»Faculty of Medicine»Home»2017»April»21»UBC Finance & Operations News: *** What happens if your research project goes over—or under—budget? *** Repair, renew, or replace? The financial strategy for our campus ***Save big with UBC’s Library PARC***
UBC Finance & Operations News: *** What happens if your research project goes over—or under—budget? *** Repair, renew, or replace? The financial strategy for our campus ***Save big with UBC’s Library PARC***
Finance & Operations News — a quick news scan to find out how you can work with us to make UBC work for you.
Last minute classroom relocation or impromptu workshop in a new space, only to regret it half an hour later as the air becomes stale and warm? To know when spaces need extra air ventilation, sometimes relying on timers and classroom schedules is not enough.
Thanks to Stefan Storey, a recent doctoral graduate from UBC’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, and in partnership with UBC IT Services and Energy & Water Services, the University can now access real-time UBC Wi-Fi network data which reveals when spaces served by campus ventilation systems are occupied.
This new system estimates occupancy using UBC Wi-Fi network data, all in a way that completely protects users by removing all private information and in strict compliance with Canadian privacy legislation.
Based on an occupant count, the control system can vary the airflow to a room, ramping it up for a busy lecture or down during the times in between, saving energy without sacrificing air quality.
How does it work? 60,000 devices connect to UBC’s wireless system every day and the system can determine each device’s location. To turn this into energy savings, a secure server gathers the anonymized location data, counts the number of wireless devices in each room, and then sends the information to UBC’s Building Management System. This data enables the Building Management System to better control airflow to buildings and ultimately reduce energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and financial costs.
The idea was proven through a pilot in one of UBC’s busiest libraries, the I.K. Barber Library, reducing energy consumption by 5%. An expanded pilot is in progress to deploy the technology to 10 more buildings across campus.
For tips and tools on making more sustainable purchasing decisions, check out the new online sustainable purchasing guide. Through a collaborative effort between UBC Financial Operations and Sustainability & Engineering, this redeveloped guide features tips for 14 commodity areas and an ecolabel glossary to help you purchase sustainable goods and services.
Be prepared, backup your electronic devices
What would you do if you lost everything?
Most people have lost important files on their electronic devices at some point in their lives. Computer hard drives can crash, smartphones get stolen, soup can be spilled on laptops, and software viruses or malware can delete your files. If you’re not regularly backing up your data, you could lose important files forever.
What happens if your research project goes over—or under—budget?
Faculty members: we know it’s important for you to deliver your research projects on time with the funds available, and in line with UBC and funding agency guidelines.
When expenses start to rise above or fall short of your approved budget, the Research Finance team can help support you. Here are some guidelines.
Over budget? The Research Finance (RF) team reviews research accounts for budget deficits twice a year. If a deficit is found, they will notify and reach a resolution with the Principal Investigator (PI), Department Heads, and Faculty Finance Directors.
Any remaining budget deficits are transferred to the department operating account. Deficits are not permitted (unless temporary), and with prior approval by the Department Head.
Under budget? The outcome depends on the funding agency guidelines and/or terms of your research contract. For example:
For CIHR grants, there is a one-year automatic extension to use the funds, and the ability to apply for further extension.
For NSERC and SSHRC grants, the surplus is transferred to the UBC General Research Fund (GRF) account. The UBC GRF committee approves funding requests from the researchers who need to access these funds.
To easily access your travel plans on the go, download the Concur Tripit app for your mobile phone. The app can consolidate your entire itinerary, even if that includes airfare booked through the UBC Travel site but your hotel and car have been booked on a different site (for example, if conference rates or another entity is paying). Simply download the app from the Concur app page and provide your business information. It’s a real time-saver!
Repair, renew, or replace? The financial strategy for our campus assets
As buildings age their condition naturally deteriorates. During that time, we invest in maintenance, repairs, and renewals—until we ultimately replace the building with a new one. The question is, how do we define when and how much to invest before we consider replacing the building altogether?
The answer is not the same for all buildings on campus; each building serves a unique purpose so the balance between strategic maintenance and capital investment is unique as well.
We can measure the current condition of each building using a Facility Condition Index score and use that score to see the big picture of how our financial investments make a difference on campus.
UBC Building Operations and Energy & Water Services have teamed up with BC Hydro and the Province of BC to replace existing T8 fluorescent lights on campus with LED lights. LEDs provide improved lighting quality, reduce lamp maintenance, and reduce energy consumption by half.
This year, 28,000 lamps in 13 buildings at the Vancouver campus will be replaced. If successful, the program will expand to include all core campus buildings replacing an estimated 180,000 T8 lamps.
