The UEA Estate is the site of constant development and improvement as we look toward developing ever better Learning and Teaching Spaces across Campus.
In 2017 these included the addition of 16 new teaching rooms with a total capacity of 302 additional students. In addition Pop Up Study spaces were introduced across the Campus during the summer exam period and will return in 2018.
The Main Lecture Theatre Block has seen the subject of the most sweeping refurbishment. The major works have seen the installation of new seating and AV equipment as well as the complete replacement of the ventilation system, increase in seating capacity and timber cladding. The foyer and circulation spaces have been remodeled with new layouts and ceiling and the introduction of new windows has dramatically increased natural light alongside new lighting and replacement finishes. New disabled access routes have also been created.
The Library has also been the subject to internal alterations over the summer to provide an additional 195 study spaces as well as a re-design of book storage rooms. The work also included the complete refurbishment of the two main Library lifts and a new ventilation plant.
Existing offices in the ZICER building have also been converted into six centrally bookable teaching rooms, while five additional teaching rooms have been provided in Earlham Hall and one in Arts. The main hall in Congregation Hall also received a new layout alongside new furniture and AV equipment.
The Space Management team facilitated the relocation of non-student facing staff to the Centrum Building on Norwich Research Park with 100 staff moved by the post and portering team, including extensive post-move support, with in total 600 staff being relocation. Two new student social spaces for ECO were also created in the Registry alongside 5 new offices and New Executive meeting room in VCO.
The Earlham Hall restoration continued with the completion of Phase 2. Phase 2 focused on the refurbishment of the Earlham Hall stable block and the creation of new teaching rooms. Phase 3 has been greenlit and is targeted for completion September 2018.
The installation of the new roofing membrance on the Biology/Sciences roof was the final phase of the Teaching Wall re-roofing which commenced in 2012. To ensure that the facility remained operational, the construction works were carried out over six phases between February and July 2017 at a cost of £1 million. Since completion of the works significant energy savings have been seen and opportunity was taken to upgrade fume cupboards fan and their controls in the same project.
Public transport infastructure on Campus also saw improvements through the completion of the Low Carbon Bus Stop next to the main car park. The bus shelter was part of Norfolk County council and the UEA’s scheme to improve the image and effectiveness of the public transport infrastructure on campus and made use of low carbon materials and use of a green use to aid biodiversity The shelter provides covered standing room for up to 80 people and makes use of recycled paving, travel information signage as well as WIFI connectivity and Real Time Information Display. .
Meanwhile, a "spring clean" project provided new and renewed pathing throughout the Campus with the addition of fencing in some areas to stop desire lines through grassy areas and the green space outside the Health and Community Centre and the INTO building experienced improved landscaping.
2017 also saw the introduction of the statues located on both Library and Biology roofs as well as outside the Library walkway entrance. The statues, created by renowned artist Antony Gormley, are part of an ambitious strategy to develop a renowned sculpture part at UEA curated by the Sainsbury Centre.
Antony Gormley describes the works as: “Still moments of lived time placed in space. I like the feeling of the campus and its openness to the sky and the changing conditions of light and weather. Between the undercroft of the library and its exposed parapets and the teaching wall, I hope the work engages with the life of the University and with elemental conditions.”
No staff or students at UEA could go about their work or studies without the services of the Estates team, who maintain the campus grounds and buildings, from security to cleaning and space management to sustainability.
With such a wide range of responsibilities, the team is constantly working to ensure that daily life runs smoothly at UEA – and that means maintaining a strong focus on customer service.
“Our customers tell us we’re doing a good job, but we’re always looking for ways to improve,” said Justin Rhys, Customer Liaison Officer. “We continually listen to and act on feedback and run a Customer Perception Survey every two years, which gives us the opportunity to step back, look at how we operate and take action where it’s needed.”
As a result of the 2015 survey, the new role of Building Fabric Manager was created to speed up estimates and small works activities. Thanks to this, 67% of staff who responded to the 2017 survey said they were happy with time taken to complete their requests - a 23% improvement on 2015 - and fewer than 0.5% of jobs resulted in complaints.
There’s also been a 10% increase (68% to 78%) in satisfaction with communication about the status of maintenance jobs following a restructure of the Maintenance team, additional resource for the Helpdesk and the introduction of a new contractor for non-emergency small works and estimates.
Another popular innovation is the self-service auto-responders – by sending an e-mail to email@example.com with “Help” or “?” in the subject field, customers can see real-time status information about maintenance work.
“We’re delighted that 82% of respondents agree that fixing problems is a particular strength of Estates, and almost 70% are happy with the speed at which we fix problems,” said Justin. “The technology we’ve introduced for the Helpdesk team has also improved our performance, with 81% of respondents happy with our service.”
Some of the most complicated challenges are faced by the Space team, whose role is to balance the needs of the University with the available space. Their ability to deliver this balancing act was recognised by the 86% of customers who agreed that they complete their tasks successfully, with 75% were happy overall, compared with 55% in 2015.
Refurbishments can cause the biggest disruption, but improved communication via the monthly Projects Forum has also seen satisfaction levels with the way these projects are handles jump from 51% in 2015 to 77% this year.
The greatest accolades were for the Security team, however, with 92% of respondents saying they’re happy with the services they provide, 92% saying they’re friendly and helpful, and 91% saying they help to make them feel safe and secure on campus.
“We’re very happy that the changes we introduced following the 2015 survey have had such positive results and look forward to continuing to offer our customers excellent service,” said Justin.