The notes and forms contained in this document are intended for use by a Vice President of Business and Finance at a small private college who has no permanent construction department staff, and who rarely has capital construction projects to implement.  As seen in the reference and web page section, there are countless resources in print and on line which can provide much more specific information. (SEE REFERENCES, SEE WEB PAGES.)  The scope of this document is to provide overall guidance and some specific procedures for rapid implementation of a capital construction program.


Construction projects are inherently risky undertakings.  As the risk manager, how are you going to manage a process if you don’t know what the risks are? This document will concentrate on an overview of the key management concerns related to project Programming, Design, and Construction, which the VP should be aware of, or take personal responsibility for some of them. (SEE PROJECT, PROGRAM, and CONSTUCTION MANAGEMENT.)  Capital construction projects the following phases:

  1. Feasibility (programming)
  2. Design
    1. Schematic
    2. Design Development
    3. Construction Documents
  3. Bidding
  4. Award
  5. Construction
  6. Occupancy
  7. Warranty


Successful construction projects are defined as: On Time, On Budget, and Acceptable Quality of work.  These three elements are not mutually compatible, and they are ALWAYS pulling in opposite directions.  The challenge for you is to balance all three and not fail in any of them.


There are eleven project management steps outlined below, which are addressed in more detail in the materials contained in this Capital Construction Forms and Procedures Manual.


  1. Formulate a project program.
    1. Master plan process (mission + specific education goals = facility needs)
    2. Faculty and staff input to the program definition.

                                                               i.      Constraining the desires and dreams of the users to fit the budget.

                                                             ii.      Creating a consensus amongst the users and administration.


  1. Create a project management team (SEE TYPICAL PROJECT ORGANIZATION)
    1. Needs vary by Phase (Programming, Design, Construction).
    2. Options for VP to consider:

                                                               i.      Do it yourself.

                                                             ii.      Assign to existing staff.

                                                            iii.      Hire new staff.

                                                           iv.      Hire outside Construction Management firm.


  1. Set realistic project goals.
    1. Time for completion (design, reviews, permits, weather)
    2. Budget (design, construction, tele/data, F&E..)

                                                               i.      Maximum impact on cost made during programming, then design, and least of all during construction.

    1. Quality (durability, impact on time and budget)


  1. Fund raising impact on the project.
    1. Fund raising (not included in this manual)
    2. Issues related to choice of designer & timing of construction.
  2. Select a designer.
    1. Design or design build
    2. Who is really going to design the project (not the principals)
    3. Fee and reimbursable costs.
    4. Who are the Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing designers?
    5. How will the designer administer the field construction work?
    6. Evaluate prior project references

                                                               i.      Timely, cost control, quality, cooperation, paperwork processing.

    1. Level of comfort dealing with the designer?


  1. Your design criteria.
    1. Minimize maintenance and spare parts.

                                                               i.      Locks, fire alarm, energy controls, elevators, MEP fixtures & equipment.

    1. Impact of being too restrictive (money).


  1. Different stages in a design and what should you look for.
    1. Schematic
    2. Design Development (Interior Design too)
    3. Construction Documents


  1. Select the General Contractor & Form of Contracting
    1. Types of contracts (lump sum, design build, g-max, CM at Risk, Multi-prime)
    2. Bidder list

                                                               i.      Pre-qualified or open list

    1. Negotiate sole source
    2. Value engineering before award.


  1. Building permits
    1. Zoning approval
    2. Utility impact

                                                               i.      Water, sewer, storm water (governmental approval)

                                                             ii.      Electricity, gas, telephone (availability and fees.)

    1. Plan review by governmental agency

                                                               i.      City, county, state depending of type of project).

    1. Fees and application


  1. Control Time, Cost, & Quality during construction.
    1. Time schedules

                                                               i.      CPM for work (include owner activities)

                                                             ii.      Submittals for material & testing

1.      List of what is to be submitted and status of both GC and AE actions pending.

2.      Identify long lead items (you can’t build it if it’s not there).

                                                            iii.      Progress meetings (resolve issues quickly and document decisions).

    1. Cost

                                                               i.      Change order logs (pending estimates and final values)

                                                             ii.      Total budget tracking (tele/data, F&E, PP…)

    1. Quality

                                                               i.      Testing labs

                                                             ii.      AE inspections

                                                            iii.      GC quality controls

                                                           iv.      Other agencies inspections (county building dept.).

    1. Coordination

                                                               i.      On campus activities (security, parking, events)

                                                             ii.      Physical Plant (UG utilities, keys)

                                                            iii.      Tele/data (separate contractor?)


  1. How to obtain final occupancy
    1. Certificate of Occupancy Inspections

                                                               i.      Building, MEP, Health, Fire, Elevator, Water/sewer...

    1. Punch list process with GC.
    2. Warrantee contacts and O&M training for maintenance.


If you approach the capital construction process by continuously pursuing Time, Cost & Quality issues during the Programming, Design & Construction phases, you will have a better chance of producing a successful facility.  It will also help if you surround yourself with quality players (designer, general contractor) and don’t rush into the arms of the lowball outfits.  They usually produce less than desirable results or no results at all.


Remember that the primary rule of construction is that things will change:

  1. Weather too hot, cold, dry, wet.
  2.  Subcontractors or suppliers go out of business, or on strike.
  3.  Market conditions force higher prices, or slower deliveries for materials.
  4.  Labor or subcontractors busy somewhere else.
  5.  Designer forgot something that costs time and money.
  6.  The dirt on site was good, but now it has to be removed.


Your project plan needs to be flexible, and include appropriate management controls to highlight problems to you so you can adapt and still achieve the desired result.  As a final thought, if all of the previous information has created overwhelming doubts in your mind related to the complexity of undertaking a capital construction project, then it is strongly recommended that you to find a qualified Construction Manager who can guide you through the process (from programming to final construction). The web sites are provided to help you in you search.


