Manual of Policies and Procedures

H/1.4 Space management

Policy Owner

Director, Facilities Management

Approval Date


Approval Authority

Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar

Date of Next Review


1.4.1 Purpose
1.4.2 Application
1.4.3 Roles and responsibilities
1.4.4 Strategic space planning
1.4.5 Management of physical resources
1.4.6 Space Management System
1.4.7 Workspace planning
1.4.8 Utilisation benchmarks
1.4.9 Allocation and utilisation of space
1.4.10 Negotiation / reassignment of space
1.4.11 Under-utilised space
Related Documents
Modification History

1.4.1 Purpose

This policy outlines the management and utilisation of all space resources within QUT owned or controlled buildings, whether on a campus or distributed site.


1.4.2 Application

This policy applies to all of the University’s space resources.


1.4.3 Roles and responsibilities

Position Responsibility

Director, Facilities Management

  • develops strategic space plans
  • maintains a timely, accurate and authoritative database of the University’s property and space inventory with associated floor plans
  • develops periodic space management reports including details on space allocation and use
  • undertakes space allocation and utilisation audits, as required

Heads of division and executive deans of faculty

  • oversees day-to-day space management and allocation issues within allocated spaces
  • audits and reports to Facilities Management any changes of space types located within their allocated space, including an annual audit


1.4.4 Strategic space planning

Facilities Management is responsible for the development of strategic space planning recommendations that enable the University's institutional plan (the QUT Blueprint), supporting activities driven by changes to the student and staff load projections, the estate master plan, research initiatives, and community/commercial opportunities. Faculties and divisions are consulted and contribute to the development of the strategic space plans, as well as actively implement the outcome.


1.4.5 Management of physical resources

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

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). The policy, Class timetabling provides further information (E/5.1).

The Timetabling section, Student Administration, has management responsibility for general teaching space. Facilities Management monitors general teaching space and ensures that furniture, services and overall facilities are kept in reasonable order, and may analyse usage and occupancy rates, adjust the mix of room sizes, and incorporate technology upgrades on the advice of Digital Business Solutions.

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. Learning Environments and Technology Services (LETS) has management responsibility for these spaces and may analyse usage and occupancy rates, and provide strategic advice on overall usage.
  • Dedicated use facilities are those that require specific hardware and software as a condition of the courses taught in those spaces. Faculties to which these facilities are allocated have management, maintenance and upgrade responsibility for their allocated spaces and are expected to keep the facilities in reasonable order and to adhere to the University’s health, safety and environment requirements. Facilities Management may analysis usage and occupancy rates in order to provide advice to faculties on efficient usage.

Specialist teaching space

Teaching requirements in some disciplines will require the use of 'specialist teaching' spaces or laboratories as distinct from 'general teaching' areas. Faculties Management are responsible for the preparation of the academic timetable and Timetabling is responsible for timetabling all specialist teaching spaces using the central room booking system (Syllabus Plus) (E/5.1).

Faculties that are allocated specialist teaching spaces are expected to manage, maintain and upgrade  the facilities, adhering to health, safety and environment requirements. Facilities Management may analyse usage and occupancy rates in order to provide advice to faculties on efficient usage.

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 Vice-President (Finance) and Chief Financial Officer and the 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 Director, Facilities Management regarding requirements for research space services and fit-out.

Non-laboratory postgraduate research space

Non-laboratory work space for higher degree research (HDR) students is allocated to the executive dean of faculty for management within their organisational area. Faculties 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 Education 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 workspaces, faculties are responsible for undertaking the following space management practices:

  • HDR work spaces are managed at the faculty level rather than at the school or discipline level
  • the allocation of workspaces to HDR students is reviewed by faculties 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 workspaces 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’s annual planning process and in any external grant proposals so as to inform space planning
  • any requests for additional HDR workspaces are to be submitted by the faculty to the Campus Development Committee for consideration. Such submissions must include a copy of the faculty’s HDR workspace assessments as supporting evidence.

Where a faculty 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.

Workspace for academic and professional staff

Workspace for academic and professional staff will normally be allocated at the faculty or division level. Any reallocation within the faculty or division (eg between schools or departments) will be the responsibility of the executive dean of faculty or head of division. Faculties and divisions 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 or division 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.

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 and divisions should accommodate visiting fellows and/or consultants within their existing envelope of space.

Meeting space

Meeting space is classified as space used by faculties and divisions or 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 and divisions 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, safety and environment 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 audio-visual 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.

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 Digital Business Solutions.


1.4.6 Space Management System

The Space Management System (SMS) is an asset management database maintained by 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 Facilities Management 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.


1.4.7 Workspace planning

The University recognises the importance of providing appropriate workspaces 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 workspace comprised of a variety of individual and group work zones. Flexible, open workspaces 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  workspace planning

Design advice for all new work space projects including all major refurbishments of existing University space is completed by Facilities Management, in conjunction with consultants and end users. Proposed work space design must comply with the requirements outlined in the Design Standards and Guidelines (Section 3.14 - Design Principles and Space Standards). Any plans that do not comply with the Design Standards and Guidelines must be approved by the Director, Facilities Management.

Design principles

Consultants and University end users are required to support the workspaces. The workspace design principles are:

  • openness and transparency – encourage collaboration and organisational transparency
  • function and variety – end-users’ functional requirements that support collaboration and knowledge sharing
  • flexibility and efficiency - consider future design stages to ensure space can be modified
  • sustainability – based on procurement, environment and shared conveniences.

Space allocation

Workspace standards are to be used to determine the schedule of areas for all workspace projects being undertaken at QUT:

  • Work space size – detailed allocation of space per staff member is provided in the Design Standards and Guidelines to provide an open and flexible workspace.
  • 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. Further details are provided in the Design Standards and Guidelines.


1.4.8 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 estate master plan, guide the strategic allocation and/or reallocation of university space.


1.4.9 Allocation and utilisation of space

The Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar is responsible for strategic space allocation across all campuses and liaises closely with the 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 or division) in accordance with the University's Capital Management Plan (CMP) (H/1.1.3). However, any general teaching space is allocated to the Timetabling Section, Student Administration. Faculty and division 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.


1.4.10 Negotiation / reassignment of space

Physical resources within a faculty or division may be reassigned by the executive deans of faculty or head of division, however, any reassignment between faculties or divisions must be approved by the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar on advice from the Campus Development Committee.

Any changes in the allocation or use of space must be approved by the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar 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 Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar on advice from the Campus Development Committee. 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 the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar with advice from the Campus Development Committee.


1.4.11 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 Vice-President (Administration) on advice from the Campus Development Committee to better address the strategic direction of the University.


Related documents

QUT Design Standards and Guidelines


Modification History

Date Sections Source Details
14.07.22 All Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar Revised to update position title from Executive Director, Facilities Management to Director, Facilities Management
06.12.21 All Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar Periodic review – policy revised to include changes resulting from QUT’s Repositioning QUT for a post-COVID world organisational restructure (effective 31.01.21) and Chapter H restructure (previously H/1.2 Space management)
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