Space Management

The Space Management Team manages the allocation of space across the University’s functional estate and the associated formal approval processes for space allocation and release. It is also responsible for the management and handover of space.

The space management team uses a number of modelling tools to evaluate the best scenarios for managing University space and works closely with divisions and departments to identify their future long- and short-term space needs.

The team provides guidance and works with divisions and departments on better and efficient use of space and employs a number of methods to assess and help improve space utilisation.

Find out more about what we do:

Space allocations and releases

The allocation and release of space in University buildings is authorised by Congregation (or its delegated committees) according to the Financial and Estates Standing Orders and as set out in the table below.

The role of the Space Management team is to assist in and administer the process, to report to the relevant committees and to provide information and guidance to divisions and departments across the University.

Space allocation approvals

< 150m2

Re-allocation of space within a division requires the approval of the Director of Estates. However, approval will only be withheld where the Director of Estates identifies a high-priority need outside the division which can be met by the space under consideration. In the event of conflicting needs, the matter would need to be referred to the Building and Estates Sub-committee (BESC). Divisions should therefore contact the Space Management team for advice before implementing any changes.

All requests for unallocated space will require approval by the Director of Estates.

< 300m2

Director of Estates approval required, under delegated authority from BESC, subject to termly reporting to BESC.

301-600m2

BESC approval required for all allocations, under delegated authority from

Planning and Resource Allocation Committee (PRAC). Subject to a termly report to PRAC.

> 600m2 

BESC, PRAC and Congregation approval and Council resolution required for all allocations.  Divisions should be aware of the extended timescales these approvals may require. 

Space is a scarce and extremely costly resource, for which there is often competing demand. Departments should work closely with Divisions to plan future space needs and ensure that appropriate capital and revenue cost allowances have been identified.

For further information and guidance on requesting additional space or releasing space that is surplus to departmental needs, please contact the team.

Please see the Standing Orders for further information regarding appropriate regulations on space.

Requesting additional space

Departments should note that our initial approach is to advise them on how to make the most of the space they already occupy. This may involve some reorganisation of departmental activities or reconfiguration of space.

To request additional space a division or department should contact the Space Management Team space.management@admin.ox.ac.uk. The division or department will need to complete a space bid form outlining its requirements. The process for assessing a request for space is then as follows:

  1. Space request submitted by department to Space Management and meeting held to confirm requirements.

  2. Space Management conduct a review of space availability within the department and wider estate to identify any suitable space and compare any competing needs. Space Management liaise with divisions to ensure priority needs are taken into account.

  3. Possible solution/s discussed with the department and division concerned. If a solution is identified the department/division will then need to confirm they are happy with the proposed solution before any allocation can be put forward for approval.      

  4. Formal allocation recommended to the Director of Estates (if <300m2) or Buildings and Estate Sub-committee (BESC) (if >301). Please note that larger allocations may also need to go to other University committees for approval, so it is important to allow as much time as possible before the space requirement needs to be met). The Space Management team can provide further information on committee timings and allocations.

  5. The departments/divisions are notified of the outcome of the allocation following the required committee meeting(s). If applicable, handover of the space will then be arranged with a representative from the department.

Releasing space

A department that wishes to release space that it has been allocated back to the University or to another department should contact its division and also the Space Management team (in accordance with Estates Standing Orders). A space release form will then need to be completed and signed by both the department and division.

It remains the allocated department’s responsibility to pay all space, infrastructure and operational charges until the end of the financial year in which the request for release of space is approved and the department vacates the space. Approval to release space will only be given if the space is free from restrictions on use or access.

The release of space back to Estates (or onto another department) will be subject to a formal handover and the existing department is responsible for ensuring the space is handed back in a suitable condition and emptied of all departmental belongings.

Renting and letting space

When space needs cannot be provided from within the University’s estate, it may be necessary to lease a property owned by a third party (including Colleges). Departments looking to rent space outside the central University as a solution to their space needs should follow the same procedure for requesting additional space and must agree a request at divisional level. The request is reviewed initially by the Space Management team, who will determine whether there is any University space which may be suitable. If not, the request is then passed to our colleagues in Asset Management who will undertake a search for suitable property and consider the terms on which it will be let. The Asset Management team is currently drafting a guide to leasing space which will provide useful information for departments on what to expect.

If a department wishes to enter into an agreement with a third party that results in any non-University users (not an employee of the University or a separate company or body (including Charities)) occupying University space it will need to be done in accordance with the Rules for Letting Functional Space  (currently being revised).

All letting of functional space or leasing in space for a functional purpose requires formal University approval before legal documents can be completed.  The level of Committee approval required depends on the size of the space.

Leasing in space and letting functional space approvals

< 300m2

Director of Estates approval required, under delegated authority from BESC and PRAC, subject to termly reporting to BESC.

> 301m2

BESC and PRAC approval and CSG resolution required for all letting of Functional space or leasing in space for a functional purpose.

All letting of functional space or leasing in space for a functional purpose will need to be undertaken in parallel with a space allocation. Please note that space allocations over 600m2 will also require Congregation approval.

Renting and letting space on a commercial basis is managed by our colleagues in the Asset Management team – find out more in Commercial Estate or contact them at (assetmanagement@admin.ox.ac.uk).