Supplemental materials are attached to this document for further reading:





  1. Architectural Programming and Pre-Design Manager, R.G. Hershberger, 1999 (with CD).   Overview of planning process with many checklists.
  2. Timesaver Standards for Building Types, J. DeChaira & J. Callender, 1990 3 ed.  Sample layouts of typical facilities with design criteria.
  3. Building Construction Cost Data (yearly issue), R.S. Means Inc.  Cost data for most facilities including design and engineering fees.
  4. Project Budgets for Buildings, D.E. Parker & A. Dell’Isola, 1991.  Project  budget estimating procedures.
  5. The Art and Science of Pricing, D.A. Stone, 1999.  How to calculate architect fees using several cost models.
  6. The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice Vol. I-IV, ed by D. Haviland, 1994.   Comprehensive source for project management with explanatory notes for contract forms (both design and construction).
  7. The Codes Guidebook for Interiors, S.K. Harmon, 1994.  Graphic summary of code impact on building design.
  8. The Architect’s Studio Companion, Technical Guidelines for Preliminary Design, E.A Joseph Iano, 1989.  Simplified design criteria with diagrams for structures and building systems.
  9. Standard Building Code, North Carolina 1997.  Typical state code, hard to read and includes many addenda.
  10. Town of Elon College Zoning Ordinance 1994.  Typical local ordinance which contains unique restrictions.
  11. Simplified Design for Building Fire Safety, J. Patterson 1993.  Summary of fire code impact on design with explanations regarding rationale for the code requirements.
  12. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMI), ed by William Duncan, 1996.  Overview of managing any project, not just construction.  Free download copy from web site.
  13. Facilities Management: A Manual for Plant Administration Part IV Facilities Planning, Design, Construction and Administration, ed. By W.D. Middleton, 1997.  Comprehensive overview of all phases of project management with checklists and flowcharts.
  14. The Facilities Manager’s Reference, H.H. Kaiser, 1989.  Narrative text describing project management from the operator’s point of view.
  15. Facilities Operations Engineering Reference, R.S. Means, 1999.  General information on project creation from the facility operator’s point of view.
  16. Facilities Maintenance Management, G. H. Magee, 1988.  General information on project creation from the facility operator’s point of view.
  17. Engineering Economics and Practice, S.A. Rosenthal, 1964.  Standard economic analysis formulas and examples.
  18. Construction Law in Contractor’s Language, M. Stokes, 1990.  Overview of contract law with simplified case studies.
  19. Construction Nightmares (Jobs form Hell and How to Avoid Them) , A.F. O’Leary & J. Acret, 1999. Case studies in a easy to read format.
  20. APPA Commissioning Workshop, J. Heinz, 1997.  Check lists and procedures for start up of complex facilities.

Other Web Sites Of Interest


  1. Master Planning Sites:
    1. Master plans on line:

q       www.masterplan.ufl.edu University of Florida site includes forms and procedures for making budget estimates.

q       www.elon.edu (select strategic Plan from  home page then Facility Master Plan)

    1. www.esri.com. Geographic information systems programs
    2. www.terraserver.com Aerial photos on line


  1. Institutes for Project Management Sites:
    1. www.cmaa.com Construction Management Association of America.
    2. www.ces.clemson.edu/cica Construction institute and links to other colleges.
    3. www.construction-institute.org  Links to government, business, school sites.
    4. www.pmi.org Project Management Institute (download manual of management procedures).


  1. University Planning and Construction Sites:
    1. www.admin.ufl.edu/division/cp University Of Florida Planning and Construction forms and procedures.
    2. www.elon.edu/nacubo Elon University Construction Dept. procedures. 
    3. www.ascweb.org  Associated Schools of Construction. (Universities with academic programs in construction.)


  1. General Planning Sites:
    1. www.scup.org Society for College and University Planning
    2. www.focusllc.com Planning specialists (online quiz)
    3. www.edfacilities.org National clearing house for educational facilities.
    4. www.asumag.com School Planning and Management Magazine.


  1. Sources for Designers and Contractors Sites:
    1. www.cmaa.com Construction Management Association of America, list of program and construction managers.
    2. www.constructionrisk.com Access to lists of designers, contractors, cost engineers, lawyers, accountants.
    3. www.aia.org  American Institute of Architects
    4. www.ratingsource.com  Ratings for contractors and designers.
    5. www.northcarolina.edu/vendors  Design or construction projects pending.
    6. www.hanscombglobal.com Cost estimating and program management.
    7. www.jbi-solutions.com Construction project delivery specialists (changes and schedules).
    8. www.bovislendlease.com Construction managers
    9. www.bjac.com Planning, programming, and design
    10. www.spillmanfarmer.com Planning and design architects.

  2. Technical Assistance Sites:


    1. www.4spec.com On line catalog of construction materials and specifications
    2. www.ul.com  Underwriters Laboratory fire rated details for building.
    3. www.ncdoi.com (Department of Insurance NC.,  Code source)
    4. www.c-z.com  On line catalog of construction materials and specifications


  1. Project Management Software Sites:


    1. www.primavera.com  Project scheduling software vendor
    2. www.new-technologies.com Project management software vendor
    3. www.rsmeans.com Reference texts and cost data books.


  1. When in doubt where to look:
    1. www.google.com  Search engine which will make world wide searches of resources on line.








Managing Capital Construction
General Objectives:


1.                     Establish a facility needs assessment based on master planning mission related requirements.

2.                     Create preliminary project budgets, scope of work, schematic layouts, and site plans based on customer needs, applicable codes, and principles of design.

3.                     Identify funding sources and create strategy for raising funds.

4.                     Apply leadership skills to manage diverse teams comprised of customers, designers, contractors, and government agencies.

5.                     Review project plans and specifications for accuracy and administrative requirements of the customer.

