Policy University Management Space Allocation and Management Policy

Space Allocation and Management Policy

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The funding and provision of appropriate physical research, learning and teaching facilities are central to considerations in the University’s decision-making processes around space management. The intent of the policy is to ensure effective and efficient management of the University’s Estate, whether owned or leased, in support of the JCU Strategic Intent, University Plan and Campus Master Plans. With the benefit of accurate and comprehensive information concerning physical facilities, sustainable planning and management decisions regarding current operations and future directions of the University can be made.


This policy document and associated procedures apply to all staff, students and commercial tenants of the University (excluding JCU Singapore).

Policy and Procedures

University owned land and buildings, including leased property, are resources to be managed and utilised to achieve optimal outcomes in support of institutional objectives. Allocation will be managed through an Integrated Workplace Management System (currently FM:Interact). These spaces are to be managed optimally to:

  • provide an appropriate physical environment and maintain it to high aesthetic, functional, safety and accessibility standards;
  • provide high quality teaching and learning and research facilities, with particular attention to the needs of students, enabling current and next generation pedagogy, and improve utilisation by better management;
  • provide facilities to internationally benchmarked standards;
  • be mindful of the contribution that physical facilities make towards the University’s carbon footprint and work towards applying standards that more effectively use space; and
  • ensure optimum and sustainable use, and therefore subject to regular review or audit.

The following principles of space provision apply:

  • Space is a University-owned resource requiring sound management regardless of funding source. All space will be deemed to be centrally controlled and subject to review.
  • The allocation of space to any organisational unit will not be regarded as permanent and all allocations will require periodic justification.
  • When space is to be vacated by any organisational unit the vacated space is not automatically retained. A request to retain any vacated space can be made with a submission that clearly demonstrates the future use of the space and identifies the links with the organisational unit’s plans.
  • Space allocation, where possible, will be measured against relevant indicators. Major criterion used in determining allocations will be the effectiveness and efficiency of space usage, and achievement of appropriate disciplinary or functional colocations.
  • Periodic reallocations of space will be necessary to meet changing University priorities and variations in user demand.
  • Requests for the allocation of space and/or the re-designation of type or function of existing space will be subject to the approval of the Head, Information Management, Space and Timetabling and Estate Advisory Committee where applicable.
  • The University must be equitable in its allocation of space across all campuses and organisational areas. In doing so, it must demonstrate consistency in its allocation of space by using space guidelines as the basis for any deliberations in determining the space to be allocated to achieve a work place/learning place solution.
  • In considering the allocation of space, every effort will be made to provide quality space for all students and staff which meet regulatory compliance requirements, workplace health and safety standards and the appropriate environmental standards.
  • Where office areas are being developed or refurbished, the target ratio for shared to private Usable Floor Area (UFA) will be 80:20.  The aim of this target is to maximise opportunities for collaboration and to retain the greatest flexibility for changing space use.  The shared portion encompasses all common areas required to support the work space including meeting spaces, common rooms and storage rooms.  The final design may deviate from this target to meet the functional requirements of the resident unit.
  • When developing new or refurbished office space, users will be engaged in the design process and, where staff will be transitioning to a different style of space (from private to shared space for example) change management matters will be specifically addressed.  Particular consideration will be given to:
    • Noise attenuation;
    • Developing a layout to support the function of the resident unit including appropriate amenity and breakout spaces;
    • Providing appropriate technology to ensure staff can operate effectively in the space;
    • Allocating budgets that will allow spaces to be constructed to a standard that supports the resident unit functions;
    • Assisting staff to develop and implement work protocols and management styles that are conducive to the productive and harmonious operation of the space

Space Allocation

The Estate Directorate has operational oversight of the allocation of space to specific uses and users in accordance with the provisions of this Policy. The space allocation model for staff, students, research laboratory space, teaching spaces, common space and external organisations are outlined below.


Staff will be allocated space in shared work areas or private spaces depending on the availability of space and the requirements of the activities that they undertake (as per table 1). Private spaces will only be provided to staff where their job function requires such space to perform their primary role. These individuals may not be the most senior.

