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  • Executive summary
  • Introduction
  • The size of the sector
  • Cost and income analysis
  • Space management
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Condition and repair
  • Annex A Glossary and abbreviations

Executive summary


1.   This publication reports on the findings of the Estate Management Statistics Service (EMS) during 2007-08 for the 2006-07 financial year. It focuses on:

  • the changing profile of the UK higher education estate between 2005-06 and 2006-07 including highlighting changes on a country-by-country basis
  • trends over this period with particular emphasis on environmental sustainability.

2.   We recommend that senior management teams and estates committees consider this report in the context of their estates and use EMS to assist them in developing their strategies and operational planning.

Key points

Cost and income analysis

3.   Between 2005-06 and 2006-07 the median income per m2 of net space rose by 12 per cent, well above the rate of inflation and also above the increase in revenue expenditure on estates over the same period. As a proportion of income, total property costs fell by approximately 1 per cent between 2005-06 and 2006-07.

4.   Overall, the ability of higher education institutions to meet their backlog repair requirement improved slightly between 2005-06 and 2006-07, indicating a lower exposure to risk. However, the position in Wales deteriorated over the same period, suggesting that for these institutions the repair backlog was less affordable in 2006-07.

Space management

5.   The level of gross space of the UK higher education estate increased by approximately 0.8 per cent between 2005-06 and 2006-07, while net space remained relatively stable over the same period.

6.   The amount of non-residential space per student full-time equivalent (FTE) and academic space per student FTE continued to decrease between 2005-06 and 2006-07, falling by 3.8 per cent and 4.3 per cent respectively. But the space allocation in both these categories in Scotland continued to exceed that in England and Wales.

7.   Overall, the utilisation rate of academic space fell by 6 per cent to 25.4 per cent between 2005-06 and 2006-07. The utilisation rate rose in England and Scotland, and fell in Wales; this may, in part, reflect changes in teaching practices.

Environmental sustainability

8.   Total energy consumption continued to fall between 2005-06 and 2006-07, decreasing by 3 per cent. The median UK energy consumption fell by 7 per cent, with Wales showing the greatest improvement with a fall of 12 per cent.

9.   It is intended that during the 2007-08 data collection cycle, revised green energy definitions will be introduced which will provide a more comprehensive picture of energy usage and emissions.

Condition and repair

10.   The proportion of the UK non-residential estate in good condition1 remained stable between 2005-06 and 2006-07. A small number of institutions continue to have part of their estate in a poorer than average condition, and have done so over a number of years.

11.   The functional suitability of the non-residential estate continued to improve in 2006-07, increasing by 2 per cent to 78 per cent.

12.   The proportion of the residential estate in good condition has fallen by 5.6 per cent between 2005-06 and 2006-07 from 80.0 per cent to 75.5 per cent. The biggest deterioration was seen in Wales, with 61 per cent of Welsh institutions' residential estate now in good condition.

13.   A glossary of key terms and abbreviations used in this report is at Annex A.


1.   That is to say, in condition A and B, the higher of the four grades used by EMS to classify condition.

Date: 1 July 2009

Ref: 2009/28

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions, Heads of universities in Northern Ireland
Heads of SFC-funded higher education institutions, Heads of HEFCW-funded higher education institutions

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Strategic planning, Finance, Estates

Enquiries should be directed to:

Andrew Smith at HEFCE, tel 0117 931 7001, e-mail