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Fri December 08 2023

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Database developed for university construction costs

12 Nov 19 University estates teams now have access to a database of higher education projects and building types, providing benchmark data for cost and design.

Balfour Beatty is currently constructing the University of Reading’s news £50m Health & Life Sciences Building
Balfour Beatty is currently constructing the University of Reading’s news £50m Health & Life Sciences Building

The database, containing an initial 150 projects, has been developed by construction consultant Aecom for the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE).

The idea is that it will help AUDE members to make better informed decisions about capital projects.

Users are able to create scenario estimates by selecting and deselecting certain projects and adjusting key drivers, such as gross floor areas of a building or rates for each cost element.

According to AUDE, this is the first cost database dedicated to university estate projects.

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The database has been built around Aecom’s Global Unite system, which is a web-based platform that holds cost data, project information and benchmark ratios for construction projects all over the world. The AUDE Capital Cost Database will have the same functionality as Global Unite, but with data specific to UK university estate projects.

Aecom director Steven Jenkins said: “The AUDE Capital Cost Database will provide university estate teams with access to a wealth of previously untapped data about real life projects in their sector. The flexible system means that total project budgets can be determined early, with confidence, and data can be quickly analysed to help better plan and forecast project and construction costs, which will be an invaluable reservoir of knowledge for universities.”

Kenneth Kinsella, chair of the AUDE Capital Group, said: “The implementation of this tool gives AUDE members more direct access to data that was only previously commercially held by third parties. It now brings together the data of all its members into one combined place and gives it members the ability to quickly work with real data when planning its estates projects. The database is planned to grow over time and give members more detailed analytics it projects and trends about the data it gathers.”

AUDE executive director Jane White said: “In this initial phase, more than 30 universities have submitted over 150 projects to the database which means this new tool has begun in great style. We know AUDE members will continue to submit their projects – the more they do, the more helpful the database will be to all of us.”

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