An appropriate number of small enclosed meeting rooms will be provided, where necessary, for staff who share work areas.

Specific Conditions

  1. Some work space sharing may be necessary even where private spaces are desirable, for example to deal with fluctuations in academic staffing due to the turnover of fixed-term staff such as post-doctoral researchers.
  2. Part-time staff or fractional staff at 0.6 FTE or less do not have entitlement to private space but will be provided with access to shared workspace and secure storage facilities.
  3. Staff involved in cross-campus work will be allocated a permanent work area on their home campus and may have access to a shared area or hot desk on other campuses. These shared spaces may be allocated on a first come basis or may be bookable depending on the needs of the individual and the organisational unit. Staff occupying shared workspaces will be provided with access to secure storage facilities.
  4. Office sizes at JCU vary with the built design and the changing standards over the years. Standard single offices currently vary from 9 to about 26 square metres. New offices or refurbishments will allow 9 to 12 square metres for each standard single office but will be dependent on flexibility within the existing building structure. Offices at the smaller end should be allocated as private space. Where it is unworkable to convert larger single offices, they will be used as shared spaces.
  5. Adjunct staff, honorary or emeritus appointees and volunteers will not be entitled to private space but may be provided with access to shared space. Space may be assigned where it is available, and there is an ongoing teaching or appropriate research contribution. In a space shortage these staff will make way for employed staff and HDR students.
  6. Visitors will not be entitled to dedicated private space but may occupy the space of staff on leave. If no such space exists they will be provided with access to shared space.

Table 1. Staff Space Allocation Model by Category

Staff Category

Space Allocation

Area sqm/ person GFA

Notes (In all cases allocation is pro rata if not full-time)


Chancellor Office


Desk plus meeting space. Small meetings, up to 6 people, will be held in the office.


VC Office




Deputy Vice-Chancellor

Double Office


Staff in this category nominated by Vice-Chancellor. Desk plus meeting space. Most small meetings, up to 6 people, will be held in the office.

Director or equivalent

Large Office


Provides for desk plus meeting space. Most small meetings will be held in the office.

Academic Levels C, D and E or equivalent

Standard Office


Offices larger than 12 sq metres should, where possible, be used for sharing with multiple staff for those categories that can share, rather than for single staff. Where work is primarily laboratory based, offices will be allocated where there is a demonstrated need for two work spaces

Academic Level A & B (or equivalent).

Shared space


The allocation includes common areas required to support the shared space such as meeting rooms, storage and common rooms.

Professional Staff Levels 3 -10. Full time and part-time/casual on pro rata basis.

Shared space


Accommodation from 2 staff per office upwards. Most professional staff are in this category unless they specifically meet the criteria for private space.

The allocation includes common areas required to support the shared space such as meeting rooms, storage and common rooms.

Professional Staff Levels 7-10 with demonstrated need for an office

Standard Office


Should meet work criteria for private space such as continuous confidential consultations.

Honorary Staff meeting requirements for contribution research and/or teaching program


Shared space


Should meet requirements as determined by the DVC. Allocation pro rata if not attending on a full-time basis. Most honorary staff won't qualify for space.

The allocation includes common areas required to support the open plan such as meeting rooms, storage and common rooms.

Academic Visitors

No work space Allocation


Academic Visitors will use work spaces of staff on leave or absent. Absences of 6 months or more will free up space.

Casual or Sessional Academic staff (Lecturers, Tutors, Demonstrators, Markers)
English Language Teachers (Casual)

Hot Desk

Workstation Space


Provide shared work space for desk work, plus adequate interview rooms for student contact if required.

Non-contributing Honorary Staff

No work space allocation


Person does not meet active contributing criteria. Retired staff should vacate their work space on retirement.

Professional  Staff Levels 1-3
Casual Professional Staff Levels 1-3
Exam Supervisors

No work space allocation


There are few professional staff in these levels and most do not require work space. Shared work space may be allocated based on demonstrated need.

Research Worker Levels 1-7

Typically work in Lab space. Where a desk is required a shared space or hot desk will be made available.


The allocation includes common areas required to support the shared work space such as meeting rooms, storage and common rooms.


