University of the West of England - Bristol

Client – University of the West of England - Bristol

Author - Joe Maleczek 

University Overview - "UWE Bristol is a University Alliance university with a common mission to make the difference to our cities and regions. We use our experience of providing high-quality teaching and research with real-world impact to shape higher education and research policy for the benefit of our students and business and civic partners. We innovate together, learn from each other and support every member to transform lives and deliver growth."


With over 27,000 students and 3,000 staff, UWE is one of the largest providers of Higher Education in the South West of England. Students come to UWE from all parts of the UK, as well as a significant and growing number of international students from over 140 countries worldwide.


The University offers more than 600 courses at undergraduate, postgraduate, professional and short course levels, and prides itself on consistently high assessment scores for teaching quality. UWE is a multi-site university. It has three campuses in and around Bristol encompassing fourteen departments covering a wide range of disciplines and expertise. In addition, they also have an associate faculty, Hartpury College and a regional education centre both in Gloucester.


UWE is continually developing and has committed to investing £250m on projects as part of the UWE New Campus Masterplan.

Projects include a new Faculty of Business and Law building, Student' Union building and student accommodation on the Frenchay Campus.


The range of courses offered by the university means they are delivering both the academic learning necessary to gain their qualifications, but through UWE's focus on partnerships and links with major employers, students are provided with opportunities to get real-world experience and develop the skills they need to succeed in their chosen career. 


 ARCHIBUS has been installed at the university for many years and had preceded Richard Kimber’s arrival. Previously, there were numerous spreadsheet solutions developed around the ARCHIBUS software that could have been performed on one database.


“More areas of our business are buying into ARCHIBUS than we expected, for us, that’s a massive bonus”

Friedrich Justin Bertuch,

Bilderbuch für Kinder,

1790-1830 (Eigenbesitz),


Phoenix from the Ashes – Change management exemplified!

After many years of getting moderate use from the system, David Spiller and his team decided to breathe new life into the facilities database that had been created, to get some real value-add from the software. They upgraded from version 18 to the Web Central version 21.2 in January 2015 and defined a clear multi-phase roadmap.



UWE, Facilities use a host of different contractors to manage their varying maintenance demands, as well as managing their own one hundred strong labour force for cleaning and grounds work.


Across the estate they deal with about 40,000 ‘reactive’ work requests per annum, using the ARCHIBUS On Demand application.


Their main contractor, Mitie, handle about 17,000 of these every year and interface with the ARCHIBUS system for approvals using an ‘Email Listening’ solution developed for them by MASS.


“For various in-house reasons, our original version of ARCHIBUS had suffered from serious ‘data neglect’ over a number of years. Therefore we had to work with our users to update the necessary fields before we could upgrade”


Phase 1

Prior to starting the first phase, the database had to be verified and cleaned where necessary. Key to this was establishing common standards for data entry and storage. Typical of this sort of data fixing was the need to standardise on the naming convention.


It was essential to provide unique identities as, for example, ‘2B1’ needed to be understood as ‘2B1’ and not assumed as ‘2B100’, this was achieved by inserting leading zeros. But then the other problem was that ‘2B001’ existed on three of the university sites so the addition of a suffix ensures the unique identity as 2B001-FR being the one on the Frenchay campus.


While this data fixing was time-consuming it was essential to building solid foundations for the future growth of the ARCHIBUS system and seamless integration into the other areas of estates and facilities management at UWE. A fundamental tenet in re-establishing ARCHIBUS was to introduce features gradually to the estates and facilities staff in a controlled fashion that builds on previous successes.

The ‘On Demand’ Building Operations Management (BOM’s) solution was rolled out with the most straightforward user interface to ensure ease of use by the widest number of users and has proved immensely successful given the diversity of IT skills. 


Having gained the trust of users and demonstrated the robustness of their solution Phase 2 is now in progress.

The headline here is - Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) and Asset integration.


  • UWE is working with MASS at the moment to plan how to best integrate their Asset Register into ARCHIBUS, and develop PPM tasks for these. Their asset register consists of over 30,000 assets and is growing every day.
  • The HSE solution developed by MASS, Asbestos MASTER, needs to be integrated into the new platform as they are going to transfer their asbestos register to ARCHIBUS, and will have their dedicated Asbestos contractor manage re-inspections and the register from within the Mass module.
  • Use ARCHIBUS to store employee information, which will link into their IT systems and update information on their telephone directory, based on room information in ARCHIBUS.


“Upgrading to the Web Central environment had a fair amount of user resistance. ARCHIBUS had a reputation for ‘bad data’ and we needed to re-install the faith with ARCHIBUS as the right FM tool for our Institution”




UWE are progressing through their £250 Million development programme very rapidly with the new Students Union building near completion and the Finance, Business and Law complex close behind. As with so many publically funded new build projects Building Information Modelling (BIM) is now the order of the day.




UWE Facilities along with the on-site contractors are striving to be one of the first institutions in the UK to take a BIM project (their new FBL building, part of their ‘UWE campus programme’) from the construction phase all the way through to CAFM system integration.


With 3D integration the BIM database handed over to UWE they can set about exploiting the data link in ARCHIBUS it looks promising that they will, in fact, become one of the first organisations in Europe, and the first in the UK, to carry on the building lifecycle and rapidly deliver operational support to the university. That said, the 3D AUTOCAD Revit environment is relatively new to them, having used mainly 2D CAD to manage their estate so far. They plan to start integrating 3D models with ARCHIBUS as soon as they can. The first milestone for 3D integration will be when the new Students Union building comes on-line in September.

We wish them luck in achieving their goal!


“We upgraded to our new environment just before Christmas 2014, 6 months on - we have started our second phase of module integration. We hope to have the Planned Maintenance, Asset Portal and Asbestos modules up and running in the coming months to replace some existing processes within the business” 


“Web Central has allowed us to adjust the way our Helpdesk functions, and improve service delivery by cutting down on unnecessary administration” 


“Cascading new features (where necessary), via user roles, has meant that everybody is more comfortable with using the application” 


Quotes from—Richard Kimber,

Projects Officer—FM Systems.


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