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higher education estates magazine (hee)

hee magazine digital edition - January/February 2019

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The HE market

Universities increase turnover via business driven developments

The UK university sector grew by £2bn in one year, and it annual turnover now equates to £30bn overall, according to the latest figures from the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE).

AUDE’s annual report, ‘Higher Education Estates Statistics Report 2016’, which spans the academic year 2014-2015, shows that teaching income had risen by 6% per annum, while income from research increased by 12%. The two largest institutions in the UK each turnover in excess of £1bn per annum.

Estates growth

The university estate equates to 14.3m sqm, which represents an increase of 200,000 sqm on the previous year. During this time, numbers of research students increased by 10,000 and staff numbers increased by 2,000.

Capital expenditure for the year reached a record high of £2.75bn. This growth of 5.6% on the previous year was driven by investment in the estate in the knowledge that staff and students expect high quality and attractive facilities.

The AUDE report reveals university estates continue to expand. Individually, the universities of Manchester, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford and Nottingham all have academic estates (excluding residential accommodation) in excess of 500,000 sqm.

Commercial deals

Universities’ income rose to £1,477 per sqm in 2014/15. For example, the University of Hertfordshire embarked on a strategy to boost income by securing commercial deals with businesses such as Ocado and Regus for office space, as well as commercial leases with bank Santander and the NHS which runs a GP clinic on campus.

Across the sector, examples are documented by AUDE of universities exploiting their estates in order to secure alternative funding streams outside of traditional routes. The University of Sheffield built workshops, laboratories and office space in Catcliffe near the M1 in a business park. The capital expenditure in Sheffield Business Park will deliver 4,000 jobs and generate over £210m per annum to the regional economy when fully developed.

Goals for estates departments

Driving efficiency, reducing costs, improving the estate, raising service levels and increasing the commercial income from the estate remain key areas of focus for estate directors.

Ambitious infrastructure spend plans

In the face of challenging financial conditions, the HE sector wants to invest over £17.8 billion in infrastructure projects over the next four years, according to new figures from HEFCE. If achievable, this would represent an average annual investment of £4.5 billion, 51% higher than the previous four-year average.

Latest news

Value-for-money accommodation tops student wish list

Value-for-money accommodation tops student wish list  » 

The UK market for student accommodation is becoming increasingly competitive, driven by healthy levels of new supply and changing demographics, says a report from Knight Frank Rutley.

AUDE asks if the golden days are over

AUDE asks if the golden days are over  » 

University estates directors faced two sharply contrasting visions for the future at this year’s AUDE Big Conversation, held in Edinburgh at the end of last month - “the good days are over and universities must rethink radically their approach to building” versus “steady as we go, we’re on the right track”. Andrew Pring reports.

ANALYSIS: Agile thinking at University of West of Scotland

ANALYSIS: Agile thinking at University of West of Scotland  » 

Haa managing director Hugh Anderson explains how he adapted modern office design to enable a new way of university teaching. A bold experiment went live in Lanarkshire at the beginning of September. More specifically the University of the West of Scotland’s new Lanarkshire campus located in Hamilton International Technology Park opened its doors to over 3,000 students.

Other news

Education review must not seek short-term fix, says Beer

Education review must not seek short-term fix, says Beer  » 

Professor Dame Janet Beer, Universities UK President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, says the Government’s review of post-18 education and funding in England, conducted by ex-financier Phil Augar, must raise aspirations, not limit them.

More poor students seek university places  » 

Universities UK’s annual Patterns and Trends report shows that demand for university places from 18-year-olds has increased, with those from less advantaged backgrounds 49% more likely to apply than a decade ago.

Financial strains threaten three universities

Financial strains threaten three universities  » 

At least three universities are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, with growing numbers of institutions resorting to short-term financial loans “just to survive”, the I newspaper reported last month. The three, it suggested, are a university in the North West and two on the South Coast, with one already in talks with insolvency lawyers.

We like universities say Great British Public

We like universities say Great British Public  » 

The British public feel positively towards UK universities by five-to-one, and people overwhelmingly say they would send their children to university given the chance.

Analysis: University estates invest over £6bn in buildings  » 

Universities continue to improve their estates but uncertain times may curtail spending, new report notes.