Report shows universities spent more on their estates last year

University spending on their estates continued to grow last year, increasing by 5.6%, according to a report from the Association of University Directors of Estates.

The report, called Higher Education Estates Statistics Report 2016 and spanning the 2014-15 academic year, showed that spent £2.75bn on capital projects.

The entire university estate equated to 14.3 million square metres, up by 200,000 square metres compared to the previous year.

Individually, the report found the universities of Manchester, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford and Nottingham all have academic estates, excluding residential accommodation, over 500,000 square metres.

Despite the growth and inflationary pressures such construction price inflation and staff costs, total property costs on university estates remained relatively level for the past seven years, moving from £95 to £98 per square metre, which the report said showed the sector’s “continued commitment to driving efficiency.”

Sir Ian Diamond, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, said: “A real feature of the evolution of the higher education estate in recent years has been how the local community is able to use the estate, or in which developments are a part of the community.

“Imaginatively developed facilities can support and enhance higher education’s contribution to the economy and to society. But in this landscape [after the Brexit vote], there is no room for complacency.”