University of Sheffield

Key issues identified early in the process, which facilitated internal consideration of impact before budgets were committed

A Challenging Context

In common with many HEIs, the University of Sheffield faced a period of intense cost pressure. Spending cuts, together with the Funding Council’s intention to improve space efficiency through the prioritisation of CIF II funding, presented a considerable challenge, therefore the University embarked upon a series of measures designed to maintain and build upon its successes.

As part of its estates strategy, the University actively considered future space requirements for several departments and so appointed CPB Projects, as part of a pilot scheme, to develop a new approach to planning capital projects and to prepare a Brief for the Department of Psychology.

Our Work

To minimise risks in project delivery, space savings needed to be based on an understanding the requirements of end-users as early as possible. Members of the Estates Directorate, Faculty of Science and Department of Psychology began to collaborate with our consultants.

Our facilitative approach supported the Department in reviewing and formalising its requirements as a prelude to a formal option appraisal and included:

  • Analysing information and gaining insight from end-users within the Department about the nature of teaching and research conducted at Sheffield
  • Exploring building uses and the historic configuration of space
  • Challenging existing practices, benchmarking space usage and sharing design ideas from exemplar projects
  • Evaluating alternative configurations and establishing critical adjacencies between resources
  • Considering future developments and the longer-term needs of the Department
    Positive Outcomes

    This approach was instrumental in building Departmental support for the emerging Briefing Document and ensured that most staff were able to make a formal contribution to the process before options reached the stage at which changes would be expensive to make.

    As a result the Department was able to recognise opportunities to make efficiency gains and, by articulating the relationships between different branches of psychological science, to protect important aspects of its research and teaching facilities.

    By engaging closely with the Department, our consultants were able to identify key issues early in the process and facilitate internal consideration of their impact before budgets were committed to specific options.