Meld. St. 4 (2018–2019)

Long-term plan for research and higher education 2019–2028 — Meld. St. 4 (2018–2019) Report to the Storting (white paper)

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8 Planning the building stock and campuses of Norway’s higher education institutions: development, management and priorities

Those responsible for building the campus of the future won’t pretend to know what the future holds. They only hope they’re building something malleable enough to handle it.

Dan Huttenlocher, Dean and Vice Provost of Cornell Tech

8.1 The importance of well-designed university and university college buildings

Buildings, equipment and other infrastructure are a vital input factor for achieving the overall objectives of Norway’s research and education policy. Well-designed buildings can encourage cooperation and multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, and improve communication between students, between students and researchers, and between academia, the business community and the local community. Poorly designed buildings can hamper such cooperation, promote one-way communication from teachers to students, and prevent efficient use of digitalisation, entrepreneurship, and outreach activities.

A campus may consist of anything from a single building to a large estate of many buildings and their grounds. Decisions concerning university and university college buildings determine where and how students, academic staff and other knowledge workers live, learn, study, innovate and communicate. A campus may be an independent entity, but it will always depend on and influence the society to which it belongs.

Figure 8.1 Area of purpose-built buildings belonging to regional health authorities, universities and university colleges, prisons and the Norwegian Defence Estates Agency, in square metres

Figure 8.1 Area of purpose-built buildings belonging to regional health authorities, universities and university colleges, prisons and the Norwegian Defence Estates Agency, in square metres

Norway’s higher education sector, with buildings covering a total of 3.4 million square metres, has one of the largest public property portfolios in the country. The Government’s objective is to ensure that universities and university colleges can make the best possible use of these resources.

A number of major building projects are currently in the construction or planning phases and require significant resources. Tables in this chapter give an overview of construction projects in both phases. The universities and university colleges have already drawn up campus development plans or are in the process of doing so, and several institutions have identified a need for new buildings and adaptation of their current building stock to improve functionality and make better use of these resources. The Government expects universities and university colleges to carefully consider their need for new buildings, for renovation of or alterations to existing properties, and to lease buildings. Adaptation is needed to promote high-quality education and research. The Government also expects investments in university and university college buildings to be cost-effective, while at the same time contributing to environmentally friendly solutions. The Government considers it necessary to develop a clearer policy framework for developing, managing and setting priorities for the building stock and campuses. The point is not necessarily to expand, but to provide the right kinds of facilities. Norway needs a building stock for the higher education sector that lends itself to knowledge generation and communication, promotes a sense of identity and conveys the values of the institutions.

8.1.1 Capacity development and adaptation to the needs of a knowledge society

Buildings and campuses at universities and university colleges have been adapted and changed in response to developments in society and higher education and research. Norway’s first higher education institutions played a key role as drivers for education, nation building and the development of a national identity. As the economy became more industrialised and later on service-driven, the need for a highly educated workforce increased. Educational institutions were needed throughout the country to provide a qualified workforce and contribute to wealth creation. Expansion began in earnest in the 1970s. By the early 1990s, Norway had over 100 higher education institutions. More recently, major structural changes and institutional mergers have resulted in new trends in the development of the university and university college building stock.

Buildings are also an instrument and an input factor in industrial policy. Campuses are used jointly by the academic and business communities. Carrying out teaching, basic research and applied research at the same site is an excellent basis for innovation and economic development. The marine technology laboratories at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim are one of the oldest examples of this kind of joint use. The first part of this facility was the Towing Tank, which was opened as early as 1939. Ever since, these laboratories have been important for the development of marine industries in Norway. See also the description of the Ocean Space Centre in Chapter 1.6.2. Another example is that NTNU in Ålesund is located close to the GCE Blue Maritime Cluster, which plays a key role in maritime business development and innovation. The Mechatronics Innovation Lab1 has been co-located with the University of Agder to allow for closer cooperation between research, education and industry.

Furthermore, there are overlaps between different disciplines. Several of the major construction programmes that are now being planned focus precisely on how the spatial dimension can give rise to knowledge generation and innovation. This was a major reason for the Government’s choice of concept for the new life science building at the University of Oslo, see Chapter 1.6.2. Promoting interdisciplinary activities and higher-quality education and research were also key considerations when the Government decided on a unified campus concept for NTNU in Trondheim that will also include the faculties currently located in the Dragvoll and Midtbyen areas of the city, see Box 8.2.

The way buildings, properties and campuses develop is also driven by digitalisation and by the ambition that they should play a part in achieving overall climate and environmental targets. Buildings are becoming steadily more advanced technologically and in order to meet safety, working environment, universal design and other standards. These developments have cost implications.

8.1.2 Government policy for the building stock at public universities and university colleges

The aim is to pursue a long-term, predictable policy for buildings and campus development at Norwegian universities and university colleges that supports the overall objectives for research and higher education and provides good incentives for investments in and management of the buildings. The Government expects the sector to take the following into account:

  • 1. Policy instrument – Buildings are an input factor in the same way as other resources in research and higher education

  • 2. Adaptation – There is a need for development and maintenance

  • 3. Sustainability – Investments in university and university college buildings must be cost-effective, but should also play a role in innovation and climate and environmentally friendly solutions.

  • 4. The university museums – Unique collections of importance for Norwegian history, culture and identity must be safeguarded.

