University estates continue to grow

Association of University Directors of Estate releases its annual report showcasing key estate statistics across the sector

The Association of University Directors of Estate (AUDE) has released its annual report which reveals the growth trajectory of the sector with £28 billion of income received at the last count.

The ‘Higher Education Estates Statistics Report 2015’ details the challenges and impacts of the estates of the HE sector. The report found:

  • The sector has a total income of £28 billion – an increase of £1 billion from last year’s report
  • 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)

Capital expenditure measures include the refurbishment and upgrading of existing accommodation. This is driven by a need to provide more modern and suitable accommodation across campuses, so existing housing can function alongside more purpose built new accommodation.

Continued expansion 

The report also reveals that University estates continue to expand. UK Universities 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.

In an ever-growing competitive market, the report demonstrates that the UK continues to retain excellent students across the country. The university population is well over one million, with 1,698,452 students in UK universities. 

Improvement and striving for excellence in times of change is a key theme throughout the report. Other focuses 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

Sue Holmes, AUDE Chair and Director of Estates and Facilities at Oxford Brookes University, said: “The report shows excellent practice throughout the sector to retain attraction and evolve whilst investment and operational costs are being maintained. The report is a benchmark for all institutions and I am thrilled that AUDE is at the forefront of ensuring the high quality of the UK university estates and facilities management is upheld.”


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