6.                     Create change order estimates, value engineering estimates, and negotiate costs with contractors.

7.                     Maintain project information including submittals, changes, and close out records.

8.                     Review project schedules, monitor progress, and take corrective action to meet due dates.

9.                     Utilize the resources of the WEB to enhance productivity in project management operations. 

10.                 Coordinate project completion, commissioning of facilities, and post occupancy inspections.


Managing Capital Construction
Knowledge Test:


If you can perform all of the tasks and understand all of the terminology then you are not a novice in construction management matters.

1.                     MASTER PLANNING

a.       Improve listening skills and practice giving clear concise directions.

b.      Perform a self-analysis of management traits and evaluate the impact on project teams.

c.       Define the differences between master planning and project planning.

d.      Perform a facility needs assessment by evaluating assets, deficits, sites, and renovations.

e.       Identify sources of information related to master planning.

f.        Identify sources of funding for various projects. (commercial, military, educational, local government).

2.                     PROJECT PLANNING

a.       Make master plan level site layouts for various communities (towns, colleges, military bases, commercial, airports)

b.      Be able to conduct customer interviews to determine scope of work and make a space program data sheet.

c.       Create space relationship diagrams.

d.      Calculate net and gross square footage for various projects.

3.                     PROGRAM BUDGET ESTIMATES

a.       Tailor Program Matrix form for specific projects and be able to perform an interview to obtain data to complete the Program Matrix form.

b.      Be able to convert net square foot facility requirements into gross square foot scope.

c.       Be able to use Means Costworks to create approximate estimates for various facilities.

d.      Adjust cost estimates for site location and inflation.

e.       Perform cost comparison analysis to determine the most cost effective facility construction/renovation options.

4.                     SCOPE OF WORK AND SPATIAL LAYOUTS

a.       Write a narrative project scope summary.

b.      Make a Project Budget Summary sheet.

c.       Identify the modular elements in the program requirements, which will dictate the configuration of the building floor plan, and then develop appropriate net square foot dimensions for these modules.

d.      Create room layout diagrams for three levels of planning. (Master Plan, Schematic Relationships, and Room Layouts).

5.                     PROJECT COST ESTIMATES

a.       Adjust budget estimates to local cost rates and inflation.

b.      Write a business letter to a client, describing facility project planning methodology.

6.                     BUILDING CODES

a.       Understand the need for building codes and their uses.

b.      Be able to identify sources for applicable facility codes, ordinances, and property covenants.

c.       Utilize appropriate facility codes to calculate:

                                                               i.      Occupancy Classification

                                                             ii.      Type of construction

                                                            iii.      Building size and height limits

                                                           iv.      Occupancy allowed

                                                             v.      Egress needs (exits, travel distance, hallways)

                                                           vi.      Plumbing fixture needs.

7.                     DESIGN PROCESS

a.         Describe the three phases of design in terms of plans, specifications, estimates, and management concerns.

b.      Write a statement of work for a design contract.

c.       Locate published sources of designers, and sites where owners can post potential projects.

d.      Create a planning level project schedule for design and construction based standard curves.

e.       Establish a design fee estimate.

f.        Define reimbursable design costs.

8.                     DESIGNER SELECTION & FEES

a.       Describe the AE selection process for public and private work.

b.      Perform a designer selection rating.

c.       Describe six methods of establishing a price for design work.

d.      Define the contract limits of designer liability for design.

e.       Analyze designer fee proposal and create negotiation strategy.

f.        Document results of fee negotiations.

g.       Create detailed time schedule from planning through final work completion.

9.                     PLANS AND SPECIFICATIONS

a.       Describe the CSI format for specifications and plans.

b.      Be able to write a typical CSI format specification section.

c.       Perform constructability review of project plans.

d.      Create submittal log for construction phase.

10.                 CONTRACT AWARD PROCESS

a.       Be familiar with the contents of General Conditions and Supplementary Conditions.

b.      Describe the elements of the contract document.

c.       Create an addendum for bidding.

d.      Perform and construction bid analysis

11.                 PRECONSTRUCTION

a.       Be aware of the duties of a construction project manager.

b.      Create a Pre-Construction meeting agenda from contract documents.

c.       Be able to verify insurance and bonding coverage requirements.

d.      Create a quality control check list for construction projects.

e.       Find reference material for submittal reviews.


a.       Identify the most common causes of construction fatalities.

b.      Calculate the critical path in a network schedule.

c.       Select the appropriate scheduling technique for construction work.

d.      Be able to organize project information into a logical filing system.

e.       Create and maintain a change order log.

f.        Conduct a project close out.

13.                 CHANGE ORDERS

a.       Be familiar with the General Conditions related to change orders.

b.      Analyze a change order proposal for validity and pricing.

14.                 WARRANTY

a.       Establish systems start up training schedule for maintenance department.

b.      Verify accuracy of operation manuals and as built drawings.

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There are as many rules of thumb for projects as there are thumbs.  Most of the rules are based on the “school” of experience (usually bad experience).  As a guide for the less experienced managers of capital construction, the following compendiums are provided for your use as a starting point in your quest for the perfect project, or at least one that does not consume your reputation as an effective manager:


1.      Managing Capital Construction (Things to keep in mind so you can keep your mind).

2.      Rules of Thumb for Vice Presidents to Manage Successful Capital Projects.


Managing Capital Construction

(Things to keep in mind so you can keep your mind)


1.      Know what you are building and how it fits your strategic plan and your mission.


2.      Make sure you have a good team with clear goals and a united front, and know them well.

a.       Good architects are worth every penny.

b.      Match the ability of the Architect/Engineer with the ability of the contractors who will bid the job.  Don’t design something the contractors have never seen.

c.       Don’t neglect interior design, it can cost time in installation, but also yield spectacular results.


3.      Don’t go into a project under funded with respect to cash or time.

a.       Never share with the architect, the contractor or any outside person what you are, or are not, able to do. 

                                                   i.      Never let them think you have either more time or more money or more flexibility than you have already told them.

