Frequently Asked Questions

What is the SFU Space Management Plan? 

SFU’s Space Management Plan was developed in 2017 and endorsed by the University Executive and Deans to encourage more effective utilization of space across all campuses. The plan was informed by an external review of space management models at other institutions, as well as a detailed assessment of space issues at SFU identified through consultation with university and campus leaders.

Who is leading the space management initiative?

Led by the Senior Advisor, Academic Planning in the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic, the space management initiative is guided by a Space Planning Committee and supported by a Project Team and Working Groups with representation from Facilities Services, Finance, Institutional Research and Planning, IT Services, and the Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic. University and campus leaders and others with space-related interests were engaged and consulted through the planning and implementation processes. 

Why is a space management model needed?

Space is integral to achieving SFU’s strategic vision and plays a critical role in engaging students, research and communities. Through an incentive-based approach, the space management model is intended to encourage more effective use of space within and across portfolios to meet our evolving space needs.

When was the space management model introduced?

The model was introduced across the university in the 2021/22 budget year on a cost-neutral basis. This means that funding attributable to space offsets space costs incurred in the initial year. Over subsequent years, when a portfolio acquires more space, its annual space costs will increase. If a portfolio releases space, its annual space costs will decrease.

How will space funding and costs be assigned?

Each Vice President, the President’s Office, and the General Counsel and University Secretary Office will determine how they will manage space funding and costs within their portfolios. Some may manage space funding and costs at a portfolio-level only. Others may choose to assign space funding and costs to the Units within their portfolios.

What space data was used to calculate space costs?

Prior to the implementation of the space management model, a comprehensive physical space inventory was conducted in Spring 2020 and portfolios were consulted to confirm changes identified through the inventory process. Space records have been updated since then through the annual physical space inventory process. The space categories considered in the space management model are limited to Office and Related Space, Teaching Labs, and Research Labs. Other space categories may be added in future years, such as Classrooms.

How was the cost of space determined?

A notional cost of space per square meter was identified for the purposes of the space management model following a review of external lease rates and aggregate costs related to space at a university level. The notional cost of space is anticipated to remain the same in the initial years of the model and is expected to increase thereafter at approximately the rate of inflation.

Why is space the same rate regardless of quality?

The notional cost of space is a blended rate that does not vary by location or relative quality of space. A single blended rate has been incorporated in SFU's space management model after an assessment of possible approaches. This assessment concluded that introducing and maintaining varied rates would increase the complexity of the model and would be unfair in some cases, such as when Faculties or Units invest in renovations in newer buildings.

My Faculty or Unit would like to request more space. Will this be addressed as part of the space management initiative?

Responding to individual space requests is outside the scope of this broad-based initiative. However, the overarching goal of the initiative (achieving more effective utilization of space) is expected to open up greater opportunities to respond to space requests over time. For information regarding individual space requests or specific space needs, please view the Space Inquiries web-page or email

Who should I contact if I have questions or suggestions about SFU’s space management model?

For general inquiries or comments about SFU’s space management model, please email For specific questions related to the implementation of the model in your Faculty or Unit, you are welcome to email and your question will be forwarded to the key contact in your portfolio best able to respond to portfolio-specific questions.