research was to develop improvement, prioritisation and involvement strategies to guide the maintenance of the performance parameters of the lecture theatres to ensure a performance level that meets the satisfaction of students, thereby promoting their learning experience. A mixed research design was used for the main study. A “case study” approach was adopted. CPUT was selected and three lecture theatres were selected as the cases for the research study. An exploratory study was carried out at the initial stage of the study, helping to formulate the research question and objectives for the main study. Observations, interviews and questionnaires were used to collect the primary data for the main study. A total of 430 questionnaires were distributed, out of which 283 representing a response rate of 65.8% were duly completed and returned. Importance Performance Analysis (IPA) model together with both descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse the data. The findings revealed that the performance of lecture theatres affects learning experience, and that all identified performance parameters were important to students’ learning experience. However, lighting, structural safety, ventilation and cleanliness were more highly ranked than fire safety & exit and aesthetics. It also became evident that, while all the performance parameters appeared to be underperforming, the performance of structural safety and lighting seemed satisfactory in all the lecture theatres, whereas ventilation, temperature, fire safety & exit (particularly old lecture theatres) and sound control were clearly underperforming. Furthermore, the study revealed that students are not involved in the maintenance management process of the lecture theatres whereas their involvement could ensure their satisfaction. Students perceived that instituting maintenance coordinators would be the most effective way of ensuring their involvement, followed by placing suggestion box in the department, or possibly organising forums at departmental level. To achieve better lecture theatre performance, the CPUT maintenance department needs to improve on the HVAC system (ventilation and temperature), fire safety & exit (particularly old lecture theatres) and sound control but without neglecting the other performance parameters. A further study to include teaching staff, additional lecture theatres and more parameters is highly recommended as it will provide a broader perspective to further help the CPUT maintenance department better maintain the lecture theatres.
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