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higher education estates magazine (hee)

hee magazine digital edition - September/October 2018

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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

Bank of Mum and Dad take the strain

Bank of Mum and Dad take the strain  » 

Parents are taking on extra work, sacrificing holidays and turning to borrowing to help pay for the full cost of their children’s university education. Students meanwhile are spending several hours a day in paid employment to help keep up with costs and improve their job prospects.

EC research funding may still be available to UK  » 

British universities’ hopes of remaining eligible for European research grants received a welcome boost when Prime Minister Theresa May said the United Kingdom would like the option to fully associate with the EU’s next research and innovation programme.

Universities dominate Stirling shortlist

Universities dominate Stirling shortlist  » 

Three of the six buildings shortlisted for this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize are at British universities. They are University of Roehampton’s Chadwick Hall, Worcester College, Oxford University’s Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre and Cambridge University’s Storey’s Field Community Centre and Nursery.

Students and Minister call for improvement  » 

The 2018 National Student Survey results, capturing the views of over 320,000 students, show that while student satisfaction levels remain high, universities and colleges must do more to ensure a positive experience for all students, says Universities Minister Sam Gyimah.

ANALYSIS: The importance of international students to British universities

ANALYSIS: The importance of international students to British universities  » 

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent public body that advises the government on migration issues, has just published a report on the impact of international students in the UK. Controversially, it recommends students should continue to be included in the Government’s net migration target.

Other news

HMRC appeal against student accommodation VAT policy ruling rejected

HMRC appeal against student accommodation VAT policy ruling rejected  » 

HMRC’s appeal against a ruling that overturned its student accommodation VAT policy has been rejected in a case once again taken to the Tax Tribunal by Glyn Edwards, VAT Director at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, bringing benefits for companies involved in the construction of student housing, landlords and universities.

Morgan Sindall welcomes students for a tour of Liverpool’s Knowledge Quarter expansion

Morgan Sindall welcomes students for a tour of Liverpool’s Knowledge Quarter expansion  » 

A group of 30 German exchange students and lecturers from Augsburg University of Applied Sciences have taken part in a tour of Liverpool’s Paddington Village, where Morgan Sindall is delivering two key projects for the planned £1 billion extension to the city’s Knowledge Quarter.

Fees freeze disappoints university chiefs

Fees freeze disappoints university chiefs  » 

The maximum tuition fees that a university will be able to charge has been frozen for the second year running, Education Secretary Damian Hinds confirmed last month.

Flagship De Montfort building scoops another award

Flagship De Montfort building scoops another award  » 

The team behind the transformational Vijay Patel Building at De Montfort University, which inspires some of the UK’s most talented art and design graduates, have scooped a prestigious award from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).