Efficient space utilisation can result in considerable financial benefits. Buildings can be made surplus to requirements and their disposal can generate income for investment. Capital and operating costs associated with planned property strategies can be reduced.
The key to the efficient use of space resources is timetabling. This process needs to be based on sound space management policies, a clear understanding of the timetable process and an ability to apply the relevant skills.
STRATEGIC TIMETABLING DECISIONS
Identify a senior manager supported by a space management committee to review space utilisation levels and the constraints identified by timetabling staff that limit the efficient use of accommodation.
Recognise the potential contribution of skilled timetablers and ensure such staff have the training, status and resources appropriate to their responsibilities.
Establish the space cost per square metre of teaching space. Calculate the space costs for departments ensuring they bear the full space costs when they are the sole users of accommodation. The cost of shared accommodation should be divided in proportion to the used workplace hours accruing to individual departments.
City of Westminster College
The addition of teaching and space costs provides the basis for assessing the financial viability of courses.
Ensure the preparation of effective timetables and the efficient use of teaching space is based on sound principles.
- Select a standard slot, possibly of one hour, so that the duration of all classes are single or multiple hours. This action will enable the efficient integration of room timetables in accommodation used by different departments.
- Co-ordinate the use of all teaching rooms. Ownership of rooms, including specialist rooms, should not give departments the right to timetable such spaces independently, without taking into account the use of all teaching space by all staff.
- Identify senior management decisions or timetabling constraints associated with current course designs that results in departments not achieving target space utilisation levels. The constraints recorded by timetabling staff should be resolved by a senior space manager.
Assess in detail the precise space requirements associated with all planned course innovations and proposed estate developments. Capital bids for teaching accommodation should be based on workable timetables. Space utilisation levels, reflecting realistic estimations of future student numbers and planned course hours, should accompany applications for funding.
All staff need to understand that timetabling, and the management of teaching space, is a key requirement of an effective and financially viable centre of learning and achievement.
The following diagram suggests the wide implications of the timetabling process.
FIGURE 1: TIMETABLING AND SPACE MANAGEMENT PROCESS
Workshops are often required to increase an awareness of the contribution made by timetabling to the educational and financial performance of a college. The consultancy team has considerable experience of advising at a national level on the professional training of further and higher education lecturers. The designing and implementation of effective staff development activities is a specialist service that has been used by many colleges.
There are forty documents covering the key issues relating to timetabling and space planning, within the Discussion Papers section of the website. These PDF documents are printable by users who have completed our free registration.
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