                                                 ii.      Even your own employees will give away strategic information that will come back to haunt you.

b.      Keep the pressure up, today is the day you will need at the end of the project, so do it today.

c.       Every time estimate given is too short for reality, so plan accordingly.  Every cost estimate is too little for reality, so plan accordingly.

d.      The weatherman is always wrong, the rain gauge on the job is rigged and Monday night football makes it sure that no work gets done on Tuesday.


4.      Show personal knowledge and interest in the project, but also retain an air of authority and of mystery.

a.       Your constant issues to keep up the drumbeat are:

                                                   i.      Cost

                                                 ii.      Quality

                                                iii.      Time

b.      Don’t eat lunch with the crew that is building your project.

Rules of Thumb for Vice Presidents
To Manage
Successful Capital Construction Projects


    1. Add 15% to the total program estimate and then don’t tell ANYONE it’s there.


    1. Ask another VP in your peer group what they have done.
    2. Find a style of building you like (ask the Dean of the college, go visit other campuses, search the web).


  1. TIME:
    1. Design (for 30,000 square foot building allow 9 months)
    2. Construction

                                                               i.      For 30,000 S.F. building allow 12 months including weather.

                                                             ii.      Allow for special items with long lead delivery times (odd shape windows, elevators, Italian marble, etc.).


    1. Renovation Projects = 10 –12%
    2. New Construction = 8% plus interior design


    1. Are they “likable?”
    2. Do your personalities fit?
    3. How important is your project to their firm?
    4. How close are they to your site? (not too close).
    5. What are their fees and costs?
    6. Who is really going to design the project (not the principals normally)?



§         Where to reduce cost in the project.

a.       Start with items you can’t see (MEP).

b.      Keep the look and feel of the finishes (use alternate materials, e.g. Fritz tile not terrazzo).

c.       Hire a cost consultant to check over design and detailing.


    1. Create a bidding pool of five bidders (someone always drops out).

                                                               i.      Regional presence.

                                                             ii.      Reputation for quality work (without lawyers).

                                                            iii.      Big enough to have support staff (Project Manager, Superintendent, and Admin.)

                                                           iv.       Top management concerned about your project (not a faceless corporation far away).

    1. Open bids privately
    2. Discuss value engineering ideas with only the apparent low bidder, unless there are two equally low bids (final prices with competition).


    1. Renovations = 10%.
    2. New Construction = 3%.


    1. Don’t make yourself the point of contact for construction matters.
    2. You need to have space and time to make decisions.


    1. Hire a master planning consultant to get you through the Programming phase.
    2. Hire a program/construction manager to guide you through the design and construction phases. (cost 3-5% of construction value).
    3. See the web page for sources.


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3. Eleven Ways the Construction Manager
Can Destroy a Project


1.      Failure to maintain accurate control over change orders.

  • Work being done without authorization (or funding),or material substitutions being made without technical evaluation, or schedules being stretched with extended overhead costs undocumented.


2.      Failure to keep the boss and customers apprised of the status of construction, including anticipated delays in completion, and cost increases.

  • No reaction time or options available for the boss, when everything is done after the fact.


3.      Failure to review the plans and specifications prior to issuing request for bids.

  • Value engineering after the bids are submitted results in pennies being saved on the dollar value of the revised work.


4.      Failure to identify and expedite long lead time material and equipment.

  •  Normal schedules are impossible to meet with unusual material requirements.


5.      Failure to ensure that contract documents such as Performance & Payment Bonds; Workman’s Compensation Insurance; Builders Risk Insurance, and Contracts are properly executed before work starts.

  • When a workman is killed or injured on your site the lawyers look for the party with the “deep pockets” to sue, which is usually the owner.


6.      Neglect to visit the job site regarding safety and quality of work.

  • No one else visits the work daily with your focused interest on long term work quality, and the safety of the campus environment.


7.      Failure to insure that all required testing is accomplished.

  • Without a testing submittal plan, you won’t even know what tests to look for, nor will you know what the required test results should be.


8.      Ignore situations, which could result in contractor claims.

  • Time does not heal issues, problems just fester, grow bigger, and become harder to resolve due to facts fading and contractor claims becoming dogmatic.


9.      Late response to contractor inquires and submissions requiring approval.

  • Time is something you cannot buy more of at the end of the project when deadlines are due, so don’t waste this crucial resource early in the project be letting everyone slip due dates for submittals and requests for information.




10.  Failure to promptly review and forward contractor payment requests.

  • Contractors operate on a very tight financial basis with just-in-time cash flow to subs and material suppliers.  If they don’t get paid promptly, then the whole contracting financial house of cards can crash on your head, when the work stops, and bonding companies eventually finish the project.


11.  Insufficient attention to detail when closing out the contract.

  • Like a circus leaving town, the contractors move on to other projects, and their crews rapidly leave the worksite.  Finishing the last 5% of the work takes 80% of the Project Manager’s energy.  On poorly managed projects with inadequate quality control during construction, it may not be possible to overcome all of the defects during the final punch list inspections made during the last few days of work.
  • Don’t overlook the user concerns such as Keys, Maintenance Training, Spare Parts, Operating Manuals, Final punch list completion, and Warrantee contacts).


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The Construction Management Department provides management and administration of the design and construction of new facilities and major alterations to existing facilities for Elon University.  Time, cost, and quality are the primary issues to be managed to provide the most effective use of our resources.



Guiding Principles


1.      Customers:  We exist to serve our customers.  Within the constraints of funding, sound engineering principles, and good contract administration procedures we will go the extra mile to satisfy our customers’ needs.  Specifically we will be:

q       Accommodating, Responsive, Cooperative, and Courteous


2.      Contractors/Designers:  We are responsible for facilitating construction work to be done on time, on budget, and with good quality through the efforts of construction contractors and designers.  Our attitudes toward them are the most important in forming productive working relationships and insuring the success of the project.  Our relationship will be characterized as:

q       Objective, Firm, Fair, Reasonable, and Prompt.


3.      Subcontractors/Suppliers:  We must maintain a positive working relationship with subcontractors and suppliers similar to our relationship with prime contractors.  However, all of our dealings with subcontractors and suppliers must be through the prime contractor.  We must be responsive to their problems.