These points provide a framework for an integrated policy for the university and university college building stock. They are further discussed later in this chapter, after an overall review of the organisation and management of construction projects at public universities and university college and the status of current projects.

The Ministry of Education and Research asked the Knowledge Centre for Education to review research on the aspects of campus design that have a positive impact on teaching, research, cooperation and learning.2 In addition, the Ministry asked Statsbygg to review the current situation for university and university college buildings based on data on the building stock, i.e. the physical element of a campus.3 Statsbygg was asked to consider this element in the context of information on students and staff (the human element), costs (the financial element), how well buildings and sites are suited to their purpose (the functional element) and how campuses contribute to climate and environmentally friendly solutions (the environmental element).

A knowledge base has been built up on the basis of research on campus management and development.4

The knowledge base, together with a dialogue with universities and university colleges, cooperation with other ministries and comparisons with other sectors that manage a substantial proportion of Norway’s large-scale buildings and infrastructure, forms the basis for the Government’s policy for the university and university college building stock.

8.2 A clear planning, construction and management system for the university and university college building stock

In order to develop the building stock at universities and university colleges efficiently and in a way that promotes high quality, it is important to consider carefully how these properties are planned, constructed and managed. Several decades may pass between a need arising and the completion of a building. A construction project involves many stakeholders and different types of legislation. There are also several different management regimes and funding models. Moreover, there is wide variation in the size and type of sites different institutions have at their disposal. This is explained by differences in size, activities, study programme portfolio and research profile. Disciplines that require laboratories, animal accommodation, towing tanks or other large-scale equipment need different types of space from disciplines that largely need offices and group rooms. It is common to distinguish between «wet» areas (wet labs, clinics etc.) and «dry» areas (analytical labs, reading rooms, auditoriums, offices). This section gives an account of the different elements of the system for the university and university college building stock: management regimes, central government responsibilities and management, types of funding, and the institutions’ plans, opportunities and responsibilities. It also contains an overview of construction projects in different phases.

8.2.1 Management regimes

The building stock at the disposal of public universities and university colleges has a total area of around 3.4 million square metres. The largest share, about half, is central government property for which the institutions themselves act as property managers. One quarter is managed by Statsbygg, and one quarter is leased in the private market. Following the structural reform of the higher education sector, most institutions have buildings in all three categories. Acting as property manager means that an institution is responsible for managing, maintaining and operating the buildings. Seven institutions, the University of Oslo, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, the University of Bergen, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, NHH Norwegian School of Economics and the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, manage most of their buildings themselves and are considered to be property managers.5 For buildings managed by Statsbygg, the institutions pay rent to cover the cost of building management, operation and sufficient maintenance to preserve the value of the property, plus a fixed return on invested capital.

Figure 8.2 Area of buildings (m2) and management regimes 2016 (Source Norwegian Centre for Research Data)

Figure 8.2 Area of buildings (m2) and management regimes 2016 (Source Norwegian Centre for Research Data)

8.2.2 The Ministry’s management framework

The Ministry of Education and Research is responsible for overall management of universities and university colleges. Public and private universities and university colleges are governed by the same law, the same sector objectives, the same funding and accreditation system and the same supervisory framework.

In 2017, public universities and university colleges had a total income of around NOK 43 billion. Direct central government funding made up around NOK 33.9 billion of this. External contributions and commissions constituted most of the remaining income. Recruitment of students and staff, investments in buildings and equipment and ambitious plans for international cooperation are all examples of initiatives that may require funding from the institutions’ budgets, and the boards are responsible for considering all of them together.

As a basis for the boards’ priorities with regard to construction projects, all public universities and university colleges are required to follow up the white paper on structural reform of the higher education sector (Meld. St. 18 (2014–2015)) by preparing campus development plans. These are overall plans for developing the building stock and using existing and new campuses efficiently. In each plan, the institution is expected to identify the changes and investments needed to make the campus a good tool for research, education and communication. Institutions that are property managers must also have long-term plans for maintenance to preserve property value and for upgrades, together with the associated annual budget allocations.

Before an institution notifies the Ministry of Education and Research of any need for buildings and space, it must have assessed whether its construction needs are in line with its overall strategy. Efficient utilisation of and alterations to existing buildings must always be considered as an alternative to a newbuild. The board decides which needs are notified to the Ministry.

When universities and university colleges assess plans and needs for construction projects and notify the Ministry, they must also carry out the necessary needs analyses and preparations in line with current instructions, legislation and procedures. The most important of these are the instructions for planning and management of central government programmes and projects and the instructions for construction projects and leasing in the central government civilian sector.6 The institutions must always make it clear which alternative solutions have been considered. The central government planning guidelines for coordinated housing, land-use and transport planning also govern land use, re-use and quality for buildings and other structures.

8.2.3 Funding models

Construction projects may range from minor alterations and adaptations to existing properties to large newbuilds and renovation projects. In the central government sector, a distinction is made between purpose-built buildings and buildings leased or purchased on ordinary market terms. Central government institutions that need new premises must determine at an early stage which category is appropriate for their project. Building types for which there is no functional market are classified as purpose-built. Most university and university college buildings are purpose-built. Construction projects at universities and university colleges may be financed in several different ways:

  • i) Projects managed by the institution. Construction projects carried out by an institution that is a property manager without any change to the budget.

