The consultancy has unrivalled experience of space planning in colleges and universities. Case studies describing the contribution made by the space modelling system to the successful planning and implementation of property strategies are presented under the headings further education and higher education.

Stellae Further Education
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THE BENEFITS OF A UNIQUE SPACE MODELLING SYSTEM: A CASE STUDY

The unique modelling system has been developed with government and funding council support. It has been designed specifically to meet the needs of colleges and universities and has a proven record of success in assisting the planning of accommodation strategies, the rationalisation of estates and the preparing of capital bids.

George Edwards MBE, who has served as a senior property advisor for further and higher education funding councils, testifies to the financial savings generated by the Stellae software programme:

'The system ... has saved millions of pounds through the incorporation of results in estate strategies. This is not a theory, that is what has happened ... I have no doubt in recommending David Rogers and Stellae and his analytical techniques to potential clients.’

Introduction
This assessment of the benefits associated with the use of the space modelling system is based on a study of two buildings each representing a significant addition to the teaching facilities of comparable institutions.

  1. Building A includes 44 teaching rooms and was planned on the basis of a space modelling exercise.
  2. Building B contains 39 teaching rooms and was designed using a traditional approach to the assessment of accommodation requirements.

Analysis reveals a considerable difference in the fitness for purpose of the two buildings and this is apparent in space efficiency levels and associated workplace costs.

Relative space efficiency
In Building A the timetabling of classes on the basis of the modelled accomodation results in an average space utilisation level of 56% The plotting of used and available workplace hours in relation to room capacities reveals impressive space efficiency levels across the complete profile of classrooms.

FIGURE 1: SPACE UTILISATION BY ROOM CAPACITY

Stellae Space Utilisation by Room Capacity

The space efficiency of selected rooms has been deliberately limited to ensure facilities are available to support open access.

In Building B the design process involved extended discussions between architects and managers using established planning procedures.

The results of a space survey completed during a period of peak demand for teaching space three months after the opening of the building revealed a space utilisation level of 16%.

FIGURE 2: SPACE UTILISATION BY ROOM CAPACITY

Stellae Space Utilisation by Room Capacity

The key task in the modelling process is to establish an effective match between the number, size and type of rooms and class groups. Space planning must take account of all aspects of course design that have implications for accommodation profiles.

In response to the poor space utilisation levels in Building B the consultancy modelled the relocation of courses from other college sites that best fitted the available room profile.

Sources of space efficiency
The means by which improved fit-for-purpose is achieved using the space modelling process can be identified on the basis of reviewing established efficiency criteria.

  1. Room frequency levels

    In Building A frequency of room use averages 75%. Most rooms are timetabled to be in use throughout the week. The pronounced midday reduction in room use reflects timetable constraints associated with modular study programmes. If necessary the relevant rules could be revised. There is a relatively small reduction in room use at the end of the week.

    In Building B room use is relatively low averaging 55%. There is a significant variation in the use of rooms across the teaching week.

    The relative room frequency levels of the two buildings are detailed in the following graph.

    FIGURE 3: RELATIVE ROOM FREQUENCY LEVELS

    Stellae Comparison of Room Frequency
  2. Workplace Occupancy levels

    In Building A an acceptable match has been achieved between available and required space resources by establishing an appropriate room profile. The average group size is 32 and the average room has a capacity of 41 workplaces.

    The balance between the supply and demand for teaching space in relation to room capacities is illustrated.

    FIGURE 4: BALANCE BETWEEN SUPPLY AND DEMAND FOR TEACHING SPACE IN RELATION TO ROOM CAPACITY

    Stellae Space Utilisation by Room Capacity
    A future increase in average group sizes has been allowed for by the provision of additional rooms with capacities of 20 — 60 workplaces.

    Accommodating a possible change in the demand for space has not been achieved at the expense of current efficiency levels. On average 78% of available workplaces are currently occupied when rooms are in use.

    In Building B there is a serious mismatch between room capacities and group sizes. The average group size is 13 and the average room contains 44 workplaces.

    The graph shows a far greater proportion of space resources in the form of large rooms than is justified by group sizes.

    FIGURE 5: BALANCE BETWEEN SUPPLY AND DEMAND FOR TEACHING SPACE IN RELATION TO ROOM CAPACITY

    Stellae Comparison of Available and Used Seat Hours
    On average only 29% of available workplaces are occupied when rooms are in use.

    The modelling system can optimise the matching of group sizes and room capacities. Teaching space in the two buildings is based on standardised room sizes to assist the comparison accommodation profiles.

Conclusion
Modelling can take into account constraints such as distinctive patterns of course attendance, the departmental clustering of teaching and resource space, and the choice structures of modular programmes. Any accommodation or curriculum scenario can be modelled and the acceptability of proposed developments assessed by staff on the basis of detailed statistical reports and workable timetables.

Space modelling, to be effective requires a detailed knowledge of student requirements and the educational considerations shaping the design of effective course programmes. The consultancy and its modelling systems are based on extensive experience of teaching, curriculum development and resource management in further and higher education. Support of proven effectiveness is available to enhance the role of colleges and universities as centres of learning responsive to the needs of students and the wider community.


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:

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Scottish Funding Council
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Scottish Funding Council