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1.      Keep the projects moving.

q       Delays cost money and don’t add value to the project.

2.      Maintain status of change orders. (i.e. funding, estimates, time)

q       Keep pressure on contractor and designer to act promptly.

q       Obtain funds in a timely manner

3.      Negotiate change orders and write recommendation letters.

q       Document reasonableness of changes (both price and time extensions).

4.      Document contract actions such as directions to contractors or clarifications for designers.

q       Verbal directions must always be confirmed in writing.

5.      Authorize field changes not to exceed $xxx (dollar limit set by your boss)

q       Document your action.

6.      Review the following submittals:

·        Plans and specifications – review for accuracy and possible changes.

·        Monthly invoices – review for acceptance after designer certifies.

·        Progress schedules – review for owner actions and update progress.

·        Schedule of values – review for accuracy and no front end loading.

·        Shop drawings, samples – review for compliance with owner’s requirements.

·        Safety and Quality Control plans – review for critical items.

7.      Coordinate activities of customer; contractors; designers via:

·        Preconstruction conference

·        Daily contacts with field supervisors

·        Project status meetings (changes pending, submittals, RFI, action pending, schedule status)

·        Project completion and turnover (punch list completion, ensure compliance with contract requirements for training, warrantee, record drawings, etc.).

8.      Routinely inspect jobs for safety and quality.

  • Look for potential accidents affecting off site personnel.
  • Look for compliance with change order work.

9.      Notify the boss of situations involving:

  • Accidents
  • Utility outages
  • Construction quality deficiencies
  • Potential change orders involving time or money
  • Situations involving reprimand or censure
  • Any controversial matters (crime, arguments)



Construction Department Management Guidelines



·        Proactive not reactive (look for solutions before there are problems)

·        “WE” not “them”  (There is no “them” in our department)

·        Efficient, timely delivery of projects within budget and as specified quality.

·        Sense of urgency, complete tasks with appropriate level of urgency.

2.      Curiosity and honesty are the key characteristics of everyone in the department.

·        What do we do well?

·        What can we improve?

·        Are we taking care of our people? (Training, equipment, leadership)

·        Who does what and why?

·        Honesty is more than being truthful:

·        Full attention to work during working hours.

·        Dealing with customers and coworkers.

3.      When you promise to do something....do it!

·        If you can’t perform, then feed back to customer reason for change.

·        Establish new completion date if possible.

4.      Give yourself time to THINK.

·        Don’t get consumed with the mountain of minor daily tasks and lose sight of the long-term goals.

·        Use late afternoon Fridays to quickly reflect on past week and next week’s goals with the staff.

5.      Tell the boss if there is a big change in the plans:

·        Cost, timing, quality.

·        Don’t wait for the perfect status report... get the information out ASAP.

·        Give the boss lead-time to make a decision, which allows time for options to be chosen.

6.      The boss should not be given raw data that you have not reviewed.

7.      Be sure your staff understands the hot items.

·        Follow-up as needed...make lists.

·        Use quality assurance not damage control.

8.      Tell customers about:

·        Scope of projects and status of their requests to make changes.

·        Utility or facility disruptions, which impact their operations.

9.      Don’t hide from customers; solve personality issues so only the facts are left to discuss.

10.  If customers are told to call the office:

·         Be sure that customer service attitudes are exhibited during every encounter.

·         Don’t assume friendly, courteous, knowledgeable service just happens.

11.  Quality is attained through training and supervisor’s attention to detail.  Go see our work.

12.  Don’t fix something partially twice...do it right once.  Temporary patches last forever and look it.

13.  Schedule summer work carefully to insure success of fall opening day.

·        Do project scope and planning early.  Allow time at the end for changes.

14.  Walk around and see the work.  Talk to our customers both staff and students. 




TITLE:   Director of Construction


SUPERVISOR:   Vice President for Business, Finance, and Technology


SCOPE:   Under the broad policy, and guidance of the Vice President for Business, Finance, and Technology the Director of Construction manages and administers the design and construction of new facilities and major alterations to existing facilities for the university.                                 




1.      Coordinate and insure effective performance of the many people and organizations involved in the construction of a new facility or modifications to existing facilities.  This includes obtaining cooperation of the architects, engineers, contractors, job superintendents, government agencies and university officials including representatives of the many departments involved with the projects. 

2.      Review technical contract documents and insure compliance during construction.  Interpret construction plans and specifications and assign responsibility when conflicts arise.

3.      Monitor change orders and make technical and fiscal recommendations.

4.      Analyze construction plans to insure that the facility will be completely functional, maintainable and of a high quality.

5.      Review and approve progress schedules and progress reports.

6.      Maintain liaison with appropriate state and local agencies with respect to project approvals and construction inspections.

7.      Coordinate owner provided items such as furnishings and equipment.

8.      Establish and implement a building startup program for each project to ensure an orderly turn over of facilities from the contractor to the university.

9.      Any other duties that may be assigned.




1.      Bachelor’s degree (Master’s preferred) in Construction Management, Architecture, Engineering, or Business is required.

2.      Professional registration in North Carolina is required.

3.      Five years or more of professional experience in managing multiple/diverse design, renovation, and new construction projects is required.

4.      A high degree of maturity and ability to negotiate with a wide range of executive, professional and contractor personnel essential.

Return to Table of Contents



At this stage of your project you have more questions than answers:


  1. How to select an architect?
  2. What design services are needed?
  3. How much will the design cost?
  4. How long will it take to finish the design and bid the work?


Selection of designers is Not based on competitive bidding because:


1.      The scope of work is not defined well enough by the owner to get competitive bids from other designers.

2.      Since public safety is the paramount concern, the best-qualified designer is needed, not the cheapest.

3.      The designer needs to be the owner’s representative and cannot adequately perform if there is a buyer-seller relationship.