  • ii) User-financed construction projects. Construction projects where the institution undertakes to meet the rent for the building(s) from its own unchanged budget. This form of funding is available to central government institutions that pay rent to Statsbygg. Funding is allocated by the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation (Chapter 2445 Statsbygg).

  • iii) Ordinary construction projects. These follow the governmental model for major investment projects, which has pre-defined phases including planning and implementation, external quality assurance if required, and fixed decision gates. Proposed initial appropriations and cost ceilings for these projects are presented in the national budget. The Government normally considers whether to grant compensation for an increase in rent costs when determining the initial appropriation for a construction project. As a general rule, institutions are expected to meet rent costs within their current budget. Compensation is not normally granted for more than 75 per cent of the increase in rent. Principles for rent compensation were laid down in a Royal Decree of 7 October 1997.

  • iv) University premises in hospitals. The Storting has adopted principles for planning, construction and funding of university premises in new hospital buildings, effective from 2018. This means that the health trusts plan and build university premises for the training of medical students in new hospital buildings. The health trust owns the premises, and the university leases them. Compensation for rent increases is dealt with under the same rules as for ordinary construction projects. Proposals to increase appropriations for the universities’ rent costs are considered in the ordinary budget process together with proposed appropriations for investment loans. Compensation must not exceed 75 per cent of the increase in rent costs. The universities own user equipment in these premises. There are currently six health trusts that are classified as university hospitals: Haukeland University Hospital, Stavanger University Hospital, St. Olav’s Hospital, University Hospital of North Norway, Akershus University Hospital and Oslo University Hospital. For existing buildings, both the agreements between universities and university hospitals and the way they are practised vary, as described in a commissioned report.7 Work has been started at several institutions to find solutions for the use of premises. There is generally close collaboration between health trusts, hospitals and universities, including hospitals that are not classified as university hospitals.

  • v) Projects in cooperation with private lessors. Universities and university colleges may also carry out projects in cooperation with private owners, in which case they enter into lease agreements on commercial terms and conditions. The rent must cover the same elements as rent paid to Statsbygg, and is determined in an agreement between each institution and the lessor. When assessing whether a local need should be covered by leasing in the market or through a government construction project, the main consideration must be what is financially most favourable for the central government.

Projects with an estimated cost of more than NOK 50 million have fixed decision gates where approval and/or external quality assurance is required, see Box 8.1.

Textbox 8.1 Decision gates and cost thresholds in construction projects

There are several fixed decision gates during construction projects where approval is required at ministry or government level. In some cases, this is because a project is entering a new phase (choice of concept, pre-study, pre-project or implementation). In others, it is because the estimated cost of the project exceeds thresholds where ministry/government approval is required. For construction projects in the higher education sector, the following rules apply:

  • User-financed construction projects above NOK 50 million: the Ministry of Education and Research submits them to the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation for approval.

  • User-financed construction projects above NOK 100 million: must be submitted to the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation. The Ministry of Education and Research prepares a decision paper for the Government, generally together with the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation.

  • Lease agreements with private lessors with a cumulative cost of more than NOK 100 million over the lease period: must be submitted to the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation.

  • Projects above NOK 300 million: a pre-study phase is required after choice of concept. The results are summed up in a report that provides the basis for a decision on whether to move to the pre-project phase. This decision gate does not apply to user-financed construction projects.

  • Projects, including lease agreements with private lessors, that have a total cost above NOK 750 million: the governmental model for major investment projects.

8.2.4 Major government investments in university and university college buildings

Major government investments are here defined as construction projects with an estimated investment cost of more than NOK 300 million. In the period 2010–2017, average annual investments in buildings for the university and university college sector were NOK 1.76 billion at the 2018 monetary value. This made up 41 per cent of expenses for government-owned purpose-built buildings.

According to the review by Statsbygg, there were active construction projects at 15 of 21 public universities and university colleges in the spring of 2017. These included 21 projects in the construction phase and 14 projects in the planning phase. The projects under construction are expected to be completed in the period 2018–2020.

The tables below provide an overview of major construction projects that have been completed, are under construction or are in the planning phase.

Table 8.1 Completed construction projects 2010–2018

Institution

Project

Type

Cost ceiling (million NOK)

Gross area (m²)

Purpose

Completed

University of Oslo

IFI II

Newbuild

1 356

17 000

Informatics

2010

University of South-Eastern Norway

Bakkenteigen

Newbuild

816

18 900

Teaching, nursing, engineering

2010

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Central building Sogndal

Newbuild

384

7 605

Teacher training

2012

Oslo Metropolitan University

Andrea Arntzen’s house, Oslo

Renovation and newbuild

777

19 000

Nursing training

2012

University of Bergen

Odontology

Newbuild

853

15 000

Odontology

2012

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Newbuild for co-location

Newbuild and renovation

2 544

53 200

Teaching, engineering, health and social sciences

2014

University of Oslo

City centre buildings, phase 1

Renovation

540

33 000 (phases 1 and 2)

Social sciences, law

2014

University of Oslo

City centre buildings, phase 2

Renovation

393

33 000 (phases 1 and 2)

Social sciences, law

2014

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Technology building

Newbuild

445

9000

Engineering

2014

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Animal Production Experimental Centre

