On September 25, the UBC CSCE Student Chapter welcomed Robert Jackson to present on the Brock Commons Timber building. Robert Jackson is a UBC Alumni and worked intimately as lead structural engineer on the Brock Commons project since its inception. He is also the recipient of the Young Structural Engineering Professional Award, commending his efforts as a skilled individual who is driving his profession forward. This innovative design by Fast+Epp is internationally renowned for its construction of the tallest timber building in the world.UBC_CSCE_FAST_AND_EPP_LUNCH_AND_LEARN_PHOTO

The case study outlined key design considerations whenusing timber extensively. Concerns such as vibrational remediation, timber creep reduction, and cross panel timber shearing forces were outlined, as well as resolution methods.  Major design considerations included prefabrication and on-time delivery of the CLT floor panels and glulam columns. The efficient assembly of Brock Commons, at a speed of two floors per week, was a result of extensive planning and prefabrication.

The goal for this building was to illustrate how timber is a legitimate material to be considered when building high-rises, in both its stability and economic feasibility. We look forward to the opening of this tremendous building on our very own campus in the future.

Our speaker for the event

 Robert Jackson, Project Engineer – Fast + Epp


Robert graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor’s Degree of Applied Science in Civil Engineering. He is one of the structural design engineers for the UBC Brock Commons tall timber building, and has been intimately involved in the project since its inception. Robert comes from a carpentry background and is the recent recipient of two awards from the Institution of Structural Engineers in London. Most notably, The Young Structural Engineering Professional Award, which is known to showcase diverse and skilled individuals under 30 years old who are driving the profession forward.


Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 5.16.58 PMEvent Coordinator: Peggy Shen

On November 19, 2014 the UBC CSCE Student Chapter welcomed Paul Fast to provide a guest lecture titled “Architects and Engineers in Collaboration: Risks and Rewards.” As co-founder and managing partner of Fast + Epp, Paul enjoys working closely with architects, exploring innovative design solutions for economical material combinations. Often pushing the design envelope to create hybrids of timber, concrete, and steel, Paul has been recognized for his unconventional use of timber and has emerged a leader in architecturally exposed structures. On November 19th, we welcomed Paul to speak for fellow civil engineering and architecture students about “Architects and Engineers in Collaboration: Risks and Rewards”.

As a junior structural engineer, Paul and his friends travelled to Germany looking for inspirations. In particular, He noted the Kempinski Hotel in Munich. This hotel has a transparent lobby wall which was made by cable net system with extensive amount of glass. After the construction was finished, the wall could move up to 1.5m under heavy wind load, but the engineers proved to the city that it was safe.

After Paul had established his own consulting firm, he often worked closely with Perkins + Will, a world-renowned architecture firm, and accomplished a lot of innovative and award-winning projects together in Vancouver. Fast + Epp focuses on introducing wood into their designs to give a warm ambiance to the users and the environment. For example, the Brentwood Skystrian Station has ceilings covered with wood panels. Moreover, the Kingsway Pedestrian Bridge is mainly supported by an arch with eight wood beams. With the collaboration of engineers and architects, this arch was built to have a beautiful silhouette but light and flexible at the same time.

After many fascinating stories, Paul summarized three keys to a successful collaboration. As engineers, we should get involved at outset of design, be good listeners and be willing to accept risks. With those advices in mind, we shall be able to work with architects more efficiently and push the limits beyond our comfort zone together. The UBC CSCE Student Chapter would like to thank Paul Fast and Fast + Epp for presenting to our members.

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