The University of Edinburgh

Client – Edinburgh University 

Author - Joe Maleczek 

University Mission -

"We discover, develop and share knowledge.

As a centre of academic excellence we aim to:

  • provide the highest-quality research-led teaching and learning;
  • challenge the boundaries of knowledge, research and disciplines;
  • enable our graduates and staff to be exceptional individuals equipped to address global challenges;
  • promote good health, economic growth, cultural understanding and social well-being."


Web-Based Technology; An Educated Choice

“The single integrated database provides easy-to-use information, not only for Estates and Buildings staff but also for staff throughout the University via the Web-interfaces” - Lesley Weaver, EBIS and Management Information Services Team Leader University of Edinburgh


The University of Edinburgh is using 21st Century technology to help manage the estates and buildings at its historic 530,000 square metre site in the heart of the city. The Estates & Buildings Information System (EBIS), based on market-leading technology supplied by MASS is being used to provide facilities, financial, space and asset management information to all departments via the Intranet.



The University estate comprises more than 200 major academic buildings, plus residential halls and flats for more than 5,000 students. In addition, there are 1,700 hectares of open space used as playing fields, agricultural land and landscaped areas. The Estates and Buildings Department manages these properties and land and employs 750 staff, plus external contractors. The development of EBIS in partnership with Mass stemmed from the University’s requirement for a fully integrated and accurate estates database. 



EBIS comprises a range of fully functional web-based applications for Space Utilisation, Room Booking, Building Maintenance Management, Helpdesk and Project Cost Accounting. Wireless technology is also being used to track estates and buildings information remotely.


EBIS is generating considerable business benefits for the University in terms of increased efficiency, improved customer service and cost savings.


Operational achievements with EBIS to date include:

  • System access by 100 core users and 700 authorised web users
  • 98% of recurring room requests made via the Internet
  • 80% of all reactive job requests carried out via the Internet
  • 6.5 million square feet 530,000 m² of space being managed
  • Over 830 drawings in the system
  • More than 51,000 helpdesk jobs processed annually
  • Over 16,000 purchase orders and invoice issued annually
  • 600,000 rooms booked
  • Over 400 active projects managed


These achievements emphasise the very widespread adoption of the Internet-enabled system, which has resulted in considerable benefits all round.


Stage two involved contract ordering, invoice processing, reactive maintenance, timesheets and stores control followed together with a University-wide Web-based repair network.


Lesley Weaver, EBIS and Management Information Services Team Leader explains that “the single integrated database will provide easy-to-use information, not only for Estates and Buildings staff but also for staff throughout the University via the Web-interfaces. EBIS  interfaces with the finance system for organisation information; the personnel system for staff details, and the Student Records system for details of courses and registration numbers.”


  • Information is ready and available for all staff
  • Accurate and up to date data is assured
  • Customer Service has been improved
  • The system is state of the art, easy to use and requires minimal support
  • Working practices have been improved


EBIS Web-enabled Project Cost.



Furthermore, EBIS has generated some major strategic benefits:


  • The University has targeted to reduce its occupied space by 10% by using EBIS
  • Strategic information can generate much more quickly and easily
  • Stock levels have been reduced giving an initial saving of £80,000
  • Substantial savings on the cost of paper and forms have been made
  • Budgets are more tightly controlled


In recognition of these achievements, MASS and The University of Edinburgh won the e-Business category at the PFM Awards 2004 that took place in November 2004.


"MASS and the University of Edinburgh demonstrated how they have formed a true alliance and partnership approach, delivering a web-based technology solution. The EBIS System – has generated substantial and quantifiable benefits”.

Judges comments from PFM Awards (courtesy of PFM)


As a result of the partnership agreement with MASS, EBIS is available to other educational establishments who can benefit from this powerful system at a very advantageous price. 


A ‘spin-off’ of EBIS has also been developed to address the financial control aspects of facilities and estates management for a wider user base. This module, named Building Financial Control (BFC), has been successfully installed in several public and private sector organisations.


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