Newbuild

389

12 000

Livestock research

2015

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Clock Building

Renovation

472

8 190

Teaching and learning venues

2016

Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Technology building (Akrinn)

Newbuild

730

16 000

Engineering

2016

University of Bergen

Newbuild for co-location (merger with Bergen Academy of Art and Design)

Newbuild

1 072

14 800

Art and design, artistic development

2017

Norwegian School of Sport Sciences

Renovation

Renovation and alterations

883

17 000

Health and sports sciences

2018

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Medicine and health subjects phase 2, Tromsø

Newbuild and alterations

1 372

21 057

Medicine and health sciences

2018

Table 8.2 Major ordinary construction projects in the construction phase

Institution

Project

Type

Cost ceiling (million NOK), price level 1 July 2019

Gross area (m²)

Purpose

Building period

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Co-location with veterinary institutes at, Campus Ås, incl. Animal Production Experimental Centre

Newbuild

7 121

63 100 + 11 700

Livestock research and veterinary medicine

2013–2020

University of Bergen

University museum Part 2, Bergen

Renovation

395

9 200

University museum

2016–2019

University of Oslo

Life science building, Oslo

Newbuild

5779

66 700

Chemistry, pharmacology, life sciences

2019–2024

Table 8.3 Major user-financed projects in the construction phase

Institution

Project

Type

Cost ceiling (million NOK), price level 1 July 2019

Gross area (m²)

Purpose

Building period

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Campus Kronstad, Bergen

Newbuild

536

14 300

Teaching

2018–2020

University of South-Eastern Norway

Campus Ringerike

Alterations

219

11 000

Teaching

2017–2019

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Building for teacher training ILP

Newbuild

441

10 900

Teacher training and pedagogics

2018–2020

Table 8.4 Construction projects, pre-project phase completed

Institution

Project

Type

Expected cost ceiling (million NOK), price level 1 July 2019

Gross area (m²)

Purpose

Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Health and social sciences, Trondheim

Newbuild

537

13 000

Health and social sciences, student welfare

University of Oslo

Viking Age Museum, Oslo

Renovation and newbuild

2 000

9 300

University museum

University of Stavanger

Museum of Archaeology, Stavanger

Newbuild

338*

6 130

University museum

* price level 15 April 2014

The table shows construction projects where the pre-project phase has been completed and the expected investment costs exceed NOK 300 million (excluding user equipment). The objectives, overall scope and costs of these projects have been determined. Any initial construction appropriation will depend on the annual budget processes.

Table 8.5 Construction projects that have received pre-project appropriations

Institution

Project

Type

Cost ceiling (million NOK)

Gross area (m²)

Purpose

NHH Norwegian School of Economics

Main building, Bergen

Renovation

555

12 527

Economics and administration

Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Campus NTNU, Trondheim

Newbuild and renovation

Not determined

Not determined

Co-location

Nord University

Blue Building 6B, Bodø

Newbuild and alterations

Not determined

9 650

Biosciences and aquaculture, nursing and health sciences

University of Bergen

Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design / the Grieg Academy

Newbuild

Not determined

10 000

Music and arts

University of Oslo

New exhibition greenhouse at the Natural History Museum, Oslo

Newbuild, alterations, renovation

Not determined

Not determined

University museum

University of Oslo

New clinic building, Oslo

Newbuild

Not determined

21 600

Odontology

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Tromsø Museum, Tromsø

Newbuild

Not determined

19 700

University museum

Table 8.6 Projects notified to the Ministry of Education and Research with estimated costs exceeding NOK 100 million

Institution

Project

Type

Gross area (m²)

Purpose

Volda University College

Building for media and arts

Newbuild

4 700

Media and arts

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Maritime centre, Haugesund

Extension

8 500

Maritime studies

Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Trondheim Science Centre

Newbuild

35 700

Knowledge communication

Sintef/ Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Ocean Space Centre, Trondheim

Newbuild, renovation

Not determined

Marine technology labs for teaching, research and innovation

Oslo Metropolitan University

Campus project Romerike

Not determined

Not determined

Teaching

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Narvik Campus

Renovation and development

7 200

Engineering

University of Stavanger

New technology centre

Newbuild

Not determined

Education

The table shows projects that the institutions are planning and have notified to the Ministry of Education and Research with estimated costs exceeding NOK 100 million. It includes both projects planned as user-financed and ordinary construction projects. It does not include university premises in new hospital buildings. Institutions that are property managers are also authorised to carry out construction projects within their own budgets. These projects are not included in the table. The Ministry has not yet assessed the projects in this table (scope, need and priorities).

8.3 Buildings as an input factor – the importance of strategic campus development

8.3.1 The academic and organisational importance of strategic campus development

Long-term, strategic work on buildings and facilities must be seen in the context of the institutions’ overall strategies, goals, plans and priorities. The Act relating to universities and university colleges sets out requirements for the students’ physical learning environment, which are detailed in section 4-3. The board of each institution must ensure that buildings and facilities are dimensioned and equipped for the activities that take place there, and that they are properly maintained. In the past, property managers have focused largely on the need to maintain buildings and make sure they are safe to use. These are important issues, but in recent years there has in addition been more emphasis on the need for buildings and facilities to reflect the objectives of the institution and to be suitable for the activities taking place there. Buildings often have a long life span, and it must be possible to adapt them to new user needs. This is further discussed in Chapter 8.4.

