Building opening and out of hours policy

Updated on 1 September 2022

This policy applies only to the City Campus buildings. Access to Ninewells campus is available 24/7 with swipe access controls to secure areas. Access to Kirkcaldy is limited to building opening hours which are managed locally.

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This policy applies only to the City campus buildings.

Access to Ninewells campus is available 24/7 with swipe access controls to secure areas. Access to Kirkcaldy is limited to building opening hours, which are managed locally. Access to the Riverside playing fields and the Botanic Gardens is also by local arrangement and details can be found on their webpages.

In our journey to become Scotland’s leading university we must maximise the opportunities for staff and students to be creative, and to share and apply their knowledge. However, in doing so we must not lose sight of our duty of care to staff, students and visitors.

The University of Dundee recognises the risks to personal safety when staff, students and visitors are within its premises or walking around it’s campuses and our duty of care requires us to manage these risks which include assault, intimidation, verbal abuse and injuries from accidents and fires. We are also now required to manage outbreaks of Covid-19 and therefore this policy has been updated to reflect these concerns and the new ways of working that are relevant and have been introduced in response to government rules and guidance.

This policy retains its objective of setting out core hours for building use, and the requirements to be put in place regarding CCTV, swipe access, fire alarms, and access out with core hours.

Core Hour times on City campus

The Core Hours of all City campus buildings are 08:00 to 18:30, Monday to Friday during the main semester dates, as set out by University Court.

Non-Core Hours are all other times out with these dates and times, including weekends, non-semester weeks, national holidays, rest days and campus closure dates (e.g. Christmas closures).

It is recognised that there are some specific academic courses that run out with the main semester dates (e.g. medicine, some taught post grad programmes). These are considered as part of this policy and are accommodated in the principles laid out below.

Out of Hour times on City campus

UG and TPG students are not permitted to access buildings unsupervised. They only have access to buildings as set out in Appendix A.

The out of hours policy is applicable up to 22:00 each weekday and applies to PGR and member of University of Dundee staff. Access at weekends is not permitted unless stated below or related to a specific event, which must be agreed in advance with Security.

After 22:00 all staff and PGR students must leave the buildings when instructed to do so by Campus Security Officers.

Weekend access is exceptional and only permitted in some buildings.

Institutional Closure Days

Institutional Closure Days occur in the period between Christmas and New Year. They do not include designated Rest Days, which are treated as a normal working day.

With the exception of the Main Library, all buildings will be closed to staff and students, and access to property will be entirely prohibited, unless a staff member is deemed to have Critical Access status as detailed below.

Exceptional arrangements can be put in place with prior agreement between the Dean / Director and the Director of Estates and Campus Services in advance. This would also require exceptional relevant protocols being approved and supported by relevant Risk Assessments.

The only exception to this approach is the Main Library, which operates a separate opening hours policy throughout the Institutional Closure Dates as the building is always appropriately staffed for this purpose. The Main Library opening times are published on its webpage. Any Staff and Student types can access this building on Intuitional Closure Days.

Types of user

Critical Access Status

Critical Access Status is given to specific staff who can access buildings on Institutional Closure Days. This is not the same as Essential Worker Status which was a term used only during the Government instructed lockdown periods of the pandemic (see below).

Staff who have Critical Access Status are allowed to enter buildings on Institutional Closure Days. These are defined as:

  • Estates and Campus Services staff who are permitted access to all buildings across the campus to ensure critical maintenance works and safety protocols are completed.
  • Technical staff supporting the Resource Units who are permitted essential access to the SLS complex .
  • Named Staff who are helping with Weekly Flushing or supporting the ECS staff in their annual maintenance duties. Access will be activated by exception. These individuals will be identified and approved in advance.
  • Named staff or PGR who are approved for access to complete essential and location specific research (e.g. check an experiment in a lab). These individuals will be identified and approved in advance.

No other staff are allowed to access the campus on Institutional Closure days except to the Main Library.

Essential Worker Status

At this time, the Essential Worker Status is suspended.

Essential Worker Status was created during the 2020 global pandemic and was defined as staff who were deemed to have a critical role in the running of University Operations relating to health, safety and welfare (e.g. Campus Security Officers, Trades staff, Student Support, Resource Unit Staff) or were involved in critical research activities (e.g. Covid research). This was in force at a time when the Government mandated home working as the only option, and prohibited travel to work.

Essential Worker Status enabled named staff to attend their place of work on campus for specific time periods with access limited to specific properties.

In the event of another campus shut down similar to the scenario in 2020 or another type of mass emergency, the definition of an Essential Woker may be adjusted and consideration will be given to those that it applies to. Communications will be sent separately on the official University channels if this were to happen again.

