Estate Strategy 2013-18

PRIORITIES

The University's Estate Strategy sets out the key principles for developing the University’s estate in line with its academic objectives over the period 2013 to 2018. It reflects the key challenges facing the Higher Education sector and this University, examines the impact of issues around efficiency and sustainability, and outlines future developments that are either underway already or in the pipeline.

“The University of Oxford estate comprises a significant portfolio of land and properties, with a wide range of asset types and uses.”


The estate in numbers:

Radcliffe camera
  • 235 buildings, providing some 590,000m2 of space, which accommodates the day-to-day activities of the University, including specialist research buildings, teaching laboratories and lecture halls, sports facilities, libraries and museums, administrative and ceremonial buildings
  • A further 150 properties in and around Oxford which are managed commercially, including accommodation for graduate students, offices, warehouses and land
  • The estate has been growing at circa 5% per annum for the last 15 years
  • The University has a series of masterplans which could provide up to an additional 250,000 m2 of space.
  • The University is responsible for the repair and upkeep of some of the finest buildings in the city of Oxford, including the Radcliffe Camera, Sheldonian Theatre and Old Bodleian Library
  • The estate has buildings dating from 1424. 25% of it is listed and 37% was built before 1840. It also includes a significant portfolio of state-of-the-art research buildings developed over the last 10 years

The Estate Strategy priorities:

Biochemistry building
  • To meet the changing patterns of research and teaching activity that result from changes in the size and shape of the University
  • To improve the utilisation of space through new buildings designed for flexibility and shared use, and the effective sharing of existing teaching and research facilities
  • To improve the condition and functional suitability of the estate by re-purposing existing buildings which are vacated when new ones are built
  • To reduce running costs and carbon emissions across the estate.
CHALLENGES

The University's Estate Strategy sets out the key principles for developing the University’s estate in line with its academic objectives over the period 2013 to 2018. It identifies the University’s priorities in line with which the decisions about maintenance and refurbishment of its estate are being made. It also examines the impact of issues around efficiency and sustainability, and outlines future developments that are either underway already or in the pipeline.

“Key challenges are: a very significant change in the capital funding landscape, more emphasis on sharing and flexibility by a smaller number of centres of excellence, the changing needs of students, and carbon and energy reduction.” 


Photo of two people working in a chemistry laboratory

The UK Higher Education sector as a whole faces a significant reduction in government funding for capital. The quality of student provision has come under scrutiny following introduction of the variable fee. Research funding is increasingly subject to conditions promoting flexibility, interdisciplinary work and sharing between institutions. The national value for money agenda is promoting better use of space and more efficient servicing. Carbon reduction targets for the sector are challenging.

“...the University will invest in the estate where this will facilitate new or improved ways of working, increased efficiencies, improved opportunities for interdisciplinary working, or enable the decommissioning or transformation of inappropriate spaces.”


Oxford issues:

Said lecture theatre
  • A number of properties are no longer functionally suitable for their current use and their future needs to be considered in the light of their location and potential for re-purposing
  • The development of new donor-funded buildings is likely to continue as the University grows and funding is realised
  • The provision of appropriate student housing remains a challenge and will require further investment 
  • Ambitions to promote flexibility and sharing of both teaching and research space enjoy broad support across the University but are some way from becoming a reality 
  • The continued growth of research places significant demands on investment
  • Research data requires very significant processing, resilience and storage facilities; investment in IT capital projects is likely to become more significant over the next five years.
EFFICIENCY

The University's Estate Strategy sets out the key principles for developing the University’s estate in line with its academic objectives over the period 2013 to 2018. It identifies the University’s priorities in line with which the decisions about maintenance and refurbishment of its estate are being made. It reflects the key challenges facing the Higher Education sector and this University, examines the impact of issues around sustainability, and outlines future developments that are either underway already or in the pipeline.

“A more efficient and flexible use of space and sharing of facilities will reduce the resources needed to run and maintain less efficient buildings, enabling resource to be redirected for academic benefit, and allow for new ideas to be realised in research and education through increased collaboration.” 


Landscape photo of the Radcliffe Infirmary building

Building condition and functional suitability (fitness for purpose) are two of the most important factors to be considered in determining investment in the current University estate. The most immediate concern arises over buildings that have sub-optimal building condition and functional suitability. There are 29 buildings in this combined category. It is not always the case that poor functional suitability can be improved by additional refurbishment spend: depending on the nature of the problem, demolition and replacement of buildings may be the preferred option.


