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higher education estates magazine (hee)

hee magazine digital edition - July/August 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

HEDQF conference places design at the heart of wellbeing in HE

HEDQF conference places design at the heart of wellbeing in HE  » 

The theme at the recent annual conference of The Higher Education Design Quality Forum (HEDQF) was that that designing for wellbeing is currently among the biggest issues in the university sector.

Bouygues UK recruits first HE students as ambassadors for its Cardiff Innovation Campus project

Bouygues UK recruits first HE students as ambassadors for its Cardiff Innovation Campus project  » 

Bouygues UK, the construction company building Cardiff University’s cutting-edge Innovation Campus, has welcomed its first higher education Ambassadors on site.

Sustainability progress across university estates says AUDE

Sustainability progress across university estates says AUDE  » 

The Association of University Directors of Estates, in its first-ever sustainability report, says that “sustainability is being seen as relevant across all areas of an institution and more users are taking a whole institution approach”.

University of Birmingham appeals for ‘smart building’ ideas

University of Birmingham appeals for ‘smart building’ ideas  » 

Following the ambitious redevelopment of its campus this year, the University of Birmingham has launched an initiative which invites ideas from across the built environment sector about what might their buildings look like in 2026. Specifically, the university is seeking ideas about how they create a “truly smart building” in order to fulfill the needs and expectations of future student generations.

ANALYSIS: How Huddersfield became AUDE’s Team of the Year

ANALYSIS: How Huddersfield became AUDE’s Team of the Year  » 

A chosen few - dressed to the nines - receive their trophies and pose, all smiles, for the cameras. It’s a great night out, and the annual AUDE (Association of University Directors of Estates) Awards are no exception.

Other news

Students wants bankrupt universities to be rescued

Students wants bankrupt universities to be rescued  » 

The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) has released the only dedicated study on what UK students think about the financial health of universities, “Students back bailouts: Students’ views on the financial health of universities”.

CUBO focuses on the student living experience  » 

College and University Business Officers (CUBO), which covers all aspects of university management including Accommodation, Food & Hospitality, Conferencing, Security, Facilities and much more, is launching a major research initiative that will focus strongly on the student living and residential experience, with a view to highlighting trends, delivering valued insights and exploring best practice to support member’ learning and value add across CUBO’s 300-strong university membership.

AUDE awards recognise estate excellence

AUDE awards recognise estate excellence  » 

Huddersfield University and the universities of Northampton and Leicester were among the winners at the 2019 AUDE Awards, which were announced at the annual AUDE conference, this year held at Lancaster University.

Craig Nowell new AUDE Chair

Craig Nowell new AUDE Chair  » 

Craig Nowell has taken over from Sheffield’s Keith Lilley as AUDE chair. Nowell is the Director of Campus Infrastructure & Operational Support Services at the University of Exeter, a role he took up in March 2018, and immediate past Chair of AUDE in Wales having served for 5 years between 2012 - 2017.

ANALYSIS: The financial sustainability of higher education providers in England

ANALYSIS: The financial sustainability of higher education providers in England  » 

The Office for Students (OfS) which regulates higher education providers in England, has reported on the financial health of higher education providers and found a mixed picture, with mounting pressures on university budgets. Here are its key findings.