SFU Space Management Plan


Space is an important resource that plays a strategic role in engaging students, research and communities.

In 2017, the University Executive and Deans agreed to develop and implement an incentive-based space management model to encourage more effective and equitable use of space following an external review of space models at other institutions and a detailed report on space issues at SFU.

Since that time, considerable progress has been made in the following areas:

  • Conducting comprehensive annual physical space inventories across campuses.
  • Compiling space standards by space type as benchmarks of space needs.
  • Assessing changes in patterns of space use (e.g., moving to more compact workspaces and more flexible layouts that facilitate shared use).
  • Seeking ways to enhance space management IT systems and processes.
  • Carrying out consultation and communication with campus stakeholders.
  • Developing and launching a space management model and associated budget processes.

What’s New

SFU has introduced a space management model, which recognizes that space is inherently valuable and applies a notional cost for space across the university.

The model was implemented in the 2021/22 budget year on a cost-neutral basis where funding attributable to space offsets space costs incurred in the initial year. Over time, if a portfolio acquires more space, its annual space costs will increase. If a portfolio releases space, its annual space costs will decrease.

The model will be introduced in phases in terms of the types of space it encompasses, and currently considers offices and related administrative spaces, teaching labs and research labs. Other space categories such as classrooms may be added in future years.

Oversight of the development of SFU’s space management model has been guided by a committee chaired by the Senior Advisor, Academic Planning in the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic. The committee includes the Associate Vice-Presidents Research and Finance; Chief Facilities Officer; and Director, Strategic Projects and Analysis (Provost's Office). This work has been carried out in collaboration with key support teams in Finance, Facilities Services, Institutional Research and Planning, IT Services, and the Provost's Office.

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