The energy and maintenance savings, combined with funding from BC Hydro and Province of BC Carbon Neutral Program, results in a less than 2-year project payback for UBC. Energy & Water Services estimates savings of over $800K per year in energy and maintenance while reducing UBC’s electrical peak demand by 3 MWs. Learn more at UBC Energy & Water Services.
Sanctioned countries and your research activities
Canadians and UBC (as a Canadian organization) are prohibited from transacting certain business in sanctioned countries without specific government approval. The prohibitions cover asset freezes, offering technical assistance, and providing financial services and payments. Payments to people in these countries are only possible with prior permission from the Canadian Government. Penalties include significant fines, both for UBC and our bank.
Here at UBC, Treasury can help business units, faculty and staff monitor sanctions compliance, investigate sanctions risk and if necessary obtain the appropriate licenses from the government as early as possible so as not to interrupt the work of a particular engagement.
You’re invited to provide your input on UBC’s next strategic plan and help shape our future.
As our University enters its next century, we have an opportunity to pursue our aspirations through a new plan, UBC’s Next Century. The plan will serve as a road map, helping us to focus even more intently on our core activities of education and research.
New IPO Infrastructure Database encourages researchers to share specialized equipment
Submitted by Vicki Ferguson and Sharon Wu
To encourage collaboration and shared resources among researchers, the UBC Institutional Programs Office (IPO) and UBC IT have launched the IPO Infrastructure Database.
This online database serves as an inventory for specific research infrastructure at UBC campuses and hospital sites. The database includes location and contact information so that researchers—both internal and external to UBC—can see what equipment may be available. This enables researchers to maximize the use of grant-funded infrastructure, and allows centres that collect user fees as revenue to list available equipment.
While many researchers have provided information for the database, the database is an ongoing work-in-progress. Currently, only Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)-funded infrastructure is featured and the intention is to add even more.
The CFI Facilities Navigator is a similar online directory that encourages sharing of CFI-funded infrastructure across participating research labs and facilities in Canada that are open to working with businesses and other collaborators.
Pictured here are Pam Wasylyshen (left) and Bill Toor (right), on behalf of Custodial Services, accepting a “Community Donor Award” plaque from Scott Alsop, Manager of Procurement, Facilities, and Environment at Habitat for Humanity (centre). Thanks to Bill and others in Building Operations who coordinated the donations.
Through this donation, UBC is helping fulfill Habitat’s mission to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting home ownership opportunities as a means to break the cycle of poverty. Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver is on the verge of building 6 new homes in Richmond, BC. Once built, 12 families in Greater Vancouver will have a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home.
The smiling face of Dave Kosub greets visitors to UBC.ca
David Kosub, a Project Coordinator with Infrastructure Development, is currently featured as one of the campus personalities on UBC.ca.
“I have always loved construction and heritage-style buildings. I had the opportunity to join UBC 17 years ago, continuing that love by working on major campus-wide renovations. I have met so many people from so many backgrounds that I feel honoured to work here. Coming to work is still a joy,” says David on UBC.ca.
Reconciliation Pole also succeeds as a real-time construction project
With several hundred spectators—volunteers and community members—in attendance, the Reconciliation Pole was installed in traditional Haida manner on Saturday, April 1st.
The Reconciliation Pole is one of two UBC initiatives that aim to capture the long trajectory of Indigenous and Canadian relations and to ensure that the history of Canada’s Indian residential schools will never be forgotten.
Beyond the deeply symbolic meaning of the pole and the installation, the many individuals that took part in successfully managing the engineering and logistics of this project were instrumental. We thank the Project Managers, Facilities Managers, crews and teams from both Infrastructure Development and Building Operations for supporting this event and creating a rich and inviting campus space.
Due to unexpected equipment (i.e. heat exchanger) failures, hot water quality continues to be monitored across campus. In an abundance of caution, we have posted notices at all hot water faucets and eye wash stations in 56 building complexes that contain the problematic heat exchangers.
We recommend that everyone follow best practices for hot water in all buildings on campus:
Please do not use hot water to fill kettles, for preparation of beverages, or for drinking.
The cold water has not been affected, as it runs on a separate system.
Hot water can—and should—still be used for washing hands, dishes, etc.
If you notice anything out of the ordinary with your hot water, please call Building Operations immediately at 604.822.2173 so we can identify and repair the issue. Read more on the Risk Management Services website.
Despite the rain, we’re getting ready for summertime watering
In preparation for the drier days of summer, Building Operations is currently re-pressurizing and testing our sprinkler systems. That means you may see sprinklers starting and stopping repeatedly or even briefly running while it’s raining outside.
As we move into summer and the ground dries, the system’s programs will be turned on to match Metro Vancouver’s water restriction schedule. Additionally, about 70% of our system (and growing) is outfitted with rain sensors so, scheduled or not, they will not turn on when it has recently rained or is raining.