Emergency Access

In the event of an emergency out of hours, Security will work with the relevant individual(s) to arrange access as required (e.g. the Silver or Gold Command). If an individual requires emergency access at Bronze Level they should contact the Security office in advance of their arrival on campus to discuss arrangements. No one should enter any buildings in an emergency without safety arrangements being put in place.


Deans and Directors are responsible for the personal safety of staff, students and visitors in their area at all times.

New protocols have been introduced in this document which must be followed at all times and require input from each School and Directorate.

Deans and Directors must ensure that all building users are aware of the core opening hours and that the new protocols are followed to enable any out of hours access. This can ONLY be granted to Research Postgraduates and Staff (including Associate Staff).

Under no circumstances can Undergraduates, Taught Postgraduates or visitors be given access without an appropriate University of Dundee staff member or an ECS appointed building supervisor being present.

Deans and Directors must ensure that all access protocols are followed. They can delegate authority to manage this to Line Managers, noting that the new protocols will capture the details of all approvers who agree to take responsibility for access.

As part of the new protocols, Deans and Directors must ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place to manage foreseeable events such as fire, accidents and illness. Examples of such measures include local arrangements for approved fire evacuation protocols, adequate cover of fire wardens at any given time, and robust building occupation management (such as signing in and out for visitors). School/Directorate Health and Safety advisers must be consulted regarding arrangements. Where there is no dedicated H&S Advisor, Schools and Directorates should seek support from the central Health & Safety Team.

There is a continued requirement for Test & Protect information to be collected as part of the management of Covid-19 outbreaks. This is the responsibility of any person organising any group activity or meeting in the building, including those where visitors or members of the public are present. Tools such as attendance monitoring, room bookings information, registers and calendar notices in diaries can be used. If requested, you must be able to demonstrate who was in a building at a particular time.

Staff and Research Postgraduates

If access is required out with Core Hours, Staff and Postgraduate Students should follow the new Out of Hours Access Protocol at least one week in advance of their intended access.

Staff and Research Postgraduate students will be given access to buildings they work in during normal building opening hours up to 18:30. To stay beyond this time, staff and PGR students who wish to have arrangements to work late, must read the Lone Working policy and complete the registration.

Once this has been approved by their line manager, confirmation should be emailed to security along with any relevant additional Risk Assessments and any relevant PEEPs where these apply. The applicants card will then be activated to allow weekday access up to 22:00, noting that there is an emergency access protocol (above) that can be used if there is an unforeseen issue.

The Scottish Government may impose additional restrictions as they provide guidance on the management of Covid-19 and the University is committed to complying with these protocols. As such, if the Scottish Government require the University to restrict access, this will override any previously agreed access arrangements. Staff and Research Postgraduates are advised to be prepared to work from home at short notice so they can respond appropriately to any emerging situations.

If a member of Staff or a Research Postgraduate student is given access to work out of hours they must ensure they have the necessary keys and, if applicable, intruder alarm codes which should never be shared with other people. ID cards must be worn at all times so that they can be easily identified by Campus Security patrols and other staff. Staff and Postgraduates must never invite other users to their spaces unless they are specifically identified in a risk assessment approved by the relevant Dean or Director.

Mandatory Risk Assessment

The new Out of Hours Access Protocol obligates a Dean or Director to ensure that there is a specific and appropriate risk assessment undertaken in accordance with the University’s Lone Working Policy. This applies to any time that staff or Postgraduate Research students are likely to be working alone, regardless of when they are at work. This duty may be delegated to a suitable person, identified in the Risk Assessment, but the Dean or Director will maintain overall responsibility for the assessment being completed.

Where applicable, the assessment should be completed with input from the local Health & Safety Adviser. The assessment must be reviewed periodically and immediately if issues likely to affect the risk arise (for example, developing medical problems which could make lone working a risk).

Undergraduates, Taught Postgraduates & Visitors

Undergraduates, Taught Postgraduates and Visitors are only allowed access to specific buildings beyond Core Hours as per the details in Appendix A. This approach ensures that any of these building user types are appropriately supervised at all times. Under no circumstances must Undergraduates, Taught Postgraduates, or Visitors be given access to other buildings out with Core Hours either by having their cards activated, or with additional issued keys. Failure to follow this rule may result in disciplinary action and access being limited during any investigations.

If you have an exceptional request for support out of hours for these stakeholders, you must contact Security with as much notice as possible in advance to discuss safety measures and develop a risk assessment.

Remaining at Work during Out Of Hours

The Security Team will seek to close all buildings from 18:30 each weekday and they will remain closed all weekend (with exceptions noted for those buildings in Appendix A).

