Welcome to Facilities Today

Just over a year ago, I took on the new role of Associate Vice-President, Facilities here at UBC. Now that the Facilities group — comprised of Building Operations, Energy & Water Services, and Infrastructure Development — has been in place for almost 18 months, I decided that one way I could help everyone on our team see what these transitions mean is to start a simple blog series. I plan to write regularly to share my perspective on our team’s great work and occasionally invite guest writers to tell stories from across the Facilities group.

One of the main reasons the Facilities group was created was to ensure that we plan, design, construct and operate UBC facilities in an integrated and strategic manner. Looking back, I can see many positive signs that we are meeting our objective:

  1. We have brought a full lifecycle perspective to the design of new buildings and major renovations. Closer engagement between our departments is already improving operational start-up and on-going reliability and maintainability of our facilities.
  2. We have collaborated to develop a lifecycle model which evaluates the financial and sustainability impacts of new building projects. This helps us to make decisions that will improve new building performance and reduce lifecycle operating costs.
  3. Our routine capital steering committee is ensuring that our capital renewal investments in existing buildings are allocated in a timely manner to the highest and best use by evaluating operational, safety, accessibility and building occupant priorities.
  4. People from across Facilities are working as a team with IT, Finance, Human Resources, Communications & Engagement, and Financial Operations to implement Planon and Workday, renewing our key IT systems that are critical for our on-going operations.
  5. Finally, we have shown outstanding teamwork on the hot water district energy project, the bioenergy expansion project, and the on-going optimization of building energy performance. Our efforts have directly lead to UBC being recognized internationally as number 1 in the Times Higher Education university rankings as a leader in climate action.

Thanks to everyone on the Facilities team for your support and your on-going efforts to collaborate and strive for excellence. Working together we will make a positive difference for the campus community and create new opportunities for everyone.

John Metras,
Associate Vice-President, Facilities