Building Design

Building design is the heart of our business and a key opportunity to apply fresh thinking to every project – small or tall. Fast + Epp has been privileged to collaborate with many adventuresome architects; with their support (and the triumphs of engineering greats who have gone before us), we have been able to continually push the boundaries of design. These opportunities have challenged us to adapt our creative approach on a regular basis, learning and improving with each new project. When it comes to building design, we strive to be revolutionaries in our field when necessary, as well as purveyors of the tried, tested, and true.

Portfolio Examples

 Healthcare Recreational Educational ResidentialCommercial Civic  Cultural Indigenous


Whether the pure expression of a delicate pedestrian bridge or the sweeping elegance of a transit station roof, Fast + Epp’s innovative approach has yielded an extensive portfolio of striking transportation structures the world over. Transportation projects typically feature exposed structure more prominently, thus each application offers an exciting opportunity to address unique constraints with efficiency and sophistication. We appreciate these projects tend to be schedule- or cost-sensitive; as such, we have developed methods to ensure our structural work is completed on time and on budget, with minimal impact on existing traffic routes and surrounding businesses.

Portfolio Examples

Transit Stations & Shelters   Pedestrian Bridge

Mass Timber

Complemented by contemporary versions such as cross-laminated, glued-laminated, and dowel- or nail-laminated timber, mass timber has once again found its way back into the material toolbox. Our engineers have been experts in the field of mass timber for more than 20 years, designing multiple world-class projects with wood as the primary structural material on record-breaking scales. Yet this building technology is by no means new; in Canada, mass timber construction can be found in century-old warehouse construction, while applications in Europe and Asia are more diverse and far older. Fast + Epp has led the charge to reinvent mass timber construction projects, and in doing so, create structurally efficient, sustainably sourced, and architecturally striking structures.

Portfolio Examples

UBC Tallwood House at Brock Commons Limberlost PlaceBCIT Tall Timber Student Housing

Custom Homes

Custom homes provide opportunities for the architect, engineer, and owner to explore creative design ideas on an intimate scale. We take delight in the opportunity to contribute to what is often a family home – through expressed structure, a sensitive mix of materials, stringent sustainability and programming requirements, or simply a finely detailed staircase. Fast + Epp has extensive experience in custom home design and thrives on the detail-oriented nature of this building type.

Portfolio Examples

Custom Homes

Seismic Upgrade

Having witnessed the devastation of earthquakes abroad, the recent demand for seismic upgrade projects for infrastructure and buildings on the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire” has grown exponentially. Along North America’s west coast, for example, many 1900s-era structures are undergoing seismic upgrades to mitigate the risks associated with these catastrophic events. Our firm is uniquely positioned to contribute to such projects – we have extensive seismic design experience, along with specially trained staff who are well-versed in the application of British Columbia seismic retrofit and Applied Technology Council seismic evaluations guidelines.

Portfolio Examples


Seismic Resiliency

High-profile earthquake events in recent years have led to a global trend in re-assessing performance expectations of buildings, increasing the focus on operational and business continuity and raising the bar from simply preserving “life safety”. Using state-of-the-art seismic performance assessment methodology developed by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Fast + Epp can help owners raise the long-term value of their buildings by proving – and increasing – their seismic resilience. This skill-set complements our experience in “beyond-the-code” design, using earthquake response history analysis to design low-damage seismic systems incorporating the latest technology – from Tectonus resilient joints to seismic base isolation systems.

Portfolio Examples

2150 Keith Drive Fast + Epp Home Office St. Paul’s Hospital

Parametric Design

We leverage the power of modern parametric design software such as Grasshopper and Dynamo in a variety of applications from structural optimization, to analysis of complex geometries, to the development of in-house design tools. Parametric design software is only the latest wave in a long line of computer-related advancements that have continually expanded the boundaries of what a structural engineer can analyse and design. A sample of our experience in parametric design includes analysis of long-span gridshells, optimization of footbridge geometry and the creation of user-friendly mass timber design web-apps.

Portfolio Examples

Mannheim Multihalle

Embodied Carbon Tool

It is our design mentality to reduce the world’s carbon emissions by creating carbon-efficient structures. Our internal carbon reduction task force is consistently involved in the research and study of embodied carbon. We inform our firm-wide strategies that go beyond economic design to incorporate strategies to achieve this goal.

Following our firm-wide Embodied Carbon Action Plan, we have implemented an internal system to calculate and evaluate the embodied carbon associated with a building’s structural system. As a part of this initiative, we have developed an internal Embodied Carbon Tool which uses Revit model data and calculates the embodied carbon of structural elements.

Embodied Carbon Tool calculations implemented during different design stages can provide insight into embodied carbon impacts of structural elements allowing us to make informed sustainable choices throughout the design process and establish trends across a range of building types and structural systems.

Portfolio Examples

VanDusen Botanical Gardens Visitor Centre Simon Fraser UniverCity Childcare Centre UBC Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence

Building Physics

The building physics requirements for new buildings and existing buildings are constantly increasing and must be integrated into the building planning: heat and moisture protection, protection against noise from external areas, and optimal room acoustic qualities are just a few examples.The interaction between buildings, users and the environment must be considered with a focus on the comfort and well-being of people. In order to meet these requirements optimally and economically, Fast + Epp develops building physics concepts and implements them in the planning stages in cooperation and in dialogue with the client, the architects, and the specialist engineers for building services.