Manual of Policies and Procedures

H/1.2 Space management

Contact Officer

Executive Director, Facilities Management

Approval Date


Approval Authority

Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar

Date of Next Review


1.2.1 Strategic space planning
1.2.2 Physical resources
1.2.3 Space Management System
1.2.4 Work space planning policy
1.2.5 Utilisation benchmarks
1.2.6 Allocation and utilisation of space
1.2.7 Negotiation / reassignment of space
1.2.8 Reallocation of under-utilised space
Related Documents
Modification History

1.2.1 Strategic space planning

The development of strategic space planning recommendations is driven by a number of factors including the University's institutional plan (the QUT Blueprint), student and staff load projections, the physical master plan, research initiatives, and community / commercial opportunities. Rationality in terms of the indicative resource requirements is generated by student and staff numbers, facility utilisation patterns, and links with the student load projections and the physical master plan.

Indicative resource requirements are based on the number of full-time equivalent staff (FTE) and students (EFTSL) in each organisational unit. The Space Planning Module (SPM) within the Integrated Planning Model generates the 'Indicative Space Requirements' based on the application of industry benchmark space standards for each EFTSL and FTE. These indicative space requirements provide a guideline for the resource envelope required for program delivery within each organisational unit. The Finance Business Solutions Division produces the student and staff load data for each organisational unit to be used in the SPM.

The University utilises the SPM in conjunction with the QUT Blueprint and other planning documents to develop a University-wide strategic physical resource planning strategy.


1.2.2 Physical Resources

Physical resources include, but are not limited to, the following.

(a) General teaching space

General teaching space is defined as those rooms or groups of rooms which are used for lectures, seminars and/or tutorials as part of the normal teaching program of the University and which are available to all elements of the University through the central room booking system (Syllabus Plus) managed by the Timetabling Section, Facilities Management (E/5.1). All general teaching space is allocated to the Timetabling Section within Facilities Management.

While faculties are responsible for the preparation of the academic timetable, Timetabling allocates the teaching space to meet the requirements of the timetable. Room allocation for examinations administered centrally by the Student Business Services Department (E/6.1) takes precedence over other uses. Facilities Management will advise on any scheduling conflicts which arise from the timetabling process.

Facilities Management has management responsibility for general teaching space and may analyse usage and occupancy rates, adjust the mix of room sizes, and incorporate technology upgrades on the advice of Information Technology Services. Facilities Management monitors general teaching space and ensures that furniture, services and overall facilities are kept in reasonable order.

(b) Computing facilities

Computing facilities can be categorised as open, bookable, or dedicated use. Open use computing facilities include those available for general use without requiring a booking, such as 24 hour computing laboratories. Bookable computing facilities are those spaces which provide general computing services available for booking through the central room booking system (Syllabus Plus) (E/5.1). Equipment in these spaces is configured to a common standard and should be used to provide general computer-based teaching. Information Technology Services has management responsibility for these spaces and may analyse usage and occupancy rates, and provide strategic advice on overall usage.

Some courses require specific hardware and software as a condition of the course. Facilities for these courses are categorised as dedicated computing facilities where appropriate. Individual schools and faculties have management responsibility for their dedicated computing facilities.

(c) Specialist teaching space

Teaching requirements in some disciplines will require the use of 'specialist teaching' spaces or laboratories as distinct from 'general teaching' areas. The Timetabling Unit within Facilities Management has responsibility for timetabling all specialist teaching spaces using the central room booking system (Syllabus Plus) (E/5.1).

Individual faculties have management responsibility for specialist teaching spaces but Facilities Management may analyse usage and occupancy rates in order to provide advice to faculties on efficient usage. Faculties monitor equipment and furniture use in specialist teaching spaces and are expected to keep the facilities in reasonable order, while adhering to health and safety requirements.

(d) Research laboratory space

Resources for staff and student research activities are allocated at the faculty level and managed by the relevant executive dean of faculty. The executive dean of faculty is responsible for the assignment of research laboratory space, within the faculty's envelope of allocated space, to meet the priority needs of the faculty's research portfolio.

The assignment of research laboratory space will be on a time-limited basis. That is, research activities will be assigned the use of the space for a fixed period (normally the expected life of the project or research grant) with automatic expiry of the tenancy at the end of the period unless the project receives continuing funding. Any extension of this period will only be for a further fixed period after taking strategic advice from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research), the Chief Financial Officer and the Executive Director, Facilities Management.

