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University estate increases by 500,000 sq m with no rise in running cost

11 October 2017

Despite the fact that universities are now managing an extra 500,000 sq m of space compared with three years ago, management and maintenance costs have not increased.

This was one of the facts emerging from the latest survey conducted by the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) annual report.

Entitled Higher Education Estates Management Report 2017, the publication covers the 2015-16 academic year and is designed to describe developments within the UK's university estate.

Challenges include transforming the estate to meet the demands of teaching and research within a digital 24-hour learning environment.

In addition to managing extra space, the refurbishment of older buildings is adding further complexity within the estate, says the AUDE report.

However, directors of estates have succeeded in keeping spending at a "relatively level" £2.04bn for the third successive year.

The area covered by the university estate now stands at 21.9m sq m and income per sq m is continuing to rise above the rate of inflation, according to AUDE.

Further results included the fact that 20 institutions spent 50% of the total higher education sector spend, while 80% of its capital was expended by 54 out of 154 institutions.

Edinburgh, Cambridge, Imperial and UCL institutions were identified as spending £100m a year.

Estate utilisation increased by 4% compared with the previous 12 month period.

With capital expenditure increasing to £3bn for the first time, the report said this had seen investment in refurbishing older buildings and building more carbon efficient premises with the aim of decreasing running costs.

A breakdown of the £2bn annual spend was also included in the report:
Repairs and maintenance £701m
Energy £376m
Cleaning £244m
Security £154m
Management £304m

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