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.


GUIDANCE NOTES: TO ASSIST THE IMPROVED USE OF TEACHING SPACE IN HIGHER EDUCATION

Timetabling procedures of proven effectiveness are reviewed under the following priorities.

  • Matching the demand and supply of teaching space
  • Minimising variations in the demand for teaching space
  • Maximising the flexible use of teaching space
  • Managing teaching space to assist its efficient utilisation

A consideration of each priority concludes with a summary of key points as illustrated in the example below.


In the guidance notes attention is drawn to the benefits of effective timetabling which can reduce the space requirements and operating costs of current estates. Improving the efficient use of space resources can also facilitate the disposal of land and buildings that are surplus to requirements and reduce the capital costs of new building programmes.

Stellae Queen Margaret University
Queen Margaret University
© Dyer

Publications on space management and timetabling issues have been prepared at the request of the Welsh funding agency.


Recommended actions to match the demand and supply of teaching space:

  • Adopt a standard one hour slot for all timetables 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.
  • Allocate rooms to departments on the basis of estimated space requirements and confine bookings if possible to these core room sets until target space utilisation levels are achieved.
  • Identify rooms to be shared by a number of departments in the event of demand exceeding the room hours available on the basis of core room sets.
  • Identify senior management decisions or timetabling constraints associated with current course designs that result in departments not achieving target space utilisation levels. The constraints recorded by timetabling staff should be resolved by a senior space management group.

In the guidance notes attention is drawn to the benefits of effective timetabling which can reduce the space requirements and operating costs of current estates. Improving the efficient use of space resources can also facilitate the disposal of land and buildings that are surplus to requirements and reduce the capital costs of new building programmes.

Space Management: A Good Practice Guide
A report reviewing issues related to timetabling has been prepared jointly with GVA Grimley which recommends ways in which space management and space utilisation levels can be improved. The report is based on the analysis of space management policies and procedures at the University of Wales, Swansea.

Support is available to aid the identification of effective space management policies and procedures, the assessment of current or future space requirements and the development of space charging systems. Buckinghamshire New University, Queen Margaret University and the University of Worcester are examples of institutions that have benefited from this type of support.

The consultancy can assist the preparation of student, staff and room timetables as part of a specialised bureau service.


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.

Stellae have worked closely with the following authorities:

Department of Education Logo
Scottish Funding Council
Department of Education Logo
Scottish Funding Council