For Federal (and many state) projects Public Law 92-582 (Brooks Act) exempts design work from competitive bid procedures for the reasons stated above.  Privately funded institutions can create any process that they choose to follow, but most follow the established path.


When selecting a designer a four-step process is followed:


  1. Advertise (formally or informally)
  2. Slate (create a list of potential designers, usually 3)
  3. Select (evaluate the candidates, based on interviews, and logically choose one)
  4. Negotiate (after choosing the best qualified firm, negotiate the fee)


A written design contract statement of work will allow you to proceed with the design phase quicker, because you will have a clearer vision of your design service needs before meeting with the potential architects. (SEE DESIGN CONTRACT STATEMENT OF WORK.)  


Once you have identified your service needs, the next step is to actually choose an architect.  Many factors will be used to make this decision, so the fairest method is to create a rating factor analysis.  These evaluation factors, and the weight assigned are agreed to by the selection panel in advance of any meeting with the designers.   

Designer Rating Table for Designer_______


Rating Factor







1. Firm’s prior experience this type of work




2. References




3. Do they listen to your needs




4. Do you “like” them




5. Qualifications of those will actually perform the design







Total Score:


For example the following profiles possible for your new Health Center project:


  1. Acme has never done health work, but is located in your town.  The firm started in 2000 and has two employees.  They have never done work for you before.  The principal designer has a PhD in design and has won design prizes for office design work with her prior employer.  They are young and very eager to do this job.  Their other clients think that they are very conscientious and they visit the work sites frequently with rapid follow up on any problems.  The principal designer is known for her strong design opinions and does not like being told what to do.


  1. Grande has offices in five states with a branch office in Richmond.  The Richmond office has two employees who have not done health care work before.  The home office in Iowa has a full division of health designers for hospitals and research labs, but the mechanical/electrical division is in New York.  The local office will do site inspections, but not design. 


  1. Ajax has a ten-person office 50 miles away and has done health centers for other clients.  They are very busy now and cannot start this work for 5 months.  The principal designer is usually working on larger projects so the junior staff designer will be assigned to your work.


You have narrowed the field of possible designers down to the one you want.  Now it is time to discuss fees.  Design fee negotiation preparation is 90% of the negotiation.  You must clearly understand the cost factors in terms of which ones are EASILY quantifiable and which are not.  You can quantify:

  1. The number of progress meeting site visits, and their reimbursable costs.
  2. The unit cost for printing plans and specs, but not the final quantity.
  3. The need for models, renderings, etc.
  4. The hourly billable costs for designer time


You can make educated estimates of design time needed, based on the proposed scope:

  1. How many drawings are needed to define the major elements of the work:
    1. Architectural
    2. Structural
    3. Mechanical, Plumbing, Electrical
  2. How many hours are needed to make each drawing?
  3. How many meetings are expected with the owner?


There are many methods of determining the design fee for a project. 

1.      Time based methods:

a.       Hourly billing for each designer (includes salaries, benefits and OHP.)

                                                                           i.      Calculate hourly cost rates (SEE DESIGNER BILLABLE RATES).

                                                                         ii.      Estimate time to perform tasks in statement of work (SEE TYPICAL ARCHITECTURAL SERVICES).

                                                                        iii.      Sample calculation (SEE SAMPLE FEE NEGOTIATION ANALYSIS).

b.      Professional fee plus expenses, which includes salaries, overhead and a lump sum profit.  (8 to 12% of construction plus reimbursables)

c.       Multiple of direct designer expenses (direct salaries are multiplied by a factor covering benefits and OPH).


2.      Value of work based methods:

a.       Estimated construction cost multiplied by a percentage.

b.      Stipulated lump sum. (what the market will allow)

c.       Multiply consultant’s bills by a percentage representing designers OHP expenses.

d.      Square footage times a price factor ($/sf).

e.       Units. (number of units times a price factor ($/unit).

f.        Royalties (designer shares in owner’s profit/income from the project).


Pricing methods are all fundamentally related to the amount of time the designer must spend to complete the project.  It becomes more complicated to determine costs because the designer does not normally do all of the work in house. There will be subcontracts for MEP, Landscape, and Structural.  These can be estimated by calculating construction value of this sub work, and then applying a percentage fee. (see R.S. Means Engineering Fee rates 028-0010.)


There are numerous estimating guides that contain data on the probable duration of both the design and construction phases based on the following factors:

  1. Degree of difficulty of the project.
  2. Administrative process used by owner (private vs. governmental)
  3. Weather conditions.


A representative sample is shown below:





Construction Value

(millions $)

Simple Project

Complex Project

Under 1












TIME (weeks)


Construction Value

(millions $)

Simple Project

Complex Project

Under 1














Construction Value

(millions $)

Simple Project

Complex Project

Under 1
















The final thought regarding designers is that they are not perfect, though some of them think they are.  Your design will contain errors and omissions that will cost you more money during construction.  The design contract fine print states that the architect will exercise due care and attain “industry” standards of accuracy, but no guarantee is made for a perfect design.  It is reasonable to expect 1 to 2% of the construction cost will be for change orders.


You should follow this rule when assessing design liability: 

  1. If the error had been correctly presented in the original design, the cost would have been in the bid.
  2. If there were any additional costs incurred because of this error, such as rework you would not have had to pay for them.
  3. The contractor has a contract with you, not the designer, so you must pay. (Sometimes the architect will resolve changes directly with the contractor, but you need to be sure that no quality degradation occurs).


Design Contract Statement Of Work


  1. Outline format for Statement of Work for Design.
    1. Scope of Work

                                                               i.      Design service desired

1.      (Planning, conceptual design, complete design).

                                                             ii.      Type of work to build

1.      (New construction, renovation, addition)

                                                            iii.      Size of project

1.       (SF, number of occupants (staff and customers), number of work stations (offices, special rooms).

