Planning for resilience

The safety of our students, faculty, and staff is UBC’s first priority. Since 1994, UBC has been actively working with external engineering partners to assess, plan, and improve the Vancouver campus in preparation for a major seismic event.

Since 2012, UBC has invested over $200 million in seismic upgrades. During this time there have been significant new scientific developments — including the increased understanding of the active faults in the Pacific Northwest — as well as a number of global earthquakes that have revealed previously unknown building deficiencies resulting in new, enhanced building codes. Along with this evolution of seismic science, best practice thinking around resilience, risk assessment, and the ability of a major public institution like UBC to respond to a natural disaster like an earthquake has evolved. Bringing the plan to a level that reflects this best practice is a primary consideration.

Working with ARUP, a world leader in resilience

To make the best next steps for the university, in 2016 UBC hired ARUP, a multi-national professional services company, to provide a comprehensive review. The goal was to create a prioritized action plan for the buildings, utilities, and operations of our campus using the work of UBC’s preeminent seismic researchers as well as the most current thinking in seismic engineering, building resilience, and business continuity.

Our vision is to partner our building efforts with the Emergency Management efforts of Safety & Risk Services and leading researchers at UBC to pursue the creation a disaster-resilient university, one that is able to withstand impacts of possible hazard events without harm to people, unacceptable losses to property, or interruptions to our mission.

Our updated road map and vision was approved by the UBC Board of Governors in June 2016. In April of 2017, we provided the Board with a progress report outlining activities to date. We returned in September 2017 with a detailed report outlining a recommended approach for buildings, operations, and utilities. In 2019 we returned to the Board with a more detailed picture and a conceptual plan for the long term upgrading and renewal of highest risk campus buildings, non-structural upgrading, utilities, and various operational matters.

Read the 2019 Board Report for Seismic Resilience Plan

There has been significant progress on the majority of the key actions noted in the 2019 Seismic Resilience Plan Report to the Board of Governors, aimed to improve UBC’s seismic resiliency within its logistical and financial constraints across the short, medium and long-term planning horizons. A detailed progress update was presented to the Board of Governors in September 2022.

Read the 2022 Board Report for Seismic Resilience Plan