Policy University Management Space Utilisation Audit Procedure

Space Utilisation Audit Procedure

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This procedure outlines the process to use when conducting periodical space utilisation audits and has been developed to support the implementation of the Space Allocation and Management Policy and the Timetable and Class Registration Policy.

Periodic space utilisation audits will:

  1. Support the University Plan and space management strategies by providing and maintaining fit for purpose learning and teaching spaces.
  2. Identify unused bookings and free space, especially at times or in locations that are under pressure.
  3. Identify under utilised facilities and provide data to support space planning initiatives and master planning.
  4. Assist with the education of users about space.
  5. Through the monitoring of space use, inform decisions about providing more, withdrawing space from use, changing its function and so on.
  6. Meet TEFMA reporting responsibilities.


Space utilisation audits typically focus on academic teaching facilities but may be applied to other support and work spaces as well.

Rooms with automatic people counters installed and operating are typically excluded from a physical audit.


TEFMA - Tertiary Education Facilities Management Association. TEFMA represents facilities management in the Australasian tertiary education sector. TEFMA provides JCU a benchmark in performance against other universities.

Timetabled and Non-timetabled Use- represents a complete record of utilisation of a space, regardless of whether the space had a timetabled room booking or not.

Timetabled Use Only - represents a record of utilisation of a space during period of timetabled events only.


The TEFMA Space Planning Guidelines (current edition) are to be referenced when conducting space audits for JCU.

An audit involves manually surveying the frequency with which rooms are used occupancy by counting seats are actually occupied. Utilisation rates are then determined by multiplying the room frequency by seat occupancy. Surveys are typically carried out on an hourly basis for one week period, typically post census date during the semester.


The Estate Directorate, will conduct Space Utilisation Audits for JCU, on a planned basis, and carry out the steps outlined in this procedure.

1. Audit scope

1. Prepare an audit scoping document that includes a list of rooms to be audited (types and capacity details), budget and staffing requirements.
2. Confirm audit dates and periods. Dates will be selected to be representative of stable enrolment numbers, post census date for the semester. Consult with Timetabling to achieve most appropriate dates.
3. Determine utilisation targets. Refer TEFMA Space Planning Guidelines.
4. List any departures from the TEFMA Space Planning Guidelines.

2. Audit preparation

1. Arrange for staff to be engaged in accordance with Human Resources processes for employment of casual staff required to conduct audits. Director Estates to confirm appointments.
2. Communication plan:
  • Advise Divisions via Division Operations and ALL College Managers.
  • Advise Security.
  • Advise Timetabling.
3. Briefing and Safety meeting. To be held within two weeks prior to the audit. At this meeting the room assignments and shifts will be handed out and the duties explained. Staff required to enter laboratories will undertake laboratory specific inductions.
4. Requirements for the Space Auditors:
  • Carry out space occupancy audit on selected space on a shift basis for the audit period, to collect data to assist with   the management of those spaces.
  • Record student numbers in attendance each hour on supplied record sheet.
  • Count to take place from within 10 and 45 minutes of class starting time (to cater for late starts and early finishes).
  • Minimise disruption to class as far as possible.
  • Move through the room as required ensuring an accurate count.
  • Collection of feedback from staff and students is not required. Any issues are to be directed to the Space Planning Officer as soon as possible.


The following items will be supplied to each Auditor:

  • ID Badge
  • Clipboard
  • Pen
  • Casual Claim Form (Timesheet)
  • Audit Record Sheet

Items will be returned at the end of the audit along with the student occupancy records and time sheets.

3. Audit Methodology

Audits will be consistent with the prescribed methodology outlined in the TEFMA Space Planning Guidelines.

Room audit data is recorded as Room Frequency and Room Occupancy.

Room Frequency (RF):

Room Frequency is the number of hours the room is in use during the audit period, divided by the number of hours that the room is available for use during the audited period, where:

  • Hours Used = the number of hours the room was in use during the audit period.
  • Hours Available = the maximum number of hours the room could be used in the audit period.


Hours Used

Hours Available

Room Occupancy(Occ):

Room Occupancy represents the number of students in the room when the room is in use, compared to the total room capacity. Room Occupancy is independent of Room Frequency, where:

  • Total Students = Total number of students counted in the room over the audit period.
  • Capacity = the maximum number of students the room can hold, usually based on the number of seats in the room.
  • Hours Used = the number of hours the room was in use during the audit period.

Occ =

Total Students

Capacity x Hours Used

Calculating Utilisation (U%):

Utilisation will be calculated automatically in the table for each space type as data is entered. The formula for calculating utilisation is:

1. Prepare spreadsheet to record audit data and calculate results. A suitable template is available from previous audits. The spreadsheet will be named “[Year] Event File”
2. Data entry
3. Prepare results  tables and  include in report

4. Data Analysis

Data analysis will be carried out for the following categories as a minimum and presented within the report:

  • Total number of rooms audited
  • Total number of timetabled/booked events
  • Percentage of timetabled/booked events with nil attendance
  • Space utilisation by room
  • Space utilisation by space type (audited)
  • Space utilisation by space type by day sessions
  • Space utilisation by space type by evening sessions
  • As above but divided into:
    • Timetabled and Non-timetabled Use
    • Timetabled Use Only categories

Further data analysis will be carried out on a prescribed basis. The TEFMA guidelines include examples of typical data analysis types that relate to space utilisation.

1. Perform minimum data analysis and include in report.
2. Perform extra data analysis as required.

5. Reporting

A final report will be prepared and submitted to the Director Estate to be presented to executive level.

1. Data in the audit is reported in two time periods: day sessions (8am to 5pm) and evening sessions (5pm to 9:00pm)
2. Prepare final report.
3. Submit final report to Director Estate. The report is then distributed to FIAC, the Learning,Teaching Advisory Group and if required, the Vice-Chancellor’s Advisory Committee.

Related policy instruments


NOTE: Printed copies of this procedure 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 CustodianDeputy Vice Chancellor, Services and Resources
Approval AuthorityVice Chancellor
Date for next Major Review01/12/2018

Revision History

Version Approval date Implementation dateDetailsAuthor
1.0 04/09/2015 16/09/2015 Procedure established Mark Norton, Space Planning  Officer