                                                           iv.      Location of project

1.      Address of site, company name.

                                                             v.      Construction Budgets

1.      Funds available

2.      Redesign requirements to meet budgets

                                                           vi.      Additional design services

1.      Site survey

2.      Soil borings

3.      Telephone/data system design

4.      Furnishing & equipment design


    1. Time Schedule Submission Requirements

                                                               i.      AE contract award date

                                                             ii.      Design submittals dates

1.      Schematic

2.      Design Development

3.      Construction Documents

                                                            iii.      Solicitation of bid date

                                                           iv.      Construction contract award date

                                                             v.      Start of construction date

                                                           vi.      Occupancy date


    1. Method of Contracting for Construction

                                                               i.      Competitive Bid

1.      open bid list

2.      limited, pre-qualified bidders

3.      small business only

                                                             ii.      Pre-selected contactor

1.      negotiate fixed price

2.      cost plus fixed fee

                                                            iii.      Construction by owner


    1. Specifications and Drawings

                                                               i.      Specifications

1.      CSI (Construction Specification Institute) format

2.      Generic, no brand names allowed in spec.

3.      Proprietary items allowed

4.      At least three equal products

5.      Performance

6.      Referenced commercial standards

                                                             ii.      Drawings

1.      Size of plans (full or half)

2.      Quantity needed with each design submission for review

3.      Quantity for bidders


    1. Additional project services

                                                               i.      Local permit applications

1.      Planning/Zoning Board  (water & sewer connection)

2.      Code Officials review meeting

3.      Erosion permits

4.      Highway crossing permits

5.      Notification of additional power demand

                                                             ii.      Construction services

1.      Review and approval of contractor shop drawings, samples, catalog cuts.

2.      Keep minutes of progress meetings

3.      Site visits

4.      Inspections

a.       Periodic, Punch List, Final.

5.      Change order technical support and cost review

6.      Review of value engineering proposals


    1. Cost estimates

                                                               i.      Life cycle estimates

                                                             ii.      Design estimates

1.      Schematic

2.      Design development

3.      Construction documents

    1. Payment schedule

                                                               i.      Lump sums (with percent complete progress payments)

1.      Schematic

2.      Design development

3.      Construction documents

4.      Contract administration

                                                             ii.      Other services

1.      Hourly rates for staff and principals

Designer Billable Rates


  1. Hourly cost rates for designers.
    1. Example:

                                                               i.      Cost salary rate

1.      Designer salary $35,000. (includes 25 % payroll taxes, pension, insurance)

2.      40 hour week, 52 week year = $16.83/hr

3.      Anything missing from this calculation?

                                                             ii.      Billing salary rate

1.      Total work hours = 40 hr/wk x 52 wk=2080 hr

2.      Vacation 3 weeks = 120 hr

3.      Holidays 8 x 8= 64 hr

4.      Sick time 6 x 8= 48 hr

5.      Net hours available for billing= 1848 hr

6.      Non billable (training, etc.) hours 40% of net=739 hr

7.      Total billable hours per year = 1109 (1109/2080=53% efficiency)

8.      Designer billing rate $35,000/1109=$31.56/hr

9.      Still have to recoup overhead and profit.


                                                            iii.      Total billing rate

1.      (Salary  + overhead + profit)/billable hours

2.      Overhead

a.       Everyone not directly billing to the project.

                                                                                                                                       i.      Clerical, mailroom, accounting, etc.

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Business expenses (insurance, membership dues, cars, office rental, electricity, telephone, copier, etc.)

b.      Add up the actual costs  (varies up to 2 times salary rate.)

3.      Profit varies.  = 10 to 20 % of (salary + overhead)

4.      Example:

a.       Salary = $35,000

b.      Overhead = $20,000 (per audit)

c.       Profit =($35k + $20k) x 20% = $1100

d.      ($35,000 + $20,000 + $1100)/1109 = $50.58/hr

e.       Note: $50.58/16.83= 3.01 times the cost salary rate.


Now you see why the design fee schedule looks excessive, when the professional rates are $150/hr and you know they don’t actually pay an architect at that rate.

Typical Architectural Services

















Phase / task



non- Professional)

Billable Rate
















P1- administration





P2- programming





P3- masterplanning





P4- exist. facilities survey





P5- prelim. cost estimate





P6- site selection





P7- promotion





P8- presentation





P9- other




















S1- administration





S2- design





S3- drafting





S4- field survey





S5- cost estimate






























D1- administration





D2- design





D3- drafting





D4- field survey





D5- cost estimate





D6- outline specifications





D7- consultant coord.





D8- presentation





D9- other




















C1- administration





C2- change in scope





C3- working drawings/










C4- working drawings/










C5- cost estimate





C6- specifications





C7- consultant coord.





C8- quality control





C9- other















phase / task















B1- prebid administration





B2- postbid administration





B6- addenda





B9- other




















A1- administration










A2- shop drawing review





A3- record drawings





A4- observation





A5- change orders





A6- close-out





A7- coordination





A8- other




















X1- administration





X2- renderings / models





X3- drafting





X4- exist. building survey





X5- extended admin.





X6- other



































Total Fee:





Engineering Consultants:





Total Design FEE:






Sample Fee Negotiation Analysis


  1. Your prospective designer has submitted a proposal for $142,000 to provide complete design services for the Health Center.
    1. Your fee estimate from R.S. Means is $93,000
    2. What two questions do you ask her?

                                                               i.      What is included in the fee?

                                                             ii.      Provide details of fee breakdown (reimbursables and design).

  1. Your designer then provided the following information:
    1. Design cost $122,000
    2. Reimbursables $20,000

                                                               i.      Printing $4000 (P&S 40 sets at $100 each)

                                                             ii.      Travel $8000 (36 trips at  $222 each)

                                                            iii.      Soil borings $2000

                                                           iv.      Time spent at progress meetings $6000 (36 x 2hr = $83/hr)

    1. What questions do you ask about reimbursables?

                                                               i.      What is your position on each question?

