Coleg Gwent

Client – West Hertfordshire Hospital NHS Trust

Author - Joe Maleczek 

College Facts and Figures - 

  • Over 23,000 students
  • 1,500 staff
  • More than £50 million turnover
  • 5 campuses
  • 1 business centre
  • 1 Welsh language centre
  • A Level pass rate of 97.7%
  • 100% pass rate in 27 A Level subjects
  • A vocational subject pass rate of 97%267 (34.7%) 
  • Extended Diploma students achieved triple Distinctions – the equivalent of 3 A grades at A Level

Driving along the M4 motorway to Wales and just over the Severn Bridge, you’ll come to the picturesque market town of Usk where the Coleg Gwent estates office is based within a beautiful agricultural setting, set amongst the rolling Welsh hills, truly a breath of fresh air. The fully operational farm set in the college’s 296-acre estate and is home to a 200 strong dairy herd, 250 sheep and a range of other farm animals. But the serenity of the environment belies a hive of activity managing a substantial and diverse portfolio of properties and land.



The institution offers a very broad curriculum of academic and

practical courses across its five unique campuses located across the boroughs of Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen - so there’s a whole world of exciting opportunity open to everyone in the local communities.


With over 170 buildings delivering in excess of 75,000 square metres of floor space to support the 1,000 staff in educating in excess of 23,000 students. This extensive and diverse environment is kept safe, secure and operational by the Estates and Facilities team where Alex Anderson and Janet Malkus can be found.


In recent years, Coleg Gwent has won Outstanding Estates Team at the annual TES Further Education Awards.


“It wasn’t just about new buildings – you could see the impact the team was having,” the judges said about Coleg Gwent




The estate's team can also boast award-winning management of health and safety, cutting-edge environmental management and strong partnerships with police, who provide dedicated community support officers for the college.




But what the team prides itself on its customer service, and the judges agreed. They loved the college’s innovative Get It Fixed system, which allows staff on all sites to easily report minor maintenance issues and get feedback on their progress. The judges praised the college’s attention to even the smallest of details.


ARCHIBUS has been used for many years to manage space and provide accurate statistics Government funding and has served them well, but they have recently transformed productivity by upgrading to the latest version of ARCHIBUS Web Central.


Alex knew the system could deliver more and set about defining what he wanted to achieve from it about eighteen months ago. Given the wide set of applications within the ARCHIBUS suite, Alex determined that the area where the best cost-benefit could be realised was by rigorous attention to delivering the best reactive Help Desk.


Only when he and his team had clearly mapped the workflows did they invite Mass to present their solution.

Mark Little at Mass, demonstrated what could be achieved with the ARCHIBUS system, and working with the team at Coleg Gwent it was concluded that an upgrade to the latest version of the application would realise the best efficiencies without compromising the effectiveness of the solution.


That solution involved moving to the ARCHIBUS Web Central

‘On Demand’ application which was implemented by December 2015, and already by using the new application, Alex and Janet can see more areas for enhancement and opportunities to improve.


Compared with many other educational institutions, budgets at Coleg Gwent are hard fought and every investment has to be fully justified in terms of cost/benefit and then fully exploited to return maximum Value For Money. Given these constraints, the ambitions of the estate's office to deliver

maximum effectiveness as perceived by their customers,

the staff, students and suppliers are being realised through creative solutions supported by the commercial and technical staff at Mass. 


Apart from Space Management and On Demand Help Desk, the team are actively developing their AutoCAD Revit and BIM capabilities to comply with Government directives on public buildings documentation, and are in consultation with other educational establishments that have implemented solutions using the comprehensive links between BIM / Revit and ARCHIBUS.


Paramount to the success of their system implementation was the ability to accurately measure the performance of craftspeople and assets used. The ARCHIBUS system is beginning to deliver exactly the information needed to facilitate truly accurate and informed property and facilities management decision making…in a more timely way than the reams of the spreadsheets, they had relied on in the past.


Critical to the maintenance of the five campuses are the caretakers at each site who have in the past been engaged to resolve any problems either by contact through email or in person by staff or students as they went about other tasks in the buildings.

The caretakers have access to three teams of professionals to address building fabric, mechanical and electrical issues.


 The Buildings and Mechanical support are delivered either by the caretakers or through measured term contractors while the

Electrical engineering is delivered from an in-house service. One problem in measuring performance in the old email / catch them in the corridor system was the reliance on the caretakers’ memory and the rationalisation of the emails. One job may involve a ‘conversation’ over several emails to progress a solution, while two or more jobs could have been resolved with only one email and sign-off to show for it.             

ARCHIBUS ‘On Demand’ now facilitates the clear job tracking of events and solutions by all of the caretakers.


Within the creative solution realised at Coleg Gwent, the caretakers are a ‘virtual help desk’ receiving, resolving, progressing and signing off work themselves so removing the staff intensive and potential bottleneck in a typical  ‘X’ structured help desk-centric scenario. The shorter reporting and free flow lines between staff, caretakers and craftspeople are remotely supervised on the ARCHIBUS system by Janet to ensure cost efficiencies and effective remedies are realised across the different campuses to benefit Coleg Gwent as a whole.

To realise further efficiencies in delivering maintenance and facilities support service, it was clear that substantial gains could be made if the craftspeople and caretakers were equipped with a mobile ARCHIBUS solution. The implementation had to be carefully considered to minimise impact to some of the more tactile and somewhat ICT sceptical team members.

A suitable pilot environment was found by equipping the in-house electrical engineering team with a tablet solution. The Electrician opens work, logs parts waiting and other delays, and takes photographs to attach to the electronic ticket for safety and certification etc. and closes the job.




The portability, flexibility and autonomy provided by the ability to log into the ARCHIBUS system remotely and to manage the complete process from trouble ticket to solution signoff were fully embraced and valuable statistics from this pilot will hopefully fuel adoption by the Buildings and Mechanical engineers.



Ultimately success in facilities management is measured by realising KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) within ever more stringent SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) and ARCHIBUS is providing the control mechanism to make that happen.


Looking to the future Alex’s team has identified the following areas for development:


  • Linking to the finance system, but the degree of granularity has to be considered in terms of cost /benefit before proceeding
  • There are still spreadsheets that need to be absorbed into the ARCHIBUS system and it is an ongoing and gradual/measured process to ensure adoption and success
  • They are finding that the more that goes into the system the greater the accuracy and the better the management of assets - as well as freeing up the FM team to develop future creative solutions


Every six week Alex meets with the directors of each of the campuses to discuss service delivery and customer satisfaction and the ARCHIBUS solution is increasingly providing the detail to drive the objectivity of the discussions.


The move to Web Central was a big one and only through careful planning and the dedication of the MASS Tech Support team, Mark Little in particular, did it work.



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