Estates turnover hits £27 billion

Annual report from AUDE shows HE sector turns over £27.3bn, spends £2bn per annum and occupies 280 million sq ft

The Association of University Directors of Estate (AUDE) annual report details the impact of university estates and facilities across the UK. The ‘Higher Education Estates Statistics Report 2014’ shows the higher education sector has a turnover of £27.3bn, spends £2bn (excluding residential) per annum and occupies 26 million m2 (280 million sq ft).

In terms of capital expenditure on university estates, excluding residential, the spend was £2bn between 2012-2013 which equates to more than the average annual Crossrail budget (£14.8bn spread across nine years between 2009-18).

In terms of size, UK universities occupy an area just shy of the NHS estate (30 million m2, 322 million sq ft) but more than two and a half times the Governments own estate (10 million m2, 107 million sq ft).

The sector has felt monumental changes over the past five years with tuition fees trebling in England, income declining in real terms, competition growing and any surplus income or space under significant pressure and demand. Up to 2010 the sector saw year-on-year increases in income – greater than inflation but now copes with the fact that its income has not been as fast growing with ever increasing costs.

The report also reveals the substantial investment made into estates – £2bn in 2012/13 – with such funding increasingly coming from internal University sources rather than from the Government.

Energy and emissions is another key focus of the report and with these costs expected to continue to rise, the sector is at the forefront for carbon reduction strategies. At present, this is yet to materialise into reduced energy consumption, however, it holds the increase in consumption to a manageable level as buildings become ever more complex.

Andrew Burgess AUDE Chairman and Deputy Chief Operating Officer of Loughborough University, said: “The EMS report once again shows the magnitude of what the HE Estates sector produces annually, in terms of the work it delivers, the scale it covers and the people it provides for. This report undoubtedly shows that good-quality estates management translates into a better staff and student experience which, in a climate of increased tuition fees, less income  and added  competition, is more valuable than ever. The University Estates sector is often taken for granted but through demonstrating that its annual turnover is larger than 346 of the FTSE 350 top revenues, I hope that people will appreciate the size, quality and impact of HE estates to both local and the UK economy.”

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