Faculties are responsible for the funding of any research laboratory space upgrade, refurbishment, or alteration as a result of a change in occupancy, function or direction. Funds for such building works are only available through faculty funding sources, which might include faculty or research centre income, or through the University's Capital Management Plan (CMP).

Faculties should consult the Executive Director, Facilities Management regarding requirements for research space services and fit-out.

(e) Non-laboratory postgraduate research space

Non-laboratory work space for higher degree research (HDR) students is allocated to the executive dean of faculty or institute director for management within their organisational area. Faculties and institutes are responsible for the provision of non-laboratory postgraduate work space, equipment and associated resources, including the provision of any furniture additional to the original allocation, to a standard consistent with the University's guidelines for Infrastructure Provision for Higher Degree Research candidates administered by Graduate Research and Development.

Consistent with these guidelines, students will be provided with access to suitable workspaces, including both shared and dedicated workstations, in order that:

  • the changing needs of individual students are met; and
  • an average utilisation rate of 60% is achieved for all HDR workstations.

To assess individual student needs and to ensure optimal utilisation of HDR work spaces, faculties and institutes are responsible for undertaking the following space management practices:

  • HDR work spaces are managed at the faculty/institute level rather than at the school or discipline level.
  • The allocation of work spaces to HDR students is reviewed by faculties and institutes through a simple space assessment based on physical audits of each work space and consultation with students and supervisors in relation to their changing requirements. It is anticipated that regular monitoring of HDR work spaces and the changing requirements of particular students may result in changes to space allocation. Such changes will also require appropriate consultation with relevant stakeholders (administration officers, supervisors, students, etc.)
  • Space requirements of higher degree research students must be identified in each faculty or institute's annual planning process and in any external grant proposals so as to inform space planning.
  • Any requests for additional HDR work spaces are to be submitted by the faculty/institute to the University's Space Planning Group for consideration. Such submissions must include a copy of the faculty or institute's HDR work space assessments as supporting evidence.
Where a faculty or institute chooses to provide workstations for coursework postgraduate or honours students this must be accommodated within the existing allocation of postgraduate space. HDR students who are placed in or share staff workspace accommodation must be prepared to relocate if the workspaces are required for new academic or professional staff.

(f) Workspace for academic and professional staff

Workspace for academic and professional staff will normally be allocated at the faculty, division or institute level. Any reallocation within the faculty, division or institute (eg between schools or departments) will be the responsibility of the executive dean of faculty / head of division / institute director. Faculties, divisions and institutes are responsible for the furniture and equipment needs of their workspace.

Staff with responsibilities across campuses must nominate a home campus where their base workspace will be located. Workspaces at other campuses may be provided in 'hot-desk' or 'time sharing' arrangements within the organisational area's existing space.

Casual or sessional staff, or staff on fractional or adjunct appointments, are not automatically entitled to a dedicated workspace but may be accommodated in 'hot-desk', 'time sharing' or other arrangements within the organisational area's envelope of space.

Staff on research, study or extended leave may be required to release their workspace for use by others while they are absent from the University. The relevant faculty, division or institute must make arrangements for the storage (on-site or off-site) of any personal effects, if required.

The space impact of all new initiatives should be considered at the time of the initiative's proposal submission. Workspace in a preferred location on campus cannot be guaranteed.

(g) Workspace provisions for visiting fellows / external consultants

Invitations to visiting fellows (B/2.1.8) or external consultants must be identified in each organisational area's annual planning process so as to identify on-going space needs for accommodation. Faculties / divisions / institutes should accommodate visiting fellows and/or consultants within their existing envelope of space.

(h) Meeting space

Meeting space is classified as space used by faculties / divisions / institutes for non-teaching activities.

Small meeting rooms may be equipped with tables and chairs for less than 12 people and are generally less than 25m2. A small meeting room differs from a large meeting room in its dedicated use by a particular organisational unit. Individual faculties, divisions or institutes have management responsibility for small meeting spaces and are expected to monitor furniture and equipment use and keep the facilities in reasonable order, while adhering to health and safety requirements.

