In 2019 there was significant negative press and political comment relating to students who had been affected by their rooms not being ready for occupancy and, as a result of that the National Codes agreed, at the request of the Minister of State for Higher Education (following a roundtable with Minister held on student accommodation Monday 28th October 2019) to give this matter a higher profile within the Codes. This resulted in:

a new Protocol relating to new buildings becoming active for summer 2020

  • following the introduction of the Protocol the National Code Coordinator monitored all new buildings falling within the ANUK/Unipol Codes over the summers of 2020 and 2021.
  • working with DLUHC, increased financial compensation for students affected, together with a tightening of the Code provisions and these proposals currently await parliamentary approval but are likely to come into force in January 2022.

These measures have led to considerable improvements. The National Codes also changed its focus from buildings to the number of students affected by late construction. Details of the Protocol and requirements around New and Late Buildings can be found in the Code document

Analysis 2021

60 new buildings were due to come on line in 2021. 5 of those buildings were sufficiently late to re re-timetabled and they will not now come on line until 2022. In 2020 there were 87 new buildings and 15 of those were sufficiently late to not come on line until 2021. These retimed developments affected no students.

The 55 buildings that came on line in 2021 provided 18,579 additional bed spaces. 19 buildings were affected by some delays but only 2,026 students were affected by this, around 10.9% of the total.

In 2020 of the 72 buildings that opened with 21,299 bed spaces, 22 were affected by delays and 2,132 students were directly affected, 10 of the total.


Although Unipol does not keep central figures on new buildings falling under the UniversitiesUK Code, the general impression is that almost all new buildings, providing additional bed spaces, fall under the Private Providers Code. Where universities are undertaking some limited development this often involved refurbishing and replacing existing stock.

The new development pipeline has slightly slowed in both 2020 and 2021 coming down from around 25,000 bed spaces in 2019, to 21,000 in 2020 to 19,000 in 2020 (figures rounded to the nearest 1,000). In 2022 this is likely to rise to around 25,000 additional bed spaces.

Although supply issues, Covid infections and rising costs have been experienced, 2021 has seen most building delivered on time.

Communication with students has improved with the vast majority of students being informed as soon as a problem was detected. Only a handful of building delays took students by surprise.

Regulatory compliance is checked as soon as a building comes on line and all buildings were compliant.

Financial compensation offered to students for inconvenience has also improved, many companies basing this on the forthcoming provisions of the new National Code for 2022.