TEFMA Benchmark Survey FAQs

What is the annual benchmark survey?

TEFMA conducts an extensive annual benchmarking survey of its member institutions to gather comparative costs and performance data for a range of facilities management operations. The results are shared with the participating membership, and a summary is provided to the Australian and New Zealand Federal Governments to assist in their planning and analysis activities.

Why does TEFMA undertake the annual benchmark survey?
TEFMA undertakes the annual benchmark survey to support its members in their planning and resource management activities, to ensure they are informed of sector trends and have a means of comparing service delivery models and expenditure across a range of operations; and to demonstrate value for money to their Executive and leadership teams.

Who determines what data is collected?
TEFMA works with the UA and UNZ in addition to the Australian and New Zealand Federal Governments to develop standard metrocs to measure the performance of highed education facilities.  Members can request additional metrics for consideration by TEFMA for inclusion in future surveys.

Who are the main survey stakeholders?
The principal stakeholders in the survey are the member institutions of TEFMA.

TEFMA has a contract with the Australian Federal Government to provide the survey results to them. TEFMA also has strategic relationships with APPA in North America, AUDE in the United Kingdom and HEFMA in South Africa and over time aims to establish international benchmarks with these partners. 
TEFMA’s Business Partners and Affiliates are also identified as stakeholders.

How long has TEFMA been undertaking management of the survey?
TEFMA has been undertaking member surveys since 1993. The survey has developed in complexity and gained credibility over the past two decades, with its results now widely referenced as a significant source of valuable information on facilities management of higher education property portfolios. A comprehensive database exists, representing over 25 years’ of data to demonstrate trends in growth, resourcing and expenditure.

Who participates in the survey?
Higher education institutions from Australia and New Zealand are the main participants in the survey, however Hong Kong and Fiji are also represented. In 2020, over 50 institutions took part in the survey, covering over 14,000,000 square metres of gross floor area (GFA).

Who manages the survey?
The survey is managed by TEFMA’s Information Services Committee (ISC), supported by the TEFMA Secretariat and specialist consultants for data management submission, validation and publication through the online tools.

Is participation mandatory?
Participation in the survey is not mandatory however it is highly recommended as it enables all member institutions to contribute to and compare their data, enabling informed decision making for their institutions.

How is the survey undertaken?
TEFMA begins the process by requesting each participating institution nominate a single point of contact to gather and input data. A programme for submission is provided to ensure survey dates are adhered to – this is also published on the TEFMA website. The nominee is given access to the Online Data Collection Tool – data is collected within each institution and approved by the Institutional Member (IM) prior to submission. Once the collection process is completed, data validation checks are undertaken by the TEFMA-appointed specialist consultants. The data is then published through the Online Benchmark Reporting Tool.

What is the annual programme of data collection and publication?
Generally, the process begins in March with the Call for Nominees and the opening of the Online Data Collection Tool. Institutions are given approximately 6 weeks to gather and submit their data. Following the data validation process, the Online Benchmark Reporting Tool is made available in June/July* of each year.
* the 2020 survey dates were adjusted to provide flexibility to members impacted by COVID-19.

Who has access to institutional data?
During the data collection and validation process, the survey management consultants can access the data in the online data collection tool to carry out data validation. Members of the ISC may also access the data to assist in the validation process. All are subject to the Survey Confidentiality Conditions.
Following publication of the Online Benchmark Reporting Tool, Institutional Members are given access to the tool and may choose to share that access with others in their teams. Prior to accessing the Tool, all users must read and agree to the Survey Confidentiality Conditions.
A summary report (de-identified) is also prepared for Business Partners, Business Partners, Affiliate Members and non-participating Institutional Members annually. Members must have held financial membership during the previous financial year to qualify.

How do I get access to the benchmarking tool?
TEFMA provides each Institutional Member (IM) with a unique username and password via email to access the benchmarking tool. For access, please contact your IM in the first instance.