UBC’s Sustainable Future Fund passes another milestone
The Board of Governors recognizes climate change is an important issue for a number of UBC stakeholders and donors, and respects their concerns and commitment. In response to those concerns, UBC is creating an alternative investment fund for the University Endowment that is low carbon and meets best practices for environmental, social, and governance factors.
At the recent meeting of UBC Endowment’s Responsible Investment Policy Committee—which reviews policy matters in relation to the investments of the Endowment—the committee reviewed Sustainable Future Fund recommendations from the administration. The recommendations, which included feedback from individuals and groups across campus, selected a low carbon, ex-fossil-fuel fund for the Sustainable Future Fund.
This approach was approved by the full Board on February 14th, 2017.
UBC Library PARC is making record management savings
Last fall, UBC launched an initiative to move all records from our external records storage supplier, Iron Mountain, to the new on-campus Library Preservation and Archives (Library PARC). This move has already provided substantial cost savings to Faculties and Departments.
For example, together with RMO, in less than 4 months, over 3,300 boxes tied to the Finance & Operations portfolio have been either safely destroyed or transferred to Library PARC. The estimated savings are a minimum of $9,000 per year in storage costs alone.
You can help your department participate in the savings. Arrange to move your records from Iron Mountain to Library PARC before November 1st, 2017 and all costs to move records will be absorbed by the Records Management Office.
2017-18 budget UBC’s budget for 2017/18 was approved by the Board of Governors on Thursday, April 12. The financial projections it contains reflect both the challenges of maintaining our ongoing activities, while building for our future.
The budget for the year ahead is fiscally balanced, and makes new allocations for a wide range of priorities. For example, the Excellence Fund, established last year, will continue to build capacity and is projected to make significant injections of resources into new faculty, research, learning, student support, and diversity.
UniForum@UBC As many will know, UBC is in the process of implementing a comprehensive benchmarking study of the activities and services which support our academic mission, called ‘UniForum’. UniForum was founded in a small number of research-intensive Australian universities about 8 years ago, and has been extended to New Zealand, the UK (Russell Group), and now Canada. Every university who participates runs their own UniForum program with their own program goals and their own data. That is why we are referring to our program as UniForum@UBC.
UniForum@UBC is an essential study to build our understanding of how much time and resource we are allocating into the services and activities that support our academic mission. From this base of information, we will be able to engage in thoughtful analysis and conversation about these services and activities, including where there may be opportunity to improve the effectiveness of services.
The input for the study will be provided in May, and towards the end of the month, a service satisfaction survey will be undertaken by faculty and staff, building an understanding of how effective a variety of services are perceived.
From my experience with the program in New Zealand, the study will provide an impetus for thinking about the factors that lead to outstanding practices and processes, in order to support our teaching and learning, research, and student experience.
In recent weeks I’ve been visiting a wide number of groups throughout UBC to discuss the study. I’ve been encouraged by the strong interest and curiosity that many have shared with me. That said, I’ve also heard concern expressed about the time required to complete the study. We are committed to provide the support necessary to limit the burden of this project, so in due course this can become an important annual study, with minimal impact, and maximum benefit.
Welcome UBC Today
Finally, UBC is developing a new organization-wide newsletter called “UBC Today”. This new channel will help improve the level of engagement and communication across UBC. Consequently, going forward, this newsletter will be integrated into UBC Today. Learn more about UBC Today in the Faculty & Staff section of UBC.ca
In addition to UBC Today, all of our news items will continue to be published on our portfolio website at vpfinance.ubc.ca/news
Feature Building Project
Henry Angus Tower Seismic Upgrade
The Henry Angus building, occupied by the Sauder School of Business, was prioritized for upgrades based on an evaluation of seismic impact, and the relatively straightforward nature of the work did not involve deferred maintenance upgrades. This project is now complete. Learn more from Infrastructure Development.
Orchard Commons and Vantage College
Orchard Commons is the second of five mixed use academic/student housing hubs built at UBC. The three buildings of Orchard Commons include student housing and support amenity space with 1,048 student beds, academic and office space for UBC Vantage College, office and administrative space for SHHS, a dining hall and kitchen, a convenience store, event space, end of trip facilities and a daycare. This project is now complete. Learn more from Infrastructure Development.
The new transit terminal, UBC Exchange, is a partnership project between UBC and TransLink designed to meet the current and future transit needs of the UBC Vancouver campus community. It will provide an end of route terminal for diesel buses. This project is now integrated with Exchange Residence, and completion is estimated for September 2019. Learn more from Infrastructure Development.
Under the leadership of the VP Finance & Operations, the eight units in the portfolio are responsible for the stewardship of UBC’s physical and financial assets. This includes overseeing a $2.5 billion budget, as well as the $1.2 billion endowment, and all University facilities.