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.”
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.
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.