Several studies discussed in the review by the Knowledge Centre for Education conclude that the physical design of learning venues has an impact on the types of teaching and learning practices they can be used for.8 They also show that spatial design can encourage the maintenance of old practices or prevent new approaches from developing. The knowledge base indicates that there is a need for rooms and spaces that facilitate cooperation, discussion, participation and access to technological tools.

The development of teaching and learning practices must be coordinated with the design of teaching and learning rooms so that students thrive, learn what they are supposed to, complete their studies and achieve optimal learning outcomes. Campus development is part of organisational development and requires management accountability for and ownership of restructuring processes in all parts of the organisation. Figure 8.3 illustrates the links between the organisation of an institution and the physical design of buildings and spaces.

Figure 8.3 Links between the organisation of an institution and its infrastructure

Figure 8.3 Links between the organisation of an institution and its infrastructure

8.3.2 Campus development plans

Campus development plans are an important tool for forward-looking development of single-campus and multi-campus institutions in a way that supports their academic priorities. The Ministry of Education and Research has asked all public universities and university colleges to prepare campus development plans, see Chapter 8.2.2. The knowledge base prepared by Statsbygg shows that 13 of the 21 institutions have campus development plans for one or more of their campuses. Some of the institutions that have recently merged are preparing new or revised plans in order to highlight the challenges and opportunities that may arise from a multi-campus structure. The structure and time horizons of the plans vary. The Universities of Oslo, Bergen and Stavanger and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have long-term plans that extend to 2040 or beyond. Many other plans have a shorter time horizon, up to 2020–2025. The plans also vary in how well they reflect to the institutions’ overall strategy, and how well they function as real management tools for the institutions.

University and university college estates must be managed and developed in ways that support academic and organisational activities at the institutions. It is therefore necessary to set priorities for resources to be used for buildings and find a balance between these and other priorities. Thus, campus development should be an integral part of the institutions’ academic and organisational objectives, and they must develop a sound approach to innovative and efficient utilisation of their estates.

The Government expects:

  • public universities and university colleges to have campus development plans that promote efficient use of their estates and support their academic and strategic priorities.

The Government will:

  • evaluate practice for campus development plans by 2022.

Textbox 8.2 Concept for new Campus NTNU in Trondheim

The Government has selected the concept for the new campus for the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. This involves a unified campus achieved by relocating the humanities and social science faculties from Dragvoll, and the art, architecture and music faculties move from various sites in the city to the main Gløshaugen campus. The upper limits of 92 000 m2 gross newbuilds and 45 000 m2 gross of alterations at Gløshaugen have been set for the project. The Government considers continuity and an integrated planning process to be important. The pre-project phase must include an assessment of carrying out a phased development, and of the pace of implementation and the development strategy, including completion of the entire project over a ten-year period. Measures to reduce costs must also be considered in the pre-project phase. According to the development agreement between the Ministry of Education and Research and NTNU, the university is to plan a forward-looking, unified campus that can become a model for future public-sector development in Norway. The Storting has also asked the Government to facilitate the use of ambitious environmental solutions in this project that produce more energy than the university uses.

The Ministry of Education and Research has commissioned Statsbygg to prepare a pre-study report for Campus NTNU which to be completed around the end of 2018. The pre-study report will undergo external quality assurance and will then be considered by the Government.

8.4 Development and maintenance needs

University and university college buildings serve the very important social purpose of supporting and promoting the achievement of research and higher education objectives. The quality of a building is determined by how well it serves its purpose for its users, not merely by how well it is maintained. For the current planning horizon, most of the buildings of the future exist already, but they will need considerable adaptation. More space may be needed as student numbers and academic communities grow, and it may be necessary to adapt some sites to strategic initiatives such as the Centres of Excellence scheme, large-scale procurement of equipment, interdisciplinary cooperation, co-location and mergers. The Government considers it vital to ensure that the currently available areas can be used in the best possible way. Some of the main reasons why development and maintenance are needed are discussed below.

8.4.1 Growing student numbers

Like other OECD countries, Norway has experienced strong growth in higher education. In 1970, there were around 50 000 students in Norway. By 2017, this had increased to 257 000.9 The number of students increased by 37 per cent in the period 1997–2016, most rapidly in the last ten years. The number of staff increased by 63 per cent in the same period. The need for greater capacity has implications for campus development and the development of related infrastructure and services such as student housing and transport. One construction project that has been carried out in response to increased activity is at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, where a new building for medicine and health sciences opened in 2018 and student housing has been built at the Breivika campus in Tromsø. However, increasing activity may not be such a strong driving force for development and renovation in the years ahead. There has been a considerable reduction in the number of births in Norway the last few years, so that youth cohorts will reach a historically low level in 20 years’ time. Statsbygg’s review also indicates that the current facilities can be utilised better.10

8.4.2 Mergers and co-location

Many of the major construction projects have taken place in the wake of large-scale processes involving mergers. The first of these was the university college reform in 1994, when the Storting decided that 98 university colleges were to be merged into 26 larger units. The second was the structural reform adopted by the Storting in 2015. As a result of the structural reform, Norway now has 21 public universities and university colleges split between about 90 campuses.11 Construction projects in response to co-location after structural changes include Campus Ås (for the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, formed by merging the University for Environment and Life Sciences in Ås and the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science in Oslo; the Norwegian Veterinary Institute is being co-located with the new University of Life Sciences), Campus Kronstad for the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, and newbuilds for art, music and design for the University of Bergen.