Access to most of our buildings is on swipe cards now. If a request for a building to remain open is received and approved, this property will be left open for use by those making the request subject to all protocols being satisfied.

Assuming staff and PGR students have registered for lone and out of hours working, they will be permitted access. Security may ask for proof of permissions by checking names against the Out of Hours Access permissions logs.

All people will be required to leave when instructed to do so by the Security Team. Failure to do so can lead to disciplinary action.

Procedures for Leaving University Premises

All Staff and research Postgraduate Students are responsible for security and safety in the area they are working. When they leave they must:

  1. Ensure all equipment not specifically needing to be left powered up in the working area is switched off (including office lights, fans, heaters, photocopiers, etc) and lock up cupboards, key cabinets and office doors.
  2. Before leaving, any faults on equipment or services failure should be reported to the Security Control Centre who will contact the relevant on-call engineer for advice.
  3. Set all alarms as required.
  4. Exit the building via the main entrance and ensure that all doors are properly closed behind them. Do not use fire escapes during Out of Hours.

Withdrawal of Privileges

Where any member of staff or student is found to have contravened the Out of Hours Access Policy or procedures, access may be suspended immediately and identity cards and keys may be confiscated. A report will be submitted to the Dean of School or Director / Head of Department for formal investigation, possibly resulting in management or disciplinary procedures.

Loss / Theft of Keys

Any loss or theft of keys must be reported to Security staff immediately.

Any loss or theft of University identity cards must be reported to the Dean of School or Director / Head of Department immediately so that local building management systems can delete the card details.

Staff Welfare

The Dean or Director must also give consideration to the Working Time Directive; in particular to staff health and welfare in relation to the number of hours worked by individuals. If staff are required to work excessive hours on a regular basis, a review of workloads should be undertaken in consultation with the relevant staff member. Trade Unions may be consulted where applicable.

Where the nature of the work requires health surveillance or the applicant has a condition that may impair their ability to work alone safely, the University Occupational Health Service is to be consulted. Where an individual has disclosed that they have accessibility issues, a Risk Assessment and a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) must be carried out. A copy of the PEEP should be forwarded to the Security Control Centre by the Dean or Director (or other delegated responsible person) and a further copy should be passed to the local health and safety adviser where applicable.


Events are managed by exception and requests for events in premises outwith normal building opening times and/or events that require additional supervision to be provided (fire wardens, fire marshalls, receptionists, additional security) may incur charges to cover costs.

City campus building opening times

Any building not listed below

  • Monday to Friday
    • 08:00 - 18:30 - Undergraduates, Taught Postgraduates, Visitors
    • 08:00 - 22:00 - Research Postgraduates, Staff
  • Weekend
    • No access at other times without other separate arrangements which should include recharge costs for any security / supervision.

Tower Building

  • Monday to Friday
    • 08:00 -19:00 - Undergraduates, Taught Postgraduates, Visitors
    • 08:00 - 22:00 - Research Postgraduates, Staff
  • Weekend
    • No access at other times without other separate arrangements which should include recharge costs for any security / supervision.

Dalhousie Building

  • Monday to Friday
    • 08:00 - 21:00 - Semester
    • 08:00 - 18:30 - Non-Semester
  • Weekend
    • Closed
  • Special Events (Monday - Friday) outwith Semester period may run up to 21:00 if booked through Estates/Conferencing.

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (Matthew and Crawford Buildings)

  • Monday to Friday
    • 08:00 - 21:00
    • Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught, and Visitor access during term time only
  • Saturday
    • 08:00 - 17:00
    • Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught, and Visitor access during term time only
  • Sunday
    • Closed

Main Library

See Library webpages for details

Life Sciences Complex

including: Medical Sciences Institute, Wellcome Trust Biocentre, Discovery Centre, Sir James Black Building, 1 James Lyndsey Place (formerly Cyclacel)

Staff / Postgraduate Research

  • Access available 24/7 via authorised ID card

Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught, and Visitor

  • Monday to Friday
    • 08:00 - 21:00
    • Undergraduate / Postgraduate Taught / Visitor access during term time only
  • Weekend
    • Closed

Bonar Hall

Daytime management by DUSA

  • Undergraduate students have access unsupervised 18:00 - 22:00 so long as
    • booking approved by DUSA / University Clubs and Societies protocol
    • access is for groups of 3 or more (including at least 1 member of the club / society)
    • at least one committee member present must have completed the DUSA fire / first aid training before booking


Daytime management by Chaplaincy staff

  • Out of hours access by staff, students, and members of the public by prior arrangement only including
    • signed occupancy agreement
    • agreement to terms and conditions
    • induction with Chaplaincy staff
Corporate information category Health and safety