How can I use the benchmarking tool for reporting?
The benchmarking tool can be used in a number of ways to provide comparisons of year-on-year change within an institution, and across a group of institutions, for example by state or by institutional grouping such as Regional Universities Network (RUN).
The TEFMA Benchmark Survey Webinar demonstrating the capabilities of the benchmark tool can be viewed here by members - https://www.tefma.com/resources/recording-tefma-annual-benchmark-survey-webinar-thursday-9th-march-2017 (TEFMA login required).

Who can I share reports with?
Member institutions can share reports within their own immediate organisations. There are confidentiality conditions in place regarding use of the benchmarking tool. It is expected Member institutions will:

  • Respect the copyright and confidentiality of the TEFMA benchmark data and not disclose its contents to any person or organisation outside of the member institution.
  • Not release the institutional member report beyond the immediate Facilities organisation.
  • Ensure that data released beyond the Facilities Management group but within the member institution, is understood to be commercial-in-confidence, highly sensitive and not to be shared further.

Is my data/information safe?
Yes.  TEFMA has a Contractor Agreement in place with the Australian Survey Research Group (ASR) who manage the software for the benchmark tool.  In addition, any third party contractors engaged by TEFMA are required to sign a Confidentiality Agreement prior to data being shared. They must agree to only use the confidential information for the express purpose they have been engaged, and must not share information with anyone other than approved person/s.
All institutions must acknowledge the Confidentiality Agreement prior to being granted access to the reporting tool, and only those who have undertaken the benchmark will have access to the data for that relevant year via a unique URL with individual logins.  Access is only granted to members via contacting the TEFMA Secretariat or receiving the same from the Institutional Member of their institution. 
In all other instances, only deidentified data will be shared with third parties, if deemed necessary and agreed to by the Information Services Committee.     

Does TEFMA still produce a pdf report of benchmarking data?
An annual summary report is produced for Business Partners, etc., however the Online Benchmark Reporting Tool superseded the pdf report that was produced up until 2017. The flexibility of the tool enables a much greater range of reporting and analysis to be undertaken than a summary report can offer.

How do I suggest improvements to the data collection process or categories?
TEFMA undertakes regular updates and improvements to the survey as the result of member and user feedback. TEFMA also works with UA and UNZ in addition to the Australian and New Zealand Federal Governments to develop standard metrics to measure the performance of higher education facilities. Please contact TEFMA Secretariat at info@tefma.com in the first instance if you have suggestions about the survey.

Who owns the rights to the TEFMA survey?
Rights to the intellectual property of the TEFMA Benchmark and all copies made thereof remain vested in TEFMA Inc.

How does my institution become a survey participant?
If you represent a higher education institution in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, or further afield, please contact the TEFMA Secretariat at info@tefma.com.

Who do I contact for further information on benchmarking?
For further information on TEFMA’s benchmarking activities, please contact TEFMA Secretariat at info@tefma.com.

These conditions pertain to data collected for the purpose of compiling the TEFMA Benchmark Report.

TEFMA will:

  • Treat all information received from Member Institutions as confidential and will not, without the prior written consent of the Member Institution, use or disclose any confidential information to any person or organisation, other than for the specific purpose for which it was collected.
  • Ensure that summary reports released to Affiliated Institutions, Affiliates, Honorary Associates, Emeritus Associates, Business Partners and/or Individuals, defined under Section D of the TEFMA By-Laws, or published from time to time will be in aggregate form that prevents the identification of data provided by individual member institutions.
  • Ensure all consultants and/or contractors who are engaged by TEFMA from time to time, who require access to the benchmark data, will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement to ensure that (i) benchmark data is not retained by them beyond the term of their engagement, (ii) data is only used for the purposes for which the consultant and/or contractor is engaged, and (iii) data is not directly or indirectly disclosed to any person not involved with the engagement.

Member Institutions will:

  • Respect the copyright and confidentiality of the TEFMA benchmark data and not disclose its contents to any person or organisation outside of the member institution
  • Not release the institutional member report beyond the immediate Facilities organisation.
  • Ensure that data released beyond the Facilities Management group but within the member institution, is understood to be commercial-in-confidence, highly sensitive and not to be shared further.
  • Rights in the intellectual property in the TEFMA Benchmark and all copies made thereof will remain vested in TEFMA Inc.