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New TRAC guidance that applies from 2014-15 has now been published. This is hosted on the HEFCE web site on behalf of all funders. The current TRAC requirements continue to apply for TRAC reporting for the year ending 31 July 2014, but once the 2013-14 TRAC reporting is complete, the HEFCE web site will become the sole resource for TRAC as well as financial sustainability materials.

Part III - Annual TRAC

Section D: All other costs

Chapter D.5 Estates

  1. The TRAC Support costs include estates costs (or premises costs).
  2. They are defined consistently for the annual TRAC process and for calculating the estates charge-out rates. They are:
    • premises expenditure (as defined in the HESA FSR – accessible from document linkAnnex 1);
    • the TRAC infrastructure adjustment; and
    • initially, laboratory technicians and all equipment and research facilities (these are then excluded from the estates costs used to calculate the estates charge-out rates).
  3. They include all the costs of all support staff that relate to these areas. The cost of capital employed should not be included (it is an indirect cost).
  4. Further detail of what is and is not included in estates costs is given in Part IV .
  5. When attributing estates costs in the annual TRAC process, the estates costs of residences should be attributed to Other.
  6. Non-residential estates costs should be attributed to central departments and to academic departments.
  7. Estates costs of academic departments should be attributed to Teaching, Research and Other.
  8. All attributions should be based on the use of that space.
  9. No later than August 2007, the use of this space should take into account at least four different types of space. A weighted cost per square metre should be used to attribute the space used.
  10. The Research estates costs should be attributed to research sponsor type; and the Teaching estates costs between PF and NPF Teaching.
  11. The estates costs of central departments should be identified, and assigned to the central service department cost pools (and included in the indirect cost rates). Where central service functions such as libraries, registries, etc, are significantly devolved to academic departments, the estates costs relating to these areas could either be included in the estates total or be included in the indirect cost total.
  12. Robust methods should be used to attribute shared space (e.g. laboratories used for both Research and Teaching, desk space used for all of Other, Research and Teaching activities, shared seminar rooms) both to academic departments and to activities. Shared space should be attributed on a reasonable estimate of the proportion of use of that space, not on the basis of ‘predominate use’, or a proxy based on other dedicated space allocations. Office space could be attributed using academic staff time data.
  13. The use of space by PGR students should be separately identified on a fair and reasonable basis as part of this.
  14. When preparing their costs for the annual TRAC return to the funding councils, institutions should ensure that the total Research estates cost that have been attributed to the PGR activity category is the same as that that could be calculated using FTE weightings of 0.5 and 0.8 for a research student in non-laboratory and laboratory departments respectively (compared to a weighting of 1.0 for an academic and research staff FTE working on Research). This is irrespective of the cost drivers that have been used in the cost allocation model when estates costs are allocated to Research.
  15. Estates costs for PGR students should not be extracted separately from the estates costs of other Research activities before estates charge-out rates are are calculated.
  16. Institutions should review their cost drivers for estates costs so that they are in a position to inform a UK study of PGR weightings in 2006.
  17. The requirement to identify four types of space and calculate a different cost weighting for each is to ensure that departments are given the right total costs for their mix of space. Weighted space costs provide institutions with a better method of attributing space costs to departments, and between T, R, and O in those departments.
  18. The four different space categories might be :
    • low-cost space (e.g. barn, shed, some animal houses)
    • desk or office
    • serviced laboratory or facility (e.g. laboratory, computer laboratory)
    • highly serviced laboratory or space (e.g. laboratory with air-conditioning, or a major facility).
  19. If an institution does not have one of these types of space, they can identify only three types of space.
  20. The £ per sq metre cost for each category should be calculated for benchmarking purposes – see Part II. The differentials would recognise the respective costs of building, maintaining and servicing each category of space; and their respective utilisation taking into account use by all activities.
  21. A step by step approach to the attribution of estates costs is available in document linkAnnex 12 . A worked example is available in document linkAnnex 13.
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