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
25 June 2021
Review date
15 July 2024
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; and

(b) the University’s property, whether owned or leased, is effectively, efficiently and responsibly managed and to ensure space management decisions are made in support of USC’s Strategic Plan.

2. Policy scope and application

2.1 This policy (and associated procedures) 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. The policy will be implemented incrementally and will apply to all new builds, refurbishments and relocations, including new space requests.

3. Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to this policy and are critical to its effectiveness:

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 will be 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 efficient 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 experience and promotes student engagement

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

4.2 The policy is further 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/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;

(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 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 USC 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 will consult with the University Executive and organisational units as necessary.

4.5.2 Cost Centre Managers and Heads of School 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 and/or changes to the assignment of space, in consultation with Facilities Management, the relevant Executive member 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 is to be submit a request as per the Space Management – Procedures.

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

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

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

4.5.7 The space allocation model for staff, students, teaching spaces, research-related spaces, learning (student-centred) and external organisations are outlined in the procedure.

4.6 Workspace – Academic and Professional Staff

4.6.1 Cost centre managers in consultation with Facilities Management will 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 will only be provided to staff where their job function requires such space to perform their primary role and where such space is available. These individuals may not necessarily hold the most senior appointments in a team.

4.6.4 An appropriate number of small enclosed meeting rooms will 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 will be provided at the discretion of the Cost Centre Manager or nominee in consultation with Facilities Management within the group’s agreed allocation.

4.7.2 The allocation and request of space within laboratories will be managed by the General Manager, Academic Support Unit in consultation with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and relevant Cost Centre Manager.

4.7.3 If 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.

4.8 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 relevant HDR guidelines for space - refer to the associated 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 will audit utilisation of teaching spaces twice a year and consider enrolment projections to inform timetabling and space planning for growth.

4.9.4 All business cases for additional programs at the University should 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 with a capacity of 12 participants or above are designated common space and are not allocated to organisational units. Meeting rooms will be managed via Room bookings to ensure equity of access, high utilisation and assessment and transparency of usage levels.

4.10.2 Student commons space is 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 may 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.

4.12 Dispute Resolution

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