Space Management - Operational Policy | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Space Management - Operational Policy

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Approval authority
Vice-Chancellor and President
Responsible Executive member
Chief Operating Officer
Designated officer
Director, Facilities Management
First approved
6 December 2005
Last amended
22 December 2023
Review date
21 December 2028
Related documents
Linked documents
Related legislation / standards
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)
  • University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998 (Qld)
  • Disability (Access to Premises — Buildings) Standards 2010

1. Purpose of policy

1.1 The primary space management objectives are to ensure that:

(a) the use of all space suitably supports students in their educational program of study and staff in their workplace endeavours;

(b) the University’s property, whether owned or leased, is effectively, efficiently and responsibly managed; and

(c) space management decisions are made in support of UniSC’s Strategic Plan.

1.2 This policy document must be read in conjunction with the linked Space Management - Procedures, External Lease – Procedures and Property Acquisition - Procedures.

2. Policy scope and application

2.1 This policy applies to all University staff and other persons involved in the conduct of University business on University owned or leased premises.

2.2 Facilities Management manages space for the University. This policy applies to all new builds, refurbishments and relocations, including new space requests.

3. Definitions

Refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for definitions as they specifically relate to policy documents.

Private office space refers to an enclosed, secure space with capacity for no more than two people or workstations.

Shared spaces refer to an office of two or more workstations or an open plan space, which accommodates multiple occupants.

4. Principles

4.1 Allocation of space is managed through Facilities Management and recorded in the Space and Asset Management (SAM) System. The objectives of this policy aim to ensure that:

(a) built space allocated to organisational units is suitable to accommodate the academic and support functions of the University;

(b) space is allocated in a manner that:

(i) is sustainable and cost effective;

(ii) achieves operational efficiencies through improved space utilisation;

(iii) supports the University to meet its broader research, teaching and learning objectives;

(iv) supports collaboration and flexible operating models;

(v) supports the student and staff experience and promotes engagement; and

(vi) supports the University to meet its recruitment and engagement imperatives.

4.2 The policy is intended to support the University’s Strategic Plan and campus development objectives to:

(a) develop and reinvigorate campuses to give the University a distinctive presence;

(b) enhance the University’s image through refurbishment or repurposing of existing, and creation of new facilities that support learning and research and enhance the student experience and level of engagement;

(c) develop a ‘diversity capable campus’ that facilitates equitable access and full inclusion;

(d) increase operational efficiency through facilities:

(i) merging of like functions into precincts;

(ii) rationalisation of the property portfolio; and

(iii) reduction of maintenance backlog, service and reconfiguration costs, and reactive moves;

(e) ensure that the space is fit for purpose and improve functionality, condition and utilisation of space;

(f) ensure development is environmentally and economically sustainable;

(g) enable opportunities for future student and staff engagement; and

(h) enable opportunities for commercialisation.

4.3 With the benefit of accurate and comprehensive information concerning physical facilities, sustainable planning and management decisions regarding current operations and future directions of the University can be made.

4.4 The UniSC Design Guidelines determine requirements for the learning and teaching spaces, which should be flexible to encompass a range of uses, have the necessary technology to support these uses, be comfortably furnished and well lit, designed to minimise the University’s environmental footprint and will enable inclusion.

4.5 Space management and administration

4.5.1 Facilities Management is responsible for the overall, strategic assignment of space within the University and must consult with the University Executive and organisational units as necessary.

4.5.2 Cost Centre Managers (CCM) and Deans shall operationally manage the assigned space under their control in accordance with the Space Management - Procedures and report to Facilities Management any areas of regular underutilisation.

4.5.3 For significant planned relocations or changes to the assignment of space, the relevant Executive member (in consultation with Facilities Management) is to provide a broad overview of proposed changes for in principle support by the Executive prior to changes taking place. Once supported, the requestor must submit a request as per the Space Management – Procedures.

4.5.4 When an organisational unit is to be dissolved, merged with another organisational unit, or split to create two or more new organisational units, Facilities Management must be consulted at the earliest opportunity and will advise on the impact of these changes on space. Facilities Management must develop space proposals to accommodate these changes which are implemented to meet the requirements of the organisational units as quickly as possible, while ensuring the aims of this policy are adhered to.

4.5.5 New and refurbished space must be designed to enable flexibility and sharing of space where appropriate and must consider present and emerging modes of work.

