Old SUB renovation to be completed by early April 2018

According to the latest updates, the Old SUB is expected to be completed in late March or early April 2018.

Its conversion into the UBC Life Building will see increased club space for the AMS on the basement level and a newly constructed Norm Theatre on the first floor. The university will occupy the rest of the building and part of the basement.

While the restructuring of the Old SUB was supposed to commence after the completion of the Nest, the AMS agreed to wait as the university pursued seismic upgrade on campus, thus resulting in a 23-month delay.

Currently, the removal of hazardous materials has concluded. The next phase is the fit out of the building, which prepares the interior space for occupation.

“We’re working with UBC infrastructure development, UBC Properties Trust, as well as BIRD — the contractor — to make sure construction is moving forward at a timely rate,” said AMS President Alan Ehrenholz.

The basement of the Old SUB prior to the renovation
The basement of the Old SUB prior to the renovation File Boris Bosnjakovic

According to him, the society is also working with these groups to bring down the costs of the project, which were presented by VP Administration Pooja Bhatti at the September 27 AMS Council meeting.

The current cost breakdown plans for just over $4.7 million in hard costs for the various aspects of construction and $655,000 in soft costs for consulting fees and permits, among others.

The carrying cost — cost to maintain clubs in the new space — is $440,000. The project costs are $187,876.03 for taxes at 1.62 per cent, and $292,445.30 contingency for uncertainties at 5 per cent.

Overall, the AMS expects the construction of the Old SUB will cost anywhere from $855,000 to $1.7 million in overage costs on a budget of $5 million.

A combination of small changes to a building’s design or features and cost inflation due to delays were the main drivers of the increased costs, according to Ehrenholz.

In response, the society has reduced the scope of some of their space in the basement by foregoing costly design features like the now-scrapped basement entrance to the Norm Theatre and by reusing materials from the old SUB and the Nest.

They are also advocating for more cost-sharing from UBC.

“[There are] hallways and different open areas that have access both to the club spaces that are AMS leased and the offices that are UBC owned,” said Ehrenholz. “Because of that open access and shared space, we talked with the university and said ‘look it doesn’t make 100 per cent sense to us that we’re footing the bill for this entire space, we should be cost-sharing that.’”

Thus far, the unversity has committed $116,651 to account for the cost of shared common space in the basement. Combined with the other strategies, this will result in roughly $270,000 in recoverable costs for the AMS.

“We are closing in on getting back down to the best case [overage cost scenario of $855,000] because of some of those shared cost discussions coming to a close,” said Ehrenholz, adding that it is a “realistic” goal.

Still, the society will continue aiming to lower the project’s cost.

“The $100,000 you saw in Council is already agreed upon and we’re trying to see if there’s any other avenues that we can pursue — those were much more early conversations,” he said. “We’re hoping to continue to bring that number down and get the project completed for late March.”