Many universities and university colleges also cooperate closely with other bodies with which they are unlikely to merge, but where co-location brings benefits. These may include local businesses, research institutes, welfare organisations and institutions in the health sector. Examples include MediaCity Bergen and SINTEF and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The food research institute Nofima and the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research both have their headquarters at Campus Ås. Health trusts, hospitals and universities also cooperate closely, as described in Chapter 8.2.3.

8.4.3 Historical buildings

Historical buildings are a valuable resource. They play an important part in forming the character of an institution, are often centrally located and can therefore serve the local community as well, and provide a distinctive atmosphere and a sense of belonging. The largest upgrade projects in recent years have been the renovation of the city centre buildings at the University of Oslo, the University Museum of Bergen, the Clock Building at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. The main intention of these projects has been to maintain the heritage of the institutions while upgrading their buildings to meet today’s requirements.

Just over half of the buildings at the institutions that are property managers date from before 1970, and about 70 per cent from before 1990. Around 11 per cent of the older buildings at these institutions have some form of protection.12 At some institutions, this is true of up to 70 per cent of the buildings. This can make renovation and upgrading more demanding and more costly. The management of historical buildings requires special expertise.

8.4.4 Modernisation and upgrading

The objective of modernisation and upgrading is to ensure that buildings and facilities are in good condition and suitable for their purpose. A high-quality higher education requires buildings and facilities that support modern forms of education and provide a good learning environment. They must be designed on the basis of knowledge about how and in what surroundings students learn best.

Several major initiatives require the adaptation and alteration of buildings and facilities. To achieve prestigious awards such as status as a Centre of Excellence under the Research Council of Norway’s scheme or a grant from the European Research Council, an institution may have to make alterations on a larger or smaller scale. Adaptation of the existing building stock may also be important in reducing the climate and environmental footprint of the higher education sector.

The overview from the Knowledge Centre for Education refers to research documenting that spatial design may be a barrier to the use of innovative education methods and technology. Well-functioning buildings and facilities can promote better use of digitalisation, and this may enhance the labour market relevance of graduates from Norway’s higher education system, see the OECD report on higher education in Norway published in 2018.13 Students are not as dependent on actually being on campus as they used to be. Greater use of technology makes it less important where and when learning takes place. At the same time, new forms of learning and teaching are based more on cooperation, discussion and problem-solving. The campus design overview from the Knowledge Centre for Education and the knowledge base compiled by Statsbygg identify a pressing need to design buildings and facilities in a way that promotes and stimulates both real-life and virtual cooperation. Statsbygg points out that minor alterations such as moving walls or revitalising underused areas can make the use of space more efficient. Examples of such measures are alterations of the older auditoriums at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology to provide modern interactive learning and teaching spaces, and revitalisation of an entrance hall at Campus Kristiansand at the University of Agder (see Box 8.3).

Textbox 8.3 Campus Kristiansand: revitalisation of an entrance hall

A growing number of students and staff has made alterations and extensions necessary. Many students nowadays prefer to work in the cafeteria and other shared areas rather than in a reading room or group room. The University of Agder needed a bigger cafeteria and more work spaces for students. Their solution was to alter the entrance hall. This was an 800 m2 space that people merely used to walk through, but is now also being used as a cafeteria and reading room. The alterations have given the university more space without the need to extend the buildings.

In 2012, the Office of the Auditor General conducted an investigation of central government management of university and university college estates.14 According to the report, there was a deterioration in the condition of 19 per cent of buildings in this sector in the period 2003–2011. The Ministry of Education and Research and the institutions that are property managers have taken a number of steps in response to the Auditor General’s report. The Ministry requires institutions that are property managers to have long-term maintenance and upgrading plans. From 2018, the universities that are property managers have changed their internal rent system to ensure efficient use of their estates and to meet the requirements for sufficient maintenance to preserve property value. The Ministry has also asked all the public higher-education institutions to prepare long-term campus development plans to ensure efficient use of their estates, see Chapter 8.3. The institutions now spend a greater proportion of their basic allocation on their estates than they used to. For the last four years, the institutions that are property managers have spent NOK 1.1–1.3 billion annually on maintenance and improvements from their own budgets.

In the period 2015-2018, the Government allocated a total of NOK 330 million for upgrading of buildings in institutions that are property managers, on condition that the institutions themselves provide at least 50 per cent of the funding for the projects. In all, Government allocations and the institutions’ own investments have resulted in upgrades worth more than NOK 1 billion.

Public universities and university colleges should carry out necessary adaptation and upgrading of their buildings and facilities and consider reinvestments as part of the needs analysis for construction projects.

The Government expects:

  • universities and university colleges to carry out necessary adaptation and maintenance of their existing estates.

The Government will:

  • encourage good progress and investment in upgrading and adaptation by increasing the funding available for upgrading at the institutions that are property managers;

  • introduce a similar scheme for universities and university colleges that pay rent to Statsbygg for their buildings.