Large meeting rooms are classified as space used by the University or external users for non-teaching activities. Large meeting rooms may be equipped with tables and chairs for more than 12 people and are generally more than 25m2. A large meeting room may also contain audiovisual or teleconferencing equipment, white board, or projection screens. Although they may be assigned to a specific organisational unit, large meeting rooms are to be made available for use by the broader University community.

(i) Library space

Common use library space on each campus is allocated to and managed by the QUT Library. Common use spaces within the library may include reading rooms, book stacks, quiet study areas etc. Common use computing space within the library is allocated to and managed by Information Technology Services.


1.2.3 Space Management System

The Space Management System (SMS) is an asset management database maintained by the Operations Section (Standards and Records) within Facilities Management. The SMS provides on-line access to floor plans of all campus buildings. A geographical information database is maintained on a separate system. The SMS is the definitive database for space inventory within the University. The data maintained in the system serves to inform the short-term and long-term space allocation decision making processes as well as requests for additional space.

Heads of organisational units are responsible for informing the Operations Section (Standards and Records) of any changes to space allocation made by them, such as room changes for staff, research or other purposes.

The SMS is used to inform strategic planning and strategic space allocation, guide the appropriateness of the Capital Management Plan (H/1.1.3), and meet statutory reporting and accountability requirements. The accuracy and timeliness of the SMS is crucial to the University planning process.


1.2.4 Work space planning policy

The University recognises the importance of providing appropriate work spaces based on a balanced consideration of end user needs with sustainable environmental and financial management practices.

On this basis University staff will generally be accommodated within a flexible and open work space comprised of a variety of individual and group work zones. Flexible, open work spaces with a variety of function based work zones enable the University to:

  • Foster greater collaboration and exchange of knowledge between staff, students and other University stakeholders
  • Provide a greater level of amenity and choice to all staff in the workplace
  • Support a diverse range of end user functional requirements
  • Provide more flexible and efficient space that can readily respond to organisational change
  • Contribute to sustainability by reducing organisational costs and excess material wastage

Implementation of the work space planning policy

The Work Space Planning Policy applies to all new work space projects including all major refurbishments of existing University space. In planning new work space layouts the Facilities Management Department in conjunction with consultants and end users will advise on the design. The proposed work space design must comply with the requirements outlined in this policy and with Section 3.14 of the Design Standards and Guidelines (Design Principles and Space Standards). Any plans that do not comply with this policy and the Design Standards and Guidelines must be approved by the Executive Director, Facilities Management (FM).

Design principles

The design principles provided in Section 3.14 of the Design Standards and Guidelines (Design Principles and Space Standards) are to be used by consultants and University end users to design sustainable work spaces that encourage collaboration and organisational transparency and that support end user functional requirements. Key end user functional requirements include (but are not limited to):

  • Effective consultation with students and other QUT stakeholders
  • Quiet/focused individual tasks
  • Storage for a range of resources and artefacts
  • Adequate and appropriate levels of security and access

Work space planning

The following standards are to be used to determine the schedule of areas for all work space projects being undertaken at QUT:

a)  Work space size

Where a work space area accommodates 10 or more FTE, a gross space allocation of up to 14m2 usable floor area (UFA) per FTE will be provided. Where the group size is less than 10 FTE, a reduction to 10m2 UFA per FTE (gross) or less may be proposed dependant on the availability of other support facilities and approval from the Director FM.

Note that UFA includes “enclosed built fitout” (partitions extending to the ceiling for rooms such as offices, meeting rooms, tea or lunch rooms, secure storage rooms, etc) and “open plan areas” (such as workstations, breakout and informal meeting spaces, waiting areas, secondary circulation, shared storage, printing/resource areas etc). UFA excludes toilets, stairs, lifts, plant rooms, data centres and primary circulation.

The extent of “enclosed built fitout” (partitions extending to the ceiling) will be assessed on a project by project basis but should generally be limited to a maximum of 20 percent of the total project area. Limiting the extent of “enclosed built fitout” serves to optimise an open and flexible work space. Any variation to this limit will be subject to endorsement by the Director FM.

b)  Enclosed offices

Enclosed offices will only be provided where there is a demonstrable functional requirement. An example of a functional requirement is where the majority of an officer’s time is spent in completely confidential work (such as staff counselling) and access to a shared meeting room is not appropriate.

