This is a case study of a hypothetical project. In the interests of brevity, much of the detailed justification that would be expected of a real-life submission has been omitted.
Outline business case
Identifying the need
The University of Atlantis is on the outskirts of the city. It is largely based on one campus but has accommodation on three other smaller sites within a five-mile radius of the main one. Sargasso House occupies one of these sites. It is a former office block which is rapidly reaching the end of its useful life and is becoming increasingly expensive to maintain. In addition, the building is badly configured, makes inefficient use of the space and has limited disabled access. The University of Atlantis owns the freehold of the building, which currently houses the Department of Pelagic Thaumaturgy. The main site is 15 minutes’ walk away.
Pelagic Thaumaturgy is an expanding area of study, and courses are over-subscribed. The University of Atlantis has a high reputation in this field. However, because of the limitations of the building it is unable to respond to the increasing demand for places. As a result, it cannot take advantage of the potential income from overseas students, nor can it expand its range of services. The project has two aims:
a. To provide cost-effective and suitable accommodation for existing students.
b. To provide additional space for expansion of the department’s activities.
The existing building provides 4,000m2 of usable space. Providing an additional 1,000m2 would enable the university to accept an additional 100 overseas students. There would be higher administration and staff costs, but the additional students would bring an extra net annual income of £180,000.
The strategic context
The overall strategy of the university focuses on a number of key aims which are relevant to this project:
a. The university has a commitment to become a regional centre of excellence. The provision of high quality, flexible space has been identified as key to its continued success.
b. The continued development of PelagicThaumaturgy is one of the key elements of the university’s corporate strategy. The department has become increasingly successful and popular, and the university is now receiving national recognition for its work in this area.
c. The university is committed to improving access for disadvantaged minorities, including people with disabilities.
The key relevant objectives of the university’s estates strategy are:
a. To provide a high quality environment for students and staff that makes the best use of its physical assets.
b. As a long-term aim, to locate all its teaching accommodation on or close to its main campus. One of the highest priorities within the strategy is expanding the space for Pelagic Thaumaturgy.
c. To recognise that any new accommodation should be suitable for current and planned requirements, but should retain sufficient flexibility to adapt to future changes as the shape of HE continues to evolve.
Accommodation needs to be:
• high-tech, high quality and flexible
• low maintenance, with reduced running costs
• fully accessible to people with disabilities
• close to or on the main campus.
Identification of options
A number of options to solve the problem have been identified:
a. Option 1: Status quo – carry out essential maintenance and repair works only. This is not seen as an acceptable option due to the extent of work required and the increasingly unsatisfactory nature of the accommodation. However, this option has been included to provide a base case against which to assess other alternatives.
b. Option 2: Major refurbishment of Sargasso House. Stripping the building back to its shell and carrying out substantial reconfiguration and