The Division of Infrastructure and Operations provides a number of important services to support the University community in its teaching and learning, research and administrative functions. It is comprised of a number of departments: Residential Operations; Administration, Finances and Procurement; Facilities Servicing; and Infrastructure and Operations Systems.
Facilities Servicing (previously known as Estates) is involved in the operational management of Rhodes University's facilities, including Building and Electrical Maintenance, Grounds and Gardens Maintenance, Fleet Management, Campus Protection Services and provision of Civil Services.
Campus Infrastructure Status Report presented to the IPC Infrastructure SubCommittee – June 2018
Executive Director: Infrastructure, Operations & Finance
This report is based upon a report delivered to the DHET motivating Rhodes University’s application for Infrastructure and Efficiency grant funding for the 2019/20-2020/21 cycle. This report comprises
a. an updated assessment of the state of campus infrastructure and the extent of deferred or backlog maintenance;
b. reports progress with the planning and mechanisms to address the campus infrastructure maintenance (including the integration and implementation of national requirements);
c. reports on infrastructure projects completed or in progress.
Subsequent to the compilation of this report the Minister of Higher Education & Training has informed us that Rhodes University has been allocated the sum of R358,404,854 for backlog maintenance for the 2018/19 to 2020/21 IEG funding cycle.
B. Key campus infrastructure-related numbers at Rhodes University
1. Infrastructure budget:
Budget allocation is an expression of strategic intent or strategic value. The university’s allocation for campus infrastructure maintenance is therefore an indicator of the strategic value or importance placed on the maintenance of campus infrastructure. Infrastructure-related correspondence over the past year or so from the Minister and the DHET require that “Universities must annually budget adequately for ordinary maintenance requirements”. The question then arises – what is an adequate budget allocation for campus infrastructure maintenance? The built environment specialist team assembled by the DHET to establish the Higher Education Macro Infrastructure Planning Framework have provided the benchmark provision which is based upon the replacement value of infrastructure. The optimal budget provision for “ordinary” maintenance (ordinary maintenance is disaggregated and categorized below) is 4% of the replacement value of the relevant infrastructure. At Rhodes the replacement cost of the buildings on campus (i.e., excluding services reticulation, roads, sports facilities etc) was valued by the CSIR to be R3,7 billion in 2015. The calculation for Rhodes University escalated for 2018 is therefore:
R4,5 bn x 4% = R180 million
The 2018 budget allocation for campus infrastructure maintenance is R40,7 million, which is R139,3 million short of the benchmark. This under-provisioning has become the norm at Rhodes over the past 25 – 30 years as the budget strategy adopted has been to cut the infrastructure maintenance budget in order to balance the budget on an annual basis. This under-provision has over the years given rise to the high level of backlog or deferred infrastructure maintenance at the University.
2. Deferred/backlog maintenance
The CSIR campus infrastructure condition assessment completed in 2015 estimated that the sum required to address the deferred or backlog maintenance to bring the campus buildings (the assessment excluded civils such as roads, underground water & sewerage reticulation etc) to a state of fitness-for-purpose (as opposed to as-built) was R1,3 billion, which escalates to R1,73 billion in 2018. Adding further to the cost of addressing the deferred maintenance is the classification of 124 buildings (30% of the total of 435) as heritage buildings, which are protected by law.
3. Some comparative data – campus infrastructure and Facilities Services
• During period 2000 to 2017 campus increased as follows:
a. Floor area of buildings increased by 51,345m2
b. Grounds & gardens area increased by 334,252m2
• During the period 2013 to 2017, 67 infrastructure projects to the value of R616m have been planned and executed or are in progress by Infrastructure &
Operations (over and above ad hoc or requisitioned maintenance);
• 18,600 maintenance requisitions were completed in 2017;
• However, during the period 2000 to 2017 the number of additional or new facilities staff posts is as follows:
a. Building Maintenance: 3 gutter cleaners in 2010
b. Grounds & Gardens: 1 lawnmower operator & 1 gardener in 2012
c. Electrical Services: 1 electrician in 1998
d. Engineering Sevices: No additional posts for past 31 years
Despite significant campus infrastructure growth, both new and deferred maintenance, the levels of resourcing (financial and staffing) have not kept pace.
