The new Student Union Building (SUB) at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Burnaby, BC, is just one part of a larger “Build SFU” initiative by SFU and the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS). This initiative aims to enrich the student experience at the university by improving campus facilities and providing opportunities to enhance student life and community connections. The 5-story SUB, located on the south side of Freedom Square, will offer students more than 100,000 square feet of new space for group meetings, recreation, social gatherings, and even napping.

Our team initially helped with a feasibility study to assess the practicality of the proposed Build SFU plan. Next, we assisted SFU with some of the capital planning and project prioritization work to help determine a comprehensive strategy for the entire campus. As the building enclosure consultant on the SUB project, we were tasked with tying together the design of the new SUB building with three other buildings: the adjoining Maggie Benston Centre, which is a newer student service centre and includes an original lecture theatre with very old tile cladding, Convocation Mall, and the new Shrum Science Centre Chemistry building. Our team worked on all four buildings to achieve the overarching goal of creating a seamless and functional design that would flow into the nearby Academic Quadrangle (AQ). We also contributed to the façade design with the glazing of unique glass and metal fins.

The need to design for better movement between buildings on the older, established SFU campus added a layer of design complexity. We worked with the architect, Perkins + Will, and the other project team members to develop efficient and durable expansion drawing details that would create a common thread between the Maggie Benston, Convocation Mall, Shrum Science, and the AQ facilities.

The new SUB will be fully connected with the other buildings via ridges and entrances, but it will serve as a centerpiece building that will allow faculty and students to move seamlessly between campus buildings.


October 9, 2019


Simon Fraser University


Perkins & Will

Our Role:

Building Enclosure Consultant

Key Services

Concept Review
Construction Document Review
Façade Development and Engineering
Field Review

Before material and systems selections are finalized, our clients benefit from a review of the building enclosure design strategies at a conceptual level. This review provides an opportunity to reflect upon the performance expectations and fundamental building science strategies behind the selection of appropriate solutions. Experience shows that changes made at the conceptual stage of building enclosure design have far greater cost-to-benefit impact than those made during late design or construction. A typical concept review considers the following:

  • Environmental loads
  • Energy performance targets and compliance options
  • Life cycle expectations
  • Constructability, sequencing, and complexity of detailing
  • Structural support
  • Risk analysis

Warren Knowles | P.Eng.

Principal, Senior Building Science Specialist
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Tim Bryant | ABET, RRO®

Associate, Senior Project Technologist
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