A recent initiative has targeted maintenance on the most historic buildings in the University’s portfolio reflecting the importance of long-term conservation of such buildings. Fabric repairs have also included a significant window replacement strategy.

Humanities lecture theatre

The University will ensure that any new building or refurbishment is planned, built and occupied to ensure the greatest energy and water efficiency and the lowest carbon emissions.

Improvement of space utilisation is a key objective for HEFCE. University departments report the availability of some teaching space that could be shared, but note the considerable pressure on research space. Better systems to allow and promote efficient sharing of space are becoming increasingly vital.

The University has a five-year repair and maintenance programme which allocates and budgets for building, mechanical and electrical works. The Estate repair and maintenance budget for 2012/13 is circa £16.3 million.

SUSTAINABILITY

The University's Estate Strategy sets out the key principles for developing the University’s estate in line with its academic objectives over the period 2013 to 2018. It identifies the University’s priorities in line with which the decisions about maintenance and refurbishment of its estate are being made. It reflects the key challenges facing the Higher Education sector and this University, examines the impact of issues around efficiency, and outlines future developments that are either underway already or in the pipeline.

“The University’s commitment to minimising the environmental impacts of its activities includes conducting building energy audits, travel planning, improving facilities for cyclists and developing waste strategies in conjunction with departments.”


Through its enviornmental policies the University aims to:

Tree banner
  • reduce carbon dioxide emissions from its buildings and process in line with UK government targets

  • review opportunities and implement measures to reduce the use of mains water, and  reduce pollution entering watercourses

  • build environmentally sustainable buildings, and embed sustainable building best practice into the management of the estate; the University aims to achieve BREEAM Excellent rating for all new buildings and major refurbishments costing more than £1 million

  • encourage the use of efficient public and communal transport, bicycles and walking, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from work-related travel and University-owned vehicles; the University discourages unnecessary travel and the use of private motor transport for travel to the University and for work purposes during the day

  • review opportunities and implement measures to minimise general and hazardous waste generated by the University that is sent to landfill, and increase the proportion of waste that is recycled; the University is moving to a single waste contract for the majority of its buildings to effect maximum buying power and ensure data regarding waste disposal and recycling is properly collected

  • purchase products and services that reduce the University’s environmental impacts locally and globally and minimise direct or indirect pollution, and ensure that this policy is applied on a University-wide basis, to increase the use of sustainable products and those that can be recycled after use

  • preserve and where possible enhance wildlife habitats in non-urban and urban environments owned by, or related to, the University, and reduce its impacts on biodiversity locally and globally

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT

The University's Estate Strategy sets out the key principles for developing the University’s estate in line with its academic objectives over the period 2013 to 2018. It identifies the University’s priorities in line with which the decisions about maintenance and refurbishment of its estate are being made. It reflects the key challenges facing the Higher Education sector and this University, and examines the impact of issues around efficiency and sustainability.

“The University has a number of masterplans, which allow for improvements in existing facilities and accommodate the demand for an increase in the size of the estate.”


Masterplans provide an overall spatial vision and framework for the future development of a site within which individual projects can be developed. The masterplans consider the overall constraints on development and act as a guide to what is possible.

Four of the masterplans provide for an increase in the general size of the functional estate. If these were to be fully developed the amount of additional space that would be provided, allowing for replacing existing buildings and ignoring buildings already in construction, is 250,000m2 . The current functional estate would grow by circa 43% to some 836,000m2.

ROQ maths
  • The Radcliffe Observatory Quarter provides high quality modern teaching and office-based research facilities that encourage interdisciplinary and collaborative work; Humanities faculties have co-located into the former Radcliffe Infirmary Building and the purpose-built Andrew Wiles Building brings together the Mathematical Institute from three separate locations
  • The purchase of the Park Hospital site allows for the expansion of the Old Road Campus as a centre for developing world-leading medical research alongside operational clinical facilities
  • There are opportunities to redevelop and refurbish buildings in the Science Area and Keble Road Triangle to meet demand for state-of-the-art laboratory-based teaching and research
  • The Begbroke Science Park offers considerable scope for expansion and growth allowing University research to develop hand-in-hand with industrial and commercial enterprise
  • The Iffley Road Sports Centre provides opportunities to develop new sports facilities comparable to those of other world-leading universities

Contact us


Tel: 01865 (2) 88589

Email: estate.strategy@admin.ox.ac.uk

Estate Strategy summary brochure


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