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Sunday, 8 December

All's Good with AUDE

The Association of University Directors of Estate (AUDE) has released its annual report showing healthy growth with £28 billion of income.

The report – Higher Education Estates Statistics Report 2015 – details the challenges and impacts of the estates of the higher education sector.

The report, spanning 2013-2014, highlights the continuous investment into UK university estates and finds:

  • The sector has a total income of £28 billion (an increase of £1 billion from last year’s report) which is larger than government spending in Northern Ireland.

  • Spends £4 billion (excluding residential) per annum.

  • Total revenue expenditure on property is almost £2 billion. Capital expenditure is over £2.5 billion, the highest annual spending recorded to date.

  • Over a dozen institutions spent in excess of £40 million (four with expenditure over £100 million).

The report also reveals that university estates continue to expand, servicing almost 1.7 million students. They now occupy almost 21 million m2 (20,945,388m2) of space, an expansion of just over half a million (503,949m2) within a year. This includes five institutions with estates that are larger than 500,000m2 (GIA), a dozen that range from 200,000 to 400,000m2 and roughly half of the sector operating with an estate of less than 100,000m2.

Other trends include:

  • The sector continues to make ‘great strides’ in relation to efficiency and effectiveness with property costs remaining broadly stable and income per m2 increasing.

  • Energy continues to rise in importance as an element of cost. The report highlights that emissions per m2 have been slowly reducing over the last six years, suggesting that the environmental sustainability policies that institutions are investing in are resulting in reduced carbon output.

  • Overseas recruitment will continue to be an important part of some institutions’ strategies.

The report goes on to state that improving efficiency and service, reducing costs and increasing the commercial income from the estate, remain key challenges for all estates directors. This is because the student experience is inextricably linked to the quality and effectiveness of the estate.

As a result, protecting capital spend and persuading governing bodies to continue to invest, is going to require careful thought and debate so that inward investment continues and the estate remains on the agenda for all nationwide institutions.

“UK university estates, in the short term at least, will need to work even harder to ensure they have first class, up to date facilities and services on offer to beat off fierce competition for the best and the brightest,” said George Griffith, Global Workplace Solutions at CBRE who was involved in authoring the AUDE report.

Picture: The AUDE report shows that university estates are performing relatively well in a challenging environment. Our image shows the AUDE conference held this March at Warwick University

Article written by Robin Snow

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