4.5.6 All new property acquisitions must be conducted in accordance with the Property Acquisition – Procedures.

4.5.7 All space must be recorded and classified in the University’s Space and Asset Management (SAM) System.

4.6 Workspace – academic and professional staff

4.6.1 CCMs in consultation with Facilities Management allocate staff space in shared work areas or private office spaces depending on the availability of space and the requirements of the activities that they undertake.

4.6.2 Current Tertiary Education Facilities Management Association (TEFMA) guidelines are used as an indication of space provisions, but variations to allocations are to be expected, depending on factors such as space design and availability.

4.6.3 Private office spaces are only provided to staff where their job function requires such space to perform their primary role and where such space is available. These individuals do not necessarily hold the most senior appointments in a team.

4.6.4 An appropriate number of small, enclosed meeting rooms must be provided, where possible, for staff who share work areas.

4.7 Workspace – specialty and research

4.7.1 Research or special purpose spaces for staff use are provided at the discretion of the CCM or nominee in consultation with Facilities Management within the group’s agreed allocation.

4.7.2 The allocation and requests for space within laboratories are managed by the Director, Academic Support Unit in consultation with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) and relevant CCM.

4.7.3 When a specialty space is required to be upgraded, refurbished or altered because of a change in occupancy, function or direction, a request is made as per the Space Management – Procedures.

4.7.4 The allocation of space within research laboratories can be dedicated or shared based on specific project or organisational requirements. Research spaces are not permanently allocated and are assigned for a predetermined period based on expected project timeframes, specified outcomes or research funding commitments.

4.8 Workspace – students

4.8.1 The University provides spaces that support learning and teaching on a continuum from fixed to flexible collaborative learning spaces and social learning spaces.

4.8.2 Provision of space for Higher Degree Research (HDR) students is guided by the TEFMA guidelines and the associated Space Management - Procedures.

4.8.3 Workspaces are assigned to HDR students through the Academic Support Unit (ASU) in consultation with the Graduate Research School and Academic Supervisors to ensure the specific activities of the student are suitably supported in accordance with the Space Management - Procedures.

4.9 Learning, teaching and meeting spaces

4.9.1 The University is committed to providing a range of learning and teaching spaces to suit a wide scope of learning and teaching pedagogical approaches as appropriate for each location.

4.9.2 These spaces are centrally scheduled by the Timetabling team within Student Services and Engagement in accordance with the Academic Timetable – Academic Policy and Academic Timetable – Procedures.

4.9.3 Facilities Management must audit utilisation of teaching spaces and consider enrolment projections to inform timetabling and space planning for growth.

4.9.4 All business cases for additional programs at the University must consider teaching space requirements, and early consultation with Facilities Management should be undertaken at the time business cases are formulated.

4.10 Common space

4.10.1 Meeting rooms are designated common space and are not allocated to organisational units. Meeting rooms are managed via Outlook to ensure equity of access, high utilisation and assessment and transparency of usage levels.

4.10.2 Student common spaces are overseen and managed by Facilities Management.

4.10.3 All toilets, showers, first aid rooms, communications rooms and cleaners’ rooms are designated common space and allocated to meet building needs. They are managed by the Facilities Management and Information Technology as appropriate.

4.11 Leasing

4.11.1 The University has the right to lease space to and from external organisations, depending on the strategic and operational needs of the University, the availability of space and any benefits to the University that will accrue from providing or occupying the space.

4.11.2 The University can also enter into agreements with third parties for space, with the terms and management of such joint facilities being outlined in a separate agreement.

4.11.3 All enquiries regarding leasing, whether lessee or lessor, are in the first instance to be directed to the Director, Facilities Management who is responsible for the coordination, negotiation and allocation of space.

4.11.4 Refer to the External Lease – Procedures for guidance on leasing space at UniSC to external entities.

4.11.5 Refer to the Property Acquisition – Procedures for guidance on how to request property acquisition on behalf of UniSC, including leases, licenses, and outright purchases.

4.12 Dispute resolution

4.12.1 Where a disagreement over space allocation or use cannot be resolved through the Director, Facilities Management, the matter are referred to the Vice-Chancellor and President.

5. Roles and responsibilities

Campus Development and Space Governance Committee

The CDSGC has final approval authority for all space allocation and capital works projects. Ex-Officio membership includes: VCP, COO, DVC (R&I), DVC (A)

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Overseeing the implementation and enforcement of this policy. Ex-officio member of the CDSGC.

Director Facilities Management

Overseeing the implementation and enforcement of this policy. The Director FM is the chair of the FM/IT and SAG business case reviewing committees.