Our operational priorities

As we head into the new financial year, I want to take a moment to thank everyone for their continued hard work and dedication. I recognize the new systems have been challenging and I am proud of the resilience and continued collaborative efforts of the Facilities team.

We are going through a time of transformational change. Through the VPFO’s strategic plan’s focus on renewal and optimization, we have an opportunity to work differently, to work more closely, and to transform into a more unified portfolio — we are all part of the Facilities Group, and part of the VPFO portfolio.

To achieve this, the Facilities Leadership team is taking a holistic view of our three departments (Building Operations, Energy & Water Services, and Infrastructure Development) to better understand how our individual and team strengths can be used across Facilities and the VPFO, while finding efficiencies and savings.

I have asked the leadership team to focus on the following operational priorities:

  • COVID-19 safety: This is a continuing on-going priority, and the Facilities team will be working with Safety & Risk Services and the UBC COVID-19 Safety Steering Committee to ensure that operations plans are in place for the planned increased on-campus activity for Winter Session, Term 1 in September 2021.
  • Workday / Planon / NAV System Stabilization: This is our top priority. We recognize the challenges currently being experienced with our new systems. Under the direction of the VPFO, a project is being implemented to complete the remaining Workday scope of work and address deficiencies with Workday, Planon, and NAV (our project management system), so we can benefit from the full capabilities of these systems. Where system solutions are not currently possible, alternate work processes will be developed to address critical pain points.
  • Operations Centre 24/7: A new 24/7 supervision structure for the Operations Centre is planned to improve regulatory compliance, preventative maintenance, worker safety and service response.  Building Operations’ Mechanical Operations team has already shared details on the planned changes with most of the Facilities trades shops. Implementation is targeted for late April/early May 2021.
  • Construction Office Improvements: We are reviewing the Construction Office with a goal to address project backlog, reduce completion time, and improve customer experience. We are targeting implementation for June 2021.
  • Building Operations Senior Leader: Recruitment for the new senior leader of Building Operations is planned to take place over this Summer 2021. I will provide further details in June 2021.
  • Equity Diversity & Inclusion (EDI): The initial round of the VPFO EDI Learning Program is nearing completion. This included 60 staff from departments across the portfolio. This is the first step in our critical journey of incorporating EDI principles fully within our workplace culture. EDI training will be integrated and delivered across the Facilities group.

I understand this is a lot of change in a short period of time. To enable this transition, we will have to improve how we work together and continue to support each other no matter our position or work location.

Customer Services & Informatics (CSI)

Effective immediately, the Customer Services & Informatics (CSI) team led by Kishani Gibbons in Building Operations, will be reporting directly to me to serve everyone in Facilities. Our Facilities Managers, Service Centre, Business Services, EMMS (Planon) Sustainment, and Change Management colleagues will now have a complete view of Facilities and provide further synergy and collaboration. It will also allow our departments to reduce redundancies and expand our lens in working better together as one Facilities team to enable excellence in learning and research.

As part of this transition, some of the team members within the CSI Business Services team will be moving to the new VPFO Operational Excellence team which is part of the Finance & Operational Excellence group, led by Associate Vice-President, Elana Mignosa. Operational Excellence is a new department within the VPFO to drive improvement for efficient and effective service delivery, and act as a centre of excellence for the university. Further details will be communicated next week. Please join me in supporting Kishani and her team in this change.

Thank you all for your continued support and working together through this change. I am excited for the future of the Facilities team, and as always, please reach out to your Supervisor or myself if you have any questions or concerns.


John Metras,
Associate Vice-President, Facilities