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AN in-depth assessment of room and lab use at NMMU saw project workers literally counting heads in all lecture venues across all six campuses – and also led to the production of accurate Geographical Informational System (GIS) data for the entire university.

“No other South African university has conducted such an assessment. We have captured every single room on every single floor in every single building through GIS,” said NMMU Infrastructure Planning Director Greg Ducie.

The purpose of the year-long assessment, conducted by lead consultant KPMG, was to provide a snapshot of how space is used at the university. This will guide NMMU in the formulation of strategies to optimise the use of space in the future, to the benefit of staff and students. It will also guide decision makers about whether new facilities need to be built or not.

Going forward, the assessment recommends a number of systems to continue monitoring space use. These include cameras set up in lecture venues to allow real-time occupancy data at any time of the year, or biometric scanners, swipe card systems or similar people-counting technologies. A feasibility study will need to be conducted before a system is selected.

“Since this assessment, KPMG has received queries from several other universities,” said Ducie.

Timetabling data, enrolment data and financial data (specifically maintenance costs of each venue) were also analysed in the assessment.

Thanks to the assessment, NMMU’s space utilisation is now accurately reflected in the university’s Information Technology System (ITS) and linked through the GIS spatial datasets and information platform. “All the space data is there. Going forward, we will just have to maintain it,” said Ducie.

Did you know?

  • NMMU’s six campuses (along with the CSIR Building, utilised by several faculties) have a total of 9,141 rooms (including lecture venues, labs and offices). The majority are on South Campus (4,647), followed by North Campus (1,885), Missionvale (816), Second Avenue (775), George Campus (466), CSIR (303) and Bird Street (249).
  • The university collectively, across all its campuses (and CSIR), has 245,400m2 of space. Of this, 163,700m2 is assigned space and 81,700m2 is non-assigned (e.g. corridors and ablutions).

Contact information
Dr Greg Ducie
Tel: 041 5043230