The output from the studies into the cost of space and drivers of the size of the estate are combined into a spreadsheet model that is available for use by institutions. To facilitate use of the model, EMS data and a number of other parameters are provided as default settings. Users are free to override these defaults with other data. The cost part of the model allows users to calculate both the provision needed to maintain a sustainable estate, and the total provision taking into account the opportunity cost of the funds tied up in the estate.
The benchmarking tool within the model allows users to compare the size of their nonresidential estate with the size that the benchmarking tool predicts, using different assumptions. This benchmarking tool reflects the relationship between the size of the estate and a number of drivers that prevail across the sector. The output from both the cost model and benchmarking tool can be combined to help HEIs to assess what size of estate is affordable or optimal. The sustainable estate provision can be used to determine the ‘affordable’ estate size. An HEI’s sustainable estate is the amount of its existing space the HEI can afford to maintain and keep fit for purpose in the long run. The model of the sustainable estate provision, together with HEIs’ information on total estate budgets, would help HEIs to determine their sustainable estates.
The total estate provision can be used to inform the ‘optimal’ estate size. The sustainable estate will not always be the optimal estate size because it does not necessarily involve any assessment of the trade-offs between spending on estate and spending on other resources. Even if an HEI could sustain its current estate size, it might choose to release some space to spend more on other inputs, such as staff salaries. The optimal estate size is that at which an HEI would not wish to release any space (or acquire new space) in order to spend more (or less) on other inputs.