MANAGEMENT

UK’s Robertson Group to manage Teesside facilities until 2026

SOURCE: Teeside University
What does it take to maintain a university?

The work maintaining a university requires great attention to detail, round-the-clock effort and a dedicated team. 

Those that do a great job of it are the reasons why students and faculty are able to function in safe and clean environments, with equipment that’s always serviced, windows and hallways always cleaned, grounds always well-maintained and security personnel always ready to step up when they’re needed the most. 

Despite playing a pivotal role in keeping a university running at its optimal best, facilities management rarely ever receives the kudos it deserves in conversations about the business of higher education.

Often, these conversations would center on academic matters such as the quality of teaching and research and student outcomes, as well as the wider commercial aspects, ie. the business of recruitment, marketing efforts or knowledge exchange partnerships that help stimulate economic activities outside the university ecosystem.

Rarely do these conversations discuss the cost and work that goes into creating and maintaining the environment in which these activities are allowed to flourish.

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Yet, without good service providers, university assets from lecture theatres to classrooms, laboratories, libraries, dormitories and everything else in between would fall very quickly into disrepair, racking up repair bills that, over time, would run in the millions.

What then would this do to a university’s reputation?

Teeside University graduation
Painstaking effort goes into keeping the lights on at universities. Source: Teesside University

With so much at stake, it’s critical for universities to have a high-functioning and intuitive facility management team to help them keep the lights on. 

In Middlesbrough, North East England, Teesside University has found such a team in Robertson, one of the UK’s largest family-owned construction, infrastructure and support services businesses.

In an announcement this week, the university confirmed it was extending its service delivery agreement with the firm for a further seven years until 2026.

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With the new contract, Robertson will continue to carry out soft facilities management (soft FM), security and catering services at a number of university buildings, including Fusion Hive in Stockton and the Centre for Professional and Executive Development in Darlington, according to Facilities Management Journal.

The firm will also provide support to the National Horizons Centre, a brand new £22.3 million facility at the university’s campus at Central Part, Darlington. The facility, financed by the Local Growth Fund, provides industry-informed programmes in the bioscience sector and aims to deliver the teaching, research and industrial collaborations necessary to drive the Tees Valley economy.

Robertson’s Operations Director Jon Oxley credited the successful extension of the contract to his team’s hard work and dedication in servicing its past contract. According to the firm, it provides a suite of services to the university, including soft and hard FM, as well as grounds maintenance.

Teeside University
Teesside University has extended its service delivery contract with Robertson for 7 years. Source: Teesside University

At Central Halls in the school’s Middlesbrough campus which comprises 75 individual apartments with 386 single student rooms, the firm provides 24/7 security, concierge and cleaning services. 

At The Forge, a training and consultancy centre at the school’s Darlington campus, a 10-member team provides grounds maintenance and soft FM services such as cleaning, catering, security and caretaking, as well as overseeing the delivery of waste management, sanitary services, pest control and window cleaning, among others.

At Fusion Hive on Stockton’s Northshore, Robertson provides front-of-house, finance and hospitality services, as well as grounds maintenance.

“The team has worked extremely hard over the past five years to ensure our services have been carried out to the highest standards and to build such a strong partnership relationship with our customer. These efforts have resulted in a successful extension of our contract with Teesside University,” Oxley said.

“I’m delighted to have extended the contract and hope that this partnership continues for many years to come.”

Darren Vipond, Director of Campus Services at Teesside University, added: “We are delighted to extend our partnership with Robertson and look forward to continuing to work with them.

“In particular the National Horizons Centre will be an important addition to our Darlington campus and will play a major role in helping to grow the economy of the Tees Valley and beyond.”