UBC Facilities driving operational efficiency and resilience through the MacLeod Building renewal

Built in 1963, the MacLeod Building is the home of the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) within the Faculty of Applied Sciences at UBC.

In 2018, the four-storey concrete building was identified as a Routine Capital renewal candidate due to the high seismic risk, aged mechanical & electrical systems in the building, poor performing building envelope, aged finishes, accessibility issues and more, and received a project budget of $48 million.

The MacLeod Building Renewal project was recently completed in July 2022 after three years of hard work among UBC teams and partners. The goals of this project were to:

  1. Create engaging spaces for students and staff that actively support ECE’s values, departmental goals and pedagogy
  2. An efficient and effective building renewal that aligns with UBC’s technical guidelines, including seismic, sustainability and accessibility upgrades.
  3. A resilient campus building that addresses risk around seismic safety & operational continuity post seismic event, as well as climate resilience in regards to reduced energy use and designing the building to meet the demands of predicted future weather for Vancouver

How buildings are prioritized at UBC

There are many competing projects on a campus as large as UBC. When considering building renewal options, Facilities teams evaluate several factors to determine which buildings should be prioritized.

The safety of our students, faculty, and staff is UBC’s first priority. Since 2012, UBC has invested over $200 million in seismic upgrades. The MacLeod Building was ranked Seismic Tier IV in a 2018 evaluation, which indicated a more immediate need for seismic upgrades.

As buildings age their condition naturally deteriorates. To measure the condition of each building, a Facility Condition Index (FCI) score is used to understand the big picture. In 2018, the MacLeod Building received a Facility Condition Index (FCI) score of 0.63, which falls into the poor category.

The renewed and refreshed MacLeod Building

After its renewal, MacLeod Building’s FCI was brought to green (good), driving us towards our overall campus goal of 0.18 FCI.

This renewal project helped mitigate deferred maintenance and upgrade the building in alignment with UBC’s priorities for seismic resilience while reconfiguring its existing spaces within the building footprint to support ECE’s modern pedagogy and research.

The replacement of outdated mechanical and electrical systems, as well as envelope replacement to energy-efficient systems, helps UBC with achieving our Sustainability Goals and Green Building Action Plan.

It’s a team effort

A project this complex requires coordination and collaboration between many teams within UBC Facilities’ Infrastructure Development, partners in Facilities, UBC Finance, UBC IT, ECE and contractors.

“This was an incredible opportunity for our teams to come together and transform a historical building into a more efficient and sustainable facility that aligns with our university’s strategic goals,” notes Noel McNally, Project Manager in Project Services within UBC Facilities’ Infrastructure Development. “We look forward to seeing the UBC community learn, work and build meaningful connections in this inspiring space.”

To learn more about the project, visit the UBC Infrastructure Development website.