Universities are getting smarter about space planning

Universities are learning that it pays to be smarter about operating and maintaining buildings, which includes optimising space usage. Last year, more and more campuses really examined space utilisation and made some serious judgement calls about the planning process. One can only assume that this trend will continue in 2018 and beyond.

 

Fitting courses and modules into the appropriate space is a complicated process — especially when a department needs rooms with specialised new technology, but when their designed space was constructed in 60’s and 70’s and can’t accommodate their current and future needs, what happens? Across Australia and New Zealand, some spaces on campuses sit nearly empty while space managers and time-tablers scratch their heads trying to find room for all classes. Not an easy problem to solve. Especially when suffering from “faculty space-lock” and the dreaded “bath-tub curve” of inefficiency.

 

The problem goes deeper than what space is on campus, which is only one component of making the most of existing space. Before planning even starts, FM Leaders must be clear on the school’s overall future goals and priorities — it’s the only way to truly gather requirements for classes. Once facilities management experts have the right information, the planning starts. 

 

Additionally, when it comes to optimising campus space, many schools are getting creative by constructing underground parking, labs, libraries, and even classrooms. Commons are growing up between buildings— expect to see more of this in the coming years.

 

Planning is never set in stone. As teaching methods and student priorities change, so should plans. Reviewing and adjusting plans based on evolving strategic goals is one of the most important aspects of being smart about campus space planning. Using analytics to help you make predictions from your data should also be part of your strategy.

 

BeyondFM has expertise in the Higher Education Sector in Campus Optimisation Strategies, utilising existing and new technologies and analytics to drive spatial efficiencies and cost savings. Contact us today  +61 (0) 403 842 480.

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