C. Space usage compliance assessment
The Minister and the DHET have advised that that institutions must comply with the Department’s space and cost norms. This is expressed in the DHET’s Macro-Infrastructure Framework guideline for universities:
“All DHET infrastructure-related policies must be adhered to, including the Space & Cost Norms for Building and other Land Improvements and the Policy on the Minimum Norms & Standards for Student Housing at Public Universities….Infrastructure management plans must be aligned to the Space and Cost Norms for Buildings and other Land Improvements provided by DHET. The purpose of the norms is to manage the risk of investing in over-specified or exorbitant infrastructure. The norms also promote equity in university infrastructure provision by putting in place common standards” (correspondence from the Minister and the DHET University Macro-Infrastructure Framework).
The project to establish both accurate floor plans as well as scale 3D drawings of all university buildings on campus has been completed – for the first time in decades Rhodes University has a very accurate database of all space on campus. It is worth mentioning that on the basis of inter alia this project that Rhodes University was invited by the DHET (alongside Wits, UP, US and UCT) to contribute to the establishment of the Macro-Infrastructure Framework mentioned above. Sample extracts are provided as Annexure A and B.
Following the completion of the space data collection project the services of Geoff de Wet, formerly the architect responsible for space planning and usage at UCT, now consulting to the Department and the sector, were engaged to conduct a comprehensive space usage assessment at Rhodes University.
The outcome indicates that the university is considerably over-spaced in terms of academic space. This is deeply concerning not only from a compliance perspective (the DHET has already indicated to us that funding for new buildings will not be considered until space is utilized more efficiently), but particularly from the cost of maintenance perspective. The DHET space norms are based largely upon student headcounts (converted to FTE’s) in the different disciplines or fields of study (CESM categories). Given that both first and second income streams are also driven largely by student headcounts, this level of over-spacing is unaffordable and unsustainable from an infrastructure maintenance perspective.
The other aspect of space usage assessed by Geoff de Wet is that of lecture venue usage. The higher education benchmark for optimal utilisation of lecture venues is 75%. Utilisation is determined by multiplying frequency of usage (number of bookings in the venue per week vs the maximum number of periods per week expressed as a percentage) by the occupancy (number of enrolled students booked in a venue vs the seating capacity of the venue expressed as a percentage), so 100% utilisation is impossible. A sample of the outcome is reflected in the chart below:
Once again the outcome indicates that optimal use is not being made of the lecture venues, which, as in the case of over-spacing, adds to the cost of infrastructure maintenance.
D. Campus Infrastructure Plans
In November 2013 Council approved an integrated campus infrastructure planning and maintenance plan. Progress with achieving the elements of the plan are:
a. The campus spatial development plan has been completed and approved, and forms the basis of campus infrastructure planning and development.
b. As mentioned above, a complete set of 3D Revit drawings and CAD floorplans has been established for each building on campus, providing Rhodes University with accurate and reliable space and building data for the first time in decades.
c. Maps of the major underground water reticulation system on campus have been established.
d. A campus infrastructure maintenance plan developed in collaboration with the CSIR is in place (Annexure C) – this needs to be reviewed to bring it in line with the DHET’s university Macro-Infrastructure Framework.
e. A campus infrastructure condition assessment has been completed.
f. An electronic database of title deeds has been established, and outstanding deed transfers are being pursued (Annexure g).
g. The establishment of an internally developed facilities management system was found to be unfeasible. The purchase and implementation of the Archibus facilities management system commenced in 2015 in the following phases:
• Fleet management system – this implementation is complete, in use and has already provided information which has enhanced performance;
• Space information and management system – the data from the space exercise has been lodged into Archibus and is ready to integrate with the various infrastructure maintenance modules;
• Infrastructure projects management system – integration with the general ledger is complete and the system is being used to manage and monitor the financial component of infrastructure projects. The integration of physical project progress with financial progress is almost complete, as is the on-line requisition/self-service of minor projects;
• The on-line ad hoc maintenance requisition system is nearing completion, which will allow users (or clients) to submit electronic maintenance requisitions which are pin-pointed, will provide a response time (based on university sector SLA response times), and will keep the user updated about progress. This will require the establishment of a Facilities Services helpdesk, which is targeted to be fully operational by January 2019;
• The life-cycle maintenance module is being populated with data from the space and building data plus data currently being collected by the Facilities Services team. This module will be implemented during the first half of 2019 depending upon budget allocation;
• The statutory maintenance plan is operating using a manual system – this is being integrated into the life-cycle maintenance module and will be implemented simultaneously with the implementation of the life-cycle module.
