2017 sees AUDE reach our 25th year of promoting excellence in estates and facilities. In 1992 the Association of Building Officers and the Polytechnic Building Officers Group joined to form the Association of University Directors of Estates, following the conferring of university status on polytechnics.
Before 1992, estates professionals in HE were represented at the first Conference of University Building Officers was held, jointly with the Finance Officers, in 1959. From 1960 onwards an annual independent conference has been organised. In 1987 the Building Officers steering committee established an Executive and in 1990 the organisation changed its name to the Association of Building Officers of the United Kingdom.
Under the leadership of founding chairman Vic Slater, AUDE established the association's remit, responsibilities and governance structure for members. As well as closing the binary divide between universities and polytechnics, AUDE and it's members navigated the significant maintenance backlogs, the increasing importance of the research assessment exercise programme and the unsatisfactory research infrastructure throughout the 1990's. The turn of the millennium brought back the boom years with increased funding for recurrent capital investment and major investment in the estate across the sector. Of course the decade ended with the financial crash and heightened environmental awareness.
In 1995, AUDE held it's first annual conference in Kent, a flagship event that continues today. By 2005, AUDE employed it's first paid member of staff which brought about an injection of much needed resource and settled a head office at the University of Essex. By this time it had also established a learning and development group and several special interest groups.
2010 onwards has brought significant change and opportunity to the sector. With a reduction in public capital and the introduction of tuition fees in England and Wales, estates were heavily invested in and relied upon to provide the levels of satisfaction for prospective students.
2015 saw Jane White joined as executive officer and an office move to Loughborough University campus where AUDE where incorporated with Professional HE Services (PHES). PHES brought about shared services benefits, closer working relationships with other HE associations and saw an increase in collaboration and partnership events for HE senior staff. Jane has driven constitutional changes and opened up membership to deputy directors and opened up the AUDE website to all member university staff to use online resources and discussion boards . She has quickly gone onto become the association's first executive director in November 2016.
Now, in 2017 more change is looming with TEF, Brexit and the Government's White paper on the higher education bill. The one constant throughout the last 25 years has been the collaboration, contribution and collegiality of estates professionals and AUDE members. With lots to look forward to, our anniversary year is busy with even more opportunity to raise the profile of estates in HE. The year kicked off with a well attended Big Conversation event and the finalising the programme of our annual conference at Manchester Metropolitan University. Production is well under way for an anniversary book and video to celebrate the achievements of HE estates since AUDE began.