8.5 Cost-effective university and university college buildings that play a role in innovation and climate and environmentally friendly solutions

Norway’s higher education sector has one of the largest public property portfolios in the country measured by area. Buildings influence their surroundings in various ways depending on how they are designed, sited, operated and used. This sector plays an important part in helping Norway to meet the Sustainable Development Goals – both through campus development and through the institutions’ key role in promoting new sustainable solutions nationally and globally. Campuses are important outdoor areas for students and staff and also for the general public. If they are designed as an integral part of the urban space, outdoor areas in and around universities and university colleges provide good meeting places and thoroughfares. It is therefore important to take a broad-based approach to climate and environmentally friendly management, operation and development of buildings and facilities.

In its white paper Long-term Perspectives on the Norwegian Economy 2017, the Government emphasises the importance of coordinating the use of policy instruments, so that climate and environmental targets do not come into conflict with goals in other areas. Universities and university colleges are following different approaches to strategic issues relating to climate change and the environment. Some, for example the Universities of Oslo and Bergen and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, have developed separate environmental and climate change strategies for their estate operations.

Textbox 8.4 Environmental and climate change strategy for the University of Oslo’s estate operations

There are nine elements of the university’s estate operations that are intended to give climate and environmental benefits:

  • reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

  • reduced and renewable energy use

  • environmentally friendly transport

  • waste reduction and more waste separation at source

  • environmentally sound use of materials and resources

  • using procurement as a driver of environmentally and climate friendly estate operations

  • efficient spatial management that gives environmental benefits and creates a pleasant working environment

  • environmentally efficient buildings

  • environmentally efficient outdoor areas that create a positive environment.

https://www.uio.no/english/about/strategy/environment/index.html

The higher education sector can limit its climate and environmental footprint through re-use of existing buildings, spatial management, energy and materials use, and by managing waste, transport and pollution. The universities and university colleges also have a special part to play in developing and deploying new, climate and environmentally friendly solutions in education, research, innovation and dissemination and procurement activities and in their contributions to the public debate.

Environmental requirements concerning technical solutions for buildings, materials and energy facilities are included in a number of instructions, Norwegian regulations and international agreements. However, the climate and environmental footprint depends at least as much on maintaining a constant awareness of the need for green operations. The knowledge base compiled by Statsbygg refers to research demonstrating that inappropriate user routines can counteract the effect of good technical solutions, and that even «poor» buildings can be run energy-efficiently.15 However, investments will be needed to implement solutions that satisfy the current environmental requirements, both in existing and in new buildings.

Textbox 8.5 Museum of Archaeology

The Museum of Archaeology was established in 1975 and has been part of the University of Stavanger since 2009. The museum is responsible for collecting, conserving and safeguarding finds from pre-reformation times, and is currently housed in premises from the 1920s and 1990s. There are plans for a new adjoining building for education and visitor services, and the existing premises will be renovated. The overall floor space is 6 100 m2. The newbuild will solve the problems of cramped visitor facilities and unsatisfactory safeguarding and conservation of valuable cultural artefacts.

The Government expects:

  • universities and university colleges to play a part in research, education and innovation that can be used in developing and deploying cost-effective, sustainable and climate and environmentally friendly solutions that satisfy the current technical building regulations.

The Government will:

  • develop and use green indicators to highlight and monitor climate-related and environmental effects of campus development;

  • review the overall effects of climate change and environmental measures implemented in the higher education sector.

8.6 Unique collections of importance for Norwegian history, culture and identity

8.6.1 University museums

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the Universities of Bergen, Oslo and Stavanger and UiT The Arctic University of Norway have been given a special national responsibility for running museums with both scientific collections and exhibitions open to the public. The university museums manage collections of great national and international value, containing a total of around 19 million objects, and have a total floor area of more than 130 000 m2. In 2017, the university museums had just under 1.9 million visitors.

Textbox 8.6 Viking Age Museum, Museum of Cultural History

The world’s best preserved Viking ships, the Oseberg, Gokstad and Tune ships, will make up the core of the collection at the planned new Viking Age Museum, which is part of the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo. This is Norway’s distinctive cultural heritage, and together with a large number of other iconic finds, the ships make the collection globally unique.

Safeguarding the Viking Age collections properly is a very challenging task. In recent years, the university has discovered that the collections have deteriorated much more than was previously thought. In addition, more than 100 000 people visit the museum every month in the summer season. This puts great pressure on both buildings and artefacts, and makes research and communication even more important. Extensive work has been carried out to find the best solution for the Viking Age collection.

An international group of experts appointed to make a risk assessment of future plans for the ships recommended in 2012 that the Viking ship assemblage should not to be moved, and the Government endorsed the proposal to keep the collection at Bygdøy in Oslo. Expansion of the museum buildings is therefore being planned to ensure that current and future generations are given access to Norway’s cultural history and an understanding of the Viking Age. The framework for the project is a maximum gross area of 13 100 m2, of which 9 300 m2 is newbuilds.

The Office of the Auditor-General has twice investigated the conservation and safeguarding of collections at public museums, and concluded that many collections at university museums have not been kept in appropriate conditions, and that the administration of these responsibilities has not been satisfactory.16 In response to a white paper on the university museums (Report No. 15 (2007–2008) to the Storting), both the Ministry’s overall administrative control and the universities’ internal management of the museums have been improved. In particular, responsibility for the museums is now much better integrated into the universities’ management documents and routines. The institutions have been making a concerted effort over several years to improve storage conditions, and some have solved their problems by renting external premises. Major challenges still remain, however. Various objects in the Viking Age collection in Oslo were treated using the alum conservation method and are disintegrating from the inside out, see Box 8.6. Large parts of the university museum collections remain in storage, unavailable to the public. There were thefts from the University Museum of Bergen in 2017. According to the 2018 status report for the higher education sector, the risk of water damage is high at most of the museums. Several also need to improve routines, emergency preparedness and environmental conditions (humidity and temperature). The extent to which objects have been digitised and made available online varies widely. Safeguarding and conserving their collections is the most important task for these institutions, and the situation will only improve if their premises are expanded and upgraded.