Where there is a demonstrable functional need supported by a recommendation from the Executive Dean of Faculty/Head of Division, a standard enclosed office of 11m2 may be provided subject to endorsement by the Director FM in consultation with the Vice-Chancellor and President.

c) Storage

QUT recognises the importance of providing adequate storage for both academic and professional staff. Where possible, staff should maximise the use of digital storage options provided by QUT. As a supplement to digital storage, new workspace projects will address the provision of adequate physical storage through a range of personal and shared design solutions. These design solutions include:

  • Personal storage located at individual workstations and in enclosed offices
  • Shared, team storage/libraries located in areas adjacent to team clusters
  • Shared facility and resource hubs located throughout the total work space
  • Shared secure storage located where appropriate


1.2.5 Utilisation benchmarks

The Tertiary Education Facilities Management Association has set targets for the utilisation of various spaces. These benchmarks are used by QUT to determine efficient usage and provide targets for the efficient management of space.

Facilities Management analyses utilisation performance against the benchmarks through regular audits and provides advice to the Vice-Chancellor and President on under-utilised spaces. This information, combined with the indicative forecasting model and the physical master plan, guide the strategic allocation and/or reallocation of University space.


1.2.6 Allocation and utilisation of space

The Chief Financial Officer is responsible for strategic space allocation across all campuses and liaises closely with the Executive Director, Facilities Management in this regard.

When an area is constructed, whether it be a new or refurbished area, allocation of that space is made to an organisational unit (faculty, division or institute) in accordance with the University's Capital Management Plan (CMP) (H/1.1.3). However, any general teaching space or CMP-funded large meeting room (12 seats or more) within that area is to be allocated to the Timetabling Section. Faculty /division / institute funded large meeting rooms (12 seats or more) are to be made available for use by the wider University community (H/1.2.3).

The head of the organisational unit is responsible for the efficient utilisation of space allocated to that unit. Space not allocated to a broad organisational unit, eg general teaching space, is allocated to Timetabling who are responsible for the efficient utilisation of such spaces through timetabling and room allocation.


1.2.7 Negotiation / reassignment of space

Executive deans of faculty / heads of division / institute directors may reassign physical resources within their own faculty, division or institute and are encouraged to negotiate resource reallocation between faculties, divisions and institutes. However, any reassignment between faculties, divisions or institutes must be approved by the Executive Director, Facilities Management before it occurs.

Any changes in the allocation or use of space must be approved by the Executive Director, Facilities Management to ensure consistency with strategic direction.

When an organisational unit is provided with new or refurbished space in a new location, the space which is vacated will be reallocated by the Executive Director, Facilities Management. Any case for retention of the space by the vacating organisational unit will be considered in conjunction with other space demands.

When an organisational unit is provided with additional space for a specific time period, or for a specific purpose such as a project, at the conclusion of the agreed time period the space will be made available for reallocation by Facilities Management.

In cases where a major reassignment of space occurs on one campus or between multiple campuses, negotiations should include the Executive Director, Facilities Management to ensure a University-wide perspective is taken into consideration.


1.2.8 Reallocation of under-utilised space

All allocations of space are subject to ongoing review and possible reallocation. Where supported by utilisation data, forecasting models, and/or strategic plans, under-utilised space may be reallocated by the Executive Director, Facilities Management to better address the strategic direction of the University.


Related documents

QUT Design Standards and Guidelines


Modification History

Date Sections Source Details
26.11.19 All Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar Approval Authority changed as a result of reporting line change - Vice-President (Resources) and Chief Financial Officer to Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar
06.07.14 H/1.1.2 Executive Director, Finance and Resource Planning Policy revised to reflect the Project Proposal Framework replacing the Business Case Framework
09.10.13 H/1.2.2(e) Executive Director, Finance and Resource Planning Revised policy to reflect Space Utilisation Audit - HDR Student Workspaces and Research Laboratories
14.01.13 All Director, Facilities Management Minor editorial amendments to reflect organisational restructure
25.10.12 All Registrar Approval authority changed to Executive Director, Finance and Resource Planning
27.10.11 H/1.2.4 Vice-Chancellor Revised Policy in order to include new section on work space planning
15.08.11 All Registrar Revised Policy - Chapter restructured
24.11.10 All Planning and Resources Committee Approval authority changed to Registrar
14.11.05 All Planning and Resources Committee Policy updated
20.12.01 All Director, Facilities Management Updated