Three factors are used to express the efficiency with which teaching accommodation is used.

Space efficiency has implications for used workplace income and total space requirements. Both factors impact directly on the financial viability of courses in colleges and universities.

The calculation of the three indices, based on a space utilisation survey, are indicated in the following table.

Building Teaching Area Rooms Rooms in Use RFF Seats in Use Capacity Av. Rm Capacity Av. Grp Size SOF SUF
A 840 16 7 43.8% 134 400 25.0 19.1 76.6% 33.5%
B 1089 18 9 50.0% 110 468 26.0 12.2 47.0% 23.5%
C 1361 27 10 37.0% 106 648 24.0 10.6 44.2% 16.4%
D 952 18 9 50.5% 88 414 23.0 9.8 42.5% 21.3%
E 1856 36 15 41.7% 180 755 21.0 12.0 57.2% 23.8%
F 1586 15 7 46.7% 77 540 36.0 11.0 30.6% 14.3%
G 1650 18 7 38.9% 130 563 31.3 18.6 59.4% 23.1%
H 1685 18 6 33.3% 90 580 32.2 15.0 46.6% 15.5%
11019 166 70 42.2% 915 4368 26.3 13.1 49.7% 21.0%

The table provides the basis for the plotting of room frequency, seat occupancy and space utilisation levels.


Stellae Space Utilisation

The graph shows current average space efficiency levels. The data, adjusted if appropriate, provides the basis for space modelling.

Stellae undertakes regular college space utilisation surveys. The planning process ensures the minimum number of CRB surveyors are used for surveys and a half day induction process ensures the collection of consistent and reliable data. A comprehensive statistical analysis provides the basis for a review of space efficiency levels. An option is available to review the improved scheduling of classes based on workable timetables.

Planned space utilisation levels, recommended space norms and the allocation of space resources are driven by financial considerations.

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.

Space Costs
In 2006 the space costs in higher education were estimated as follows.

Types of costs Cost per m2
Operating £43.80
Maintenance £53.40
Depreciation £50.20
Capital Opportunity £45.10
Total Costs £192.50

It is proposed to take into account only operating and maintenance costs. Allowing for inflation since the collection of base data result in an estimated cost of approximately £120 per square metre.

To assist calculations based on the actual space costs of individual universities or colleges the following calculations are based on a space cost of £100 per square metre per year. It is also assumed that:

As space utilisation falls the required income per used workplace increases.

Space Utilisation Income per used workplace
40% £1,500.00
30% £2,000.00
20% £3,000.00

The following graph shows the rise in the income per used workplace as the level of space utilisation falls.


Stellae Required Income Per Used Workplace

In further education the target space utilisation based on enrolled student numbers, is 44%. On the basis of a headcount survey the minimum target space utilisation level is 30%. The difference in the target utilisation levels suggests a maximum acceptable absence level of 30%.

The following graph shows that regardless of the required income per used workplace the target efficiency levels avoid the steep increases in the required income per student workplace associated with low space utilisation levels. The timetable difficulties associated with high space utilisation levels are also avoided.


Stellae Required Income Per Used Workplace

A department using seminar or classrooms for only 10% of the time will incur a significantly reduced income per used student workplace. Specialist space used by a single department has the most serious implications for the financial viability of courses. It is prudent when planning future space requirements to keep to a minimum the number of facilities that can only be used for a single activity by a single department. It is this recommendation that has led to the development in universities, for example, of first year science laboratories that can be used for physical and natural sciences and nurse education.

The pattern of increasing income per used workplace associated with falling space utilisation levels is repeated if the proportion of teaching and learning space in a college or university is reduced or the average area per student workplace is increased.