Restoration of the buildings at the University Museum of Bergen was completed in the autumn of 2018, and the new exhibitions will be completed in spring 2019. The pre-project phase has been completed for the new Viking Age Museum (part of the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo) and for the Museum of Archaeology (University of Stavanger). The Government has decided on the new site for the Arctic University Museum of Norway in Tromsø, which is being planned as an ordinary construction project. The concept for the new Campus NTNU includes plans for an upgrade of storage areas at the NTNU University Museum. A new exhibition greenhouse at the Natural History Museum, University of Oslo is also at the pre-project stage.

In its political platform, the Government announced that it would make Norway’s cultural heritage more accessible by strengthening the museums’ expertise in research and interpretation activities. The Government also considers it important that that the pre-project phase has been completed for the Viking Age Museum, University of Oslo, and the Museum of Archaeology, University of Stavanger. These projects will make an important contribution to safeguarding and conserving unique historical and cultural collections, and to making them accessible and disseminating information about them.

The Government expects:

  • the universities to fulfil their responsibility for safeguarding and conserving unique collections, including making the collections available digitally and ensuring good routines and satisfactory emergency preparedness.

Footnotes

1.

The lab is a national centre for innovation, pilot testing and technology qualification within mechatronics and related disciplines

2.

Sølvi Lillejord et al. Campusutforming for undervisning, forskning, samarbeid og læring: En systematisk kunnskapsoversikt. [Campus design for teaching, research, cooperation and learning: a systematic overview] 2017

3.

Statsbygg. Kunnskapsgrunnlag for universitets- og høgskolesektoren, rapport A. B, C og D [Knowledge base for the university and university college sector, reports A. B, C and D]. 2018

4.

Den Heijer. Managing the university campus: Information to support real estate decisions. Eburon Academic Publishers. 2011

5.

The budget proposal for 2019 (Prop. 1 S (2018–2019)) from the Ministry of Education and Research proposes that management of the NHH properties should be transferred to Statsbygg

6.

Utredningsinstruksen 2016 [Instructions for planning and management of central government programmes and projects]. Ministry of Finance. Instruks om håndtering av bygge- og leiesaker i statlig sivil sektor 2017 [Instructions for construction projects and leasing in the central government civilian sector], Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation

7.

Samordning mellom universiteter og helseforetak. Identifikasjon av utfordringsbilder med forslag til løsninger [ Coordination between universities and health trusts. Identification of barriers and proposed solutions] Report from a national working group appointed by the Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Health and Care Services. 2016

8.

Sølvi Lillejord et al. Campusutforming for undervisning, forskning, samarbeid og læring: En systematisk kunnskapsoversikt [Campus design for teaching, research, cooperation and learning: a systematic overview]. 2017

9.

Norwegian Centre for Research Data (NSD), self-financed students, autumn 2017

10.

Statsbygg. Kunnskapsgrunnlag for universitets- og høgskolesektoren, rapport B [(Knowledge base for the university and university college sector, report B]. 2018

11.

The number of campuses is based on Statsbygg, Kunnskapsgrunnlag for universitets- og høgskolesektoren Rapport A [Knowledge base for the university and university college sector Report A]. 2018. According to an Official Norwegian Report (NOU 2008:3), there were 57 campuses at public universities and university colleges in Norway at the time. The discrepancy is largely explained by the methodology; Statsbygg counts each site used by an institution in the same town as a separate campus, whereas the 2008 report did not. For instance, the current NTNU has 14 campuses in Trondheim according to Statsbygg, while the 2008 report only counted two, the main NTNU campus and Sør-Trøndelag University College (now merged with NTNU).

12.

Statsbygg. Kunnskapsgrunnlag for universitets- og høgskolesektoren, Rapport A [Knowledge base for the university and university college sector, Report A]. 2018

13.

OECD, Higher Education in Norway. Labour Market Relevance and Outcomes. 2018

14.

Doc. no. 3:4 (2012–2013). Riksrevisjonens undersøkelse om statens forvaltning av eiendomsmasse i universitets- og høgskolesektoren [Investigation by the Office of the Auditor General of central governement management of university and university college estates]

15.

Statsbygg. Kunnskapsgrunnlag for universitets- og høgskolesektoren, Rapport B [Knowledge base for the university and university college sector, Report B]. 2018

16.

The two reports are Doc. no. 3:9 (2002–2003). Riksrevisjonens undersøkelse av bevaringen og sikringen av samlingene ved fem statlige museer. [Investigation by the Office of the Auditor General of the conservation and safeguarding of collections at five public museums] and Doc. no. 3:10 (2007–2008). Riksrevisjonens undersøkelse av bevaringen og sikringen av samlingene ved statlige museer [Investigation by the Office of the Auditor General of the conservation and safeguarding of collections at public museums]

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