• A budget model for this 5-tier maintenance plan has been established based on a model developed in the USA using data from 400 universities and colleges.
• 40 backlog maintenance project have been identified and prioritized (QS estimate of total cost is R980 million).
• As existing space is refurbished and/or reconfigured, the space norms are being applied.
• The utilization of space is being systematically interrogated (capacity to utilize the university’s Celcat timetabling software is being created in Facilities Services) to move towards optimal use of existing facilities and venues.
Report with spreadsheets included: Campus Infrastructure Status Report June 2018
Overview of the Campus Infrastructure Report to Council – September 2018
The Report (Document F10) presented provides:
1. An overview of what has been done since 2013 to address campus infrastructure challenges from both a planning and a deferred maintenance perspective;
2. An update on specific infrastructure projects in progress as well as an indication of infrastructure projects completed with costs provided;
3. An indication of the inadequacy of the current infrastructure campus infrastructure budget as well as the under-resourcing of the Facilities Services Department;
4. The scope and extent of deferred maintenance;
5. The poor and haphazard allocation and utilization of space, and in particular, academic space, that has been the practice over a number of decades;
6. An indication of the increasing levels of DHET IEG funding we are receiving.
Subsequent to the F&GP meeting at which the report was tabled, we were visited by the DHET macro-infrastructure framework (MIF) team for a site visit.
During the visit, we were required to present an overview of the IEG projects to date. Since 2008 projects totaling R1 billion have been funded or are being funded at Rhodes University. It is with a sense of pride that we were able to report to the DHET team that Rhodes University has consistently demonstrated its capacity and capability to deliver both major and minor infrastructure projects on time and within budget whilst simultaneously delivering value-for-money infrastructure.
We were also able to report with a sense of achievement that we have achieved sixteen of the seventeen MIF milestones set by the DHET towards the end of 2017 – the remaining one involves the creation of a stand-alone procurement policy for infrastructure. We were able to report to the team that we have already engaged with Treasury’s technical expert in this regard, and are investigating the introduction of framework contracting. Based upon our progress, the DHET team requested us to assist other institutions in the province to attain the milestones.
One of the milestones set is the implementation of a facilities management business process and system. We reported that despite a very small budget and an even smaller implementation team we are well on the way to the full implementation of the Archibus facilities management system. Given our experience, the DHET has requested us to assist other institutions with their implementation – we are already in conversation with NWU in this regard.
We did however indicate to the DHET team that we are not going to be able to implement the Helpdesk module of the system (which is a significant component of the system) due to human resource constraints imposed by the University.
Finally, the DHET team re-iterated and emphasized that all universities are expected to comply with the DHET space and cost norms. We indicated our approach in this regard for the new projects. It must be said that this is proving to be extremely challenging as space has become “fiefdoms” within the University, with scant regard for the costs thereof.
I also wish to remind Council that we are required to provide annual audited financial and narrative reports to the DHET for all earmarked funding grants, including infrastructure and efficiency funding. Since 2013 our reports have been unquestioned by the DHET. Our resource constraints are thus not at this level, but at the operational level and mentioned earlier.
Finally, the DHET team requested an update on municipal services provision. We provided an update, and I have been requested to provide a report to the DHET which will be provided to our Minister to take up with the COGTA minister.
Chair, I move the report and am happy to respond to any questions or comments.
Dr Iain L’Ange
Exec Director: Infrastructure, Operations & Finance
Report with Spreadsheets included: Campus Infrastructure Report to Council September 2018
Last Modified: Tue, 27 Aug 2019 11:06:04 SAST