The University provides space that supports the learning and teaching continuum from teacher led through to student directed and social learning spaces. The University endeavours to provide spaces that support pedagogy (group based problem solving) and cohort management (for both undergraduate and postgraduate students). Provision of space for Higher Degree Research students is guided by the HDR Minimum Standard of Resources and Facilities and other Support Provided for Research Higher Degree Students Procedure.

Special Conditions

  1. Research higher degree students are entitled to 4 square metres of space, which will be provided in a shared area.
  2. Higher degree by coursework students do not have an entitlement to space but those in disciplines involving wet laboratory work must be provided with access to shared write-up space, in compliance with WH&S requirements.
  3. As far as possible, honours students, including those in disciplines involving in wet laboratory work, will be provided with access to shared write-up space, usually in an area with hot desks.
  4. Deans may provide space for specialised student use depending on space availability, the strategic needs of the University and their preparedness to meet the costs, as determined by the University.
  5. As far as possible, spaces for students to congregate inside and outside buildings will be furnished appropriately.

Research Laboratory Model

These Guidelines do not cover teaching laboratories. Research laboratory allocation will be based on demonstrated need as long as the design and time requirements are the most efficient possible for the active research work. Many Colleges will not have research laboratories. For staff where work is primarily laboratory based, other work spaces will only be allocated where there is a demonstrated need for two work spaces.

Specific Conditions

  1. Laboratory space is the most expensive space on campus to build and service, therefore should not be used to store inactive equipment or experiments, or field equipment. Storage requirements to support these facilities are included in design guidelines.
  2. All laboratory space use will be reallocated as demonstrated needs change. Review of laboratory space is to be done under the management of the Division Laboratory Manager or nominee and the Head, Information Management, Space & Timetabling.
  3. Laboratories are often large specialist spaces of greater size than can be justified by individual staff members, therefore these areas should be allocated on the basis of entire work teams or multiple teams.
  4. The capacity of large laboratories will be based on 1.8 - 2.4 linear bench metres per occupant (depending on the work undertaken) with access provided to a suite of specialist space (e.g. microscope room, cell culture lab, cold rooms etc).
  5. Laboratories should be designed and managed by function not by person, project or discipline. Multi-use of laboratories should a consideration in design of new facilities and all opportunities taken to share facilities. This means that no laboratory on campus can be seen as Dr XXX’s laboratory, or Discipline of YYY laboratory. Instead they will be referred to as the laboratory for a particular purpose e.g. "Analytical Geochemistry Laboratory" or "Evolutionary Biology Laboratory"; or by honorary name e.g. Bruce Copeman Parasitology Laboratory.
  6. Within a laboratory, bench space will form a "bench pool" to be allocated, reviewed and vacated by individuals based on requested and demonstrated need.
  7. HDR students with experimental or other requirements will be allocated bench space in research laboratories for the time required to complete the practical parts of their research work only. Idle bench space will be returned to the "bench pool".
  8. In many locations shared workstations will be provided adjacent to laboratories for the purposes of staff and students to use for write-up space when required. Depending on the circumstances this space may be all the desk space that is required by those people.

Learning and Teaching Spaces

The University is committed to provide a range of learning and teaching spaces to suit a variety of learning and teaching approaches as appropriate for each campus. All business cases for additional programs at the University should consider teaching space requirements, particularly if it will be specialist space (e.g. workshop or laboratory). The Estate Directorate will actively audit utilisation of teaching space and review enrolment projections in order to inform timetabling and space planning for growth.

The Design Guidelines will determine requirements for these Spaces which should be flexible to incorporate a range of uses, have uniform cost-effective technology, be comfortably furnished and well lit, designed to minimise the University’s ecological footprint and comply with disability requirements. Space allocation per student varies with discipline and teaching mode.

Spaces are to be designed to accommodate learning and teaching approaches that include, but are not limited to, didactic (lecturing), collaborative, individual, social, virtual, informal, indoor and outdoor learning. Peer-to-peer and social learning spaces will be provisioned with comfortable seating, wi-fi access and power points.

