Real Estate Working Group
The Real Estate Working Group (REWG) was established in 2017. The Group was initiated by the Public Real Estate Management (PREM) team at ETH Zurich, to share knowledge, good practice examples, benchmarks and conceptual frameworks in the field of real estate development at IARU universities.
REWG has developed a number of workstreams including space efficiency and productivitiy benchmarking, shared facilities, capital planning and investment strategies, and tools in real estate management. REWG has met at workshops in 2017 (in Zurich), 2018 (Oxford), 2019 (Yale) and 2020 (Online). Members collaborate on specific projects throughout the year.
Mission StatementIARU Real Estate Working Group Mission Statement
The IARU Real Estate Working Group creates a forum for collaboration and information-sharing about the interests and challenges in the field of real estate management for research universities, contributing to a platform for learning through sharing our institutions’ experiences and practice examples.
- Members will actively participate to the extent feasible to share knowledge about topics in higher education real estate development and management.
- Relevant topics include physical and land use planning, capital investment, facility management, space utilisation, fiscal constraints, and other associated administrative policies and practices that may emerge as the group’s work progresses.
The Group’s Work Programme for the period 2020-2023 is:
2017The IARU Real Estate Working Group held its first meeting at ETH Zurich on 24-26 September 2017. Discussions showed high interest in benchmarking, analysis of shared space concepts, and capital investment strategies.
REWG held its second annual workshop in Oxford in September 2018. The meeting was structured around sessions relating to benchmarking, shared facilities, capital planning/investment strategies, tools in real estate management, and highlights. All universities attending made positive contributions to the success of the meeting.
It was agreed to undertake some further work on the benchmarking exercise to ensure the robustness of data sets and analysis. Also, to develop other workstreams in 2018/19 on space norms, space utilization, life cycle costing, estate strategies in the context of academic strategies (or lack thereof) and facilities management.
The member universities face common estate challenges, there are pockets of excellence in each despite those challenges, and through continued collaboration we can identify best practice and transfer knowledge for the wider benefit of all.
The Annual Meeting in 2019 was held at Yale University on 4th and 5th September. The meeting took place simultaneously with the Sustainability Working Group. Members presented and discussed analysis of space efficiency benchmarking and case studies on strategic estate planning, space norms, space utilisation tools, facilities management and life cycle costs.
The Real Estate Group developed a three-year programme plan for 2019-2022, based around the key strategic themes of Space Use and Efficiency, the Future Learning Environment, and Resource Planning. Projects within each theme were identified. Our methodology is to collect and analyse data; to identify good practice case studies, and; to prepare toolkits. Outputs would be published on the IARU website and made available to the HE sector generally.
The Real Estate Group’s programme of work was severely disrupted by the global coronavirus pandemic, and the meeting that was scheduled to take place in Cape Town in October 2020 also had to be postponed, due to travel restrictions and health concerns.
As an alternative, the Group met online to share our experiences of estate impacts arising from the pandemic and recovery planning. We held two video meetings on Monday 5th October, attended by Cambridge, NUS, ETH Zurich, Tokyo, Copenhagen, Oxford, Cape Town and Berkeley, at which each University gave a presentation.[Presentation files]
A number of common themes emerged:1. Lessons from Shutdown and Reopening; including
- The creation of task force governance bodies for emergency planning purposes
- Coordination of localized and centralized FM services
- The continuation of critical services for which access was required during shutdown, including life safety systems, security, essential IT infrastructure, and business-critical research
- Re-opening processes including assurances that built assets were safe to use and assurances that activities could be carried out safely
- Infection control measures
- Marking out and laying out buildings and external spaces for social distancing
- Enhanced cleaning regimes
- Test & trace
- Managing the use of reduced capacity spaces
3. Adapting our estates to support new ways of delivering teaching, learning, examinations, research and professional services in the medium to long-term; and
4. Reshaping our estates to support financial recovery
Future Work Programme
Our original 3-year work programme themes relating to Resource Planning and The Future Learning Environment are highly relevant as we start the recovery process. The third theme, relating to Space Use and Efficiency, has been adapted to Efficient, Agile & Healthy Workplaces, in anticipation of a permanent shift towards agile working and in recognition of the strong focus on the health and wellbeing of our people.