An annual report released by the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) has revealed the university estates sector grew by £2 billion in the 2014-2015 academic year, with annual turnover for the whole of the UK now equating to £30 billion.
Despite what is considered a challenging funding environment, the ‘Higher Education Estates Statistics Report 2016’ details the evolving profile of the university estate. Capital expenditure grew by 5.6 per cent across the UK, which AUDE predicts is driven by investment as the sector continues to improve with the knowledge that staff members and students expect high quality and attractive facilities.
Expansion of university estates was also acknowledged. Individually, the universities of Cambridge, Manchester, Oxford, Edinburgh and Nottingham all have academic estates in excess of 500,000 square metres, excluding residential accommodation.
Trevor Humphreys, AUDE chair and director of Estates and Facilities at the University of Surrey, said: “Universities have been through a period of significant upheaval and the sector should be commended on its robust management and efficiency strategies, which continue to serve it well.
“However, the future remains uncertain as we try to plan for the impact of the HE White Paper currently going through Parliament. Brexit is also likely to affect our student demographic, our workforce, our costs, as well as research funding.”
Total property costs have also remained relatively level for the past six to seven years, moving from £95 to £98 per square metre, indicating that the sector is committed to driving efficiency.