External Organisations

The University may provide space to accommodate external organisations, depending on the strategic and operational needs of the University, the availability of space and any benefits to the University that will accrue from providing the space. Colleges or Divisions wishing to provide external organisations with space, or external organisations seeking space, must seek approval from the DVC, Services and Resources Division.

Common Space Model

Many activities on campus do not relate to a College or Directorate but are shared across organisations and are provided at a building level. This model covers these types of spaces.

Specific Conditions

  1. All kitchenettes, tea room/lunch rooms and tea-making facilities are designated common space and are not spaces allocated to organisations. Those who use the space will have joint management responsibilities.
  2. All meeting rooms with a capacity of 12 participants or above are designated common space and are not allocated to organisations. Meeting rooms will be managed via a central booking system to ensure equity of access, high utilisation and assessment and transparency of usage levels.
  3. All videoconference rooms with a capacity of 12 participants or above are designated common space and are not allocated to organisations. Videoconference rooms will be managed via a central booking system to ensure equity of access, high utilisation and assessment and transparency of usage levels.
  4. All toilets, showers, first aid rooms, communications rooms and cleaners’ rooms are designated common space and allocated to meet building needs. They are managed by the Estate Directorate and ICT as appropriate.
  5. Space allocation for common and tea spaces will target 0.5m per FTE staff member accessing the facility.

Space for Library Collections

Library collections are physically located in the Cairns Campus Library on the Smithfield Campus, and in the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library on the Townsville Campus.

Textbook collections are also held at study centre campus locations in Mackay, Mt. Isa and Thursday Island. Space is not provided for Library collections in Colleges and Research Centres except in special circumstances upon review by the Director, Library Services. Common use library space is managed by the Library Services Directorate.

Facilities Infrastructure Advisory Committee

The University is committed to providing transparency and reporting of all space management activities. Reporting on space management will be conducted by the Estate Directorate and forwarded to the Vice-Chancellor through the Estate Advisory Committee.

The Committee will be a source of advice to the Vice-Chancellor in addressing the facilities and space implications of planning targets in the University Plan. Estate Advisory Committee will make recommendations on the refurbishment, rehabilitation, adaptive reuse and maintenance of existing space and facilities and the addition of new space to the University's estate. Allocation of funds for refurbishment of existing spaces will be linked to an expectation that the refurbishment of the space will lead to improved functionality and space utilisation.

Maintenance of a space inventory will be the responsibility of the Head, Information Management, Space & Timetabling, in addition to the operational aspects of space allocation and management and resolution of competition for space based on strategic needs or emerging priorities. Where there is a dispute on the allocation of space, the DVC may make representation to the Chair of Estate Advisory Committee for resolution.


  • Space Moves and Requests to Change Space Procedure
  • Space Utilisation Audit Procedure
  • Learning Spaces Refurbishment Procedure
  • Space Charging
  • Venue Hire
  • Mothballing Facilities

Related documents and legislation

Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2011

QLD Government Managing the work environment and facilities Code of Practice 2011

Building Code of Australia

HDR Minimum Standard of Resources and Facilities and other Support Provided for Research Higher Degree Students Procedure

Student Timetable Policy

Approval of Works to University Building and Site Infrastructure Policy

JCU Design Guidelines


NOTE: Printed copies of this policy are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy DomainUniversity Management
Policy Sub-domainEstate and Facility Management

Policy Custodian

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Services and Resources

Approval Authority

Vice Chancellor

Date for next Major Review


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation date



19-120/06/201913/11/2019Administrative amendment to update name of CommitteeQuality, Standards and Policy
18-1 30/04/2018Changes made to reflect headline restructure 30/04/2018.Quality, Standards and Policy




Major review – approved by the Vice Chancellor 22/12/2016 (via Estate Board)

Information Management, Space and Timetabling, Estate Office


20 July 2015


Updated following staff survey feedback





Updated following FIAC consideration of space management in October 2015 and to include 80:20 open plan target.





Policy sponsor and approval authority amended to reflect approved policy framework





Approved by Council – removal of ‘Interim’ from title





Policy established Interim approval – Vice-Chancellor

Keywordsspace management, physical space, teaching space, research space
Contact personHead, Information Management, Space & Planning