1.      Printing seems high for five bidders.

2.      Why 36 trips (biweekly meetings for 8 months = 16).

3.      Soil borings are not reimbursable.

4.      Meetings are not reimbursable.

    1. What questions do you ask about the design cost?

                                                               i.      How many hours are expected for the design effort?

                                                             ii.      What is the hourly billing rate?

  1. Your designer then submitted the following data:



Your Estimate







Design Development DD



Construction Docs CD






Contract Admin







1180 hrs

864 hrs


    1. Total hours 1180 x $83/hr = $97,940 + $24060 = $122,000 design cost.
    2. What questions do you ask about each phase? (What is your position on each question?)

                                                               i.      What is included in pre-design seems high.

                                                             ii.      What is included in schematic seems high.

                                                            iii.      What is included in the Contract Admin (site visits too many).

    1. What questions do you ask about the consultants?

                                                               i.      What work are consultants performing.

                                                             ii.      Breakout their costs/hourly rates.


  1. Your designer has submitted the following information:
    1. MEP design is a lump sum with no details of hours.
    2. What questions do you ask?

                                                               i.      What is the value of the MEP construction.

                                                             ii.      What is their fee as a % of construction.

    1. Assuming the total construction cost is $640,000 and MEP is 20%:

                                                               i.      MEP work should be $128,000.

                                                             ii.      What design percentage would you use to design it?

1.       Use RS Means Unit Costs 028 0010 (Reference 010-030 engineering fees for simple structure)

2.      4.73% x $128,000 = $6,000.

  1. Write a brief one page letter to your boss explaining;
    1. The total proposed fee cost.
    2. Your total fee estimate.
    3. Your total recommended feed after negotiations.
    4. Which items you negotiated to arrive at the agreed fee.

                                                               i.      Use the question and answers from above.


Return to Table of Contents





Since the planning process establishes the basic customer desires for the new facility, which are used to define the facility needs, it is essential that all aspects of the project be evaluated.  Misunderstandings at this stage are easy to correct, but become very expensive after construction starts.  Remember the Arizona businessman who bought the London Bridge, but did not realize that the monumental lift bridge he wanted was actually the Tower Bridge.  Not a big deal until the wrong bridge was reassembled in the Arizona desert. 


Developing planning data involves the collective action of the user groups, vice presidents of the school, and possibly a planning consultant.  If you don’t ask the right questions and synthesize the information into meaningful facility needs, then you will be aimlessly wandering all over the place and never reach a logical, affordable facility program definition.  Containment of fanciful requirements and a firm focus on maintaining the budget will be probably the responsibility of the Vice President for Business or the Provost.


Utilizing the process and principles described by R.G. Hershberger in his book, Architectural Programming and Pre-design Manager, the following matrix of program data has been developed to summarize project program issues. 


Definitions for Programming Matrix

Data fields



1.      Typical topics, which may apply in planning a project. (not all apply every time)

2.      Client may have specific ideas that may conflict with criteria, which are not obvious unless all elements are considered.



    1. What does the client want to achieve?
    2. These should be broad general requirements to set the direction for the program.
    3. EX: Bigger health center for 5000 patients.



    1. What are the facts/criteria (existing conditions, and building codes) that apply to each ELEMENT?
    2. EX: Existing health center SF, adequacy evaluation report.



1.      Potential solutions to solving the problems defined in goals, and facts.

2.      Maybe sketches, or calculations.

3.      EX:  Build additional 2000 SF.

Facility Program Matrix









1.  HUMAN:

  1. Function (what is purpose of space)
  2. Social (how do work groups interact)
  3. Physical (client age, children/ elderly, ADA)
  4.  Physiological  heat sensitive elderly, light glare)
  5. Psychological (colors, create feelings of  calm/energy??)





  1. Site (views, topography)
  2. Climate (temperature, sun angle)
  3. Context (off site traffic patterns, other building shadows)
  4. Resources (available water, air, fuel, building materials)
  5. Waste (trash, sewer)





  1. Historical (historic districts, native designs)
  2. Institutional (purpose of space.. prison, hospital)
  3. Political (zoning, planning boards)
  4. Legal (building/fire codes)





  1. Materials (client wants specific material used: brick/ adobe)
  2. Systems (Mech/Electric systems, ceiling styles, light types)
  3. Process (time available, fast track/modular)





  1. Growth (need for future expansion?)
  2. Change (flexible for changes in use)
  3. Permanence (long life or short)





  1. Finance (feasibility? commercial market assessment)
  2. Construction (establish realistic budget)
  3. Operations (staffing cost impact)
  4. Maintenance  (replacement cycle for… roof, HVAC)
  5. Energy (cost of energy)





  1. Form (what it looks like.. color, shape)
  2. Space (open plan, or cubicles)
  3. Meaning (image to community.. power, friendly..)





  1. Structural (stable won’t fall down, special equipment needed)
  2. Fire (special needs)
  3. Chemical (on or off site pollution)
  4. Personal (working space around equipment)
  5. Criminal (lighting, prisoner control)










NOTE:  Every ELEMENT is not applicable to each project.  Select the relevant ones or modify titles to suit specific project descriptions.


The matrix approach is best implemented with large wall areas using hand written notes posted by column.  Focus groups can then “see” the data and make adjustments more easily.  Using an impartial outside moderator may be the most efficient technique to perform these programming meetings.  The Goals/Needs should be developed very carefully because they will drive the design, while Facts/Criteria will probably be non-controversial.  When it is time to discuss Solutions/Options there should be no negative judgments made during the brain storming session.  Discussions can rage on for weeks regarding site location and orientation of the new facility.   


Return to Table of Contents





After the broad programming goals are developed, specific requirements for each space need to be documented so the designer can incorporate these needs into the design.  The Space Performance Data Sheet is also used by the owner representatives when making their design reviews to confirm that no critical requirements have been lost in the shuffle of design paperwork.







Large meeting room with teleconferencing capability


(Note criteria e.g. 10 SF /person)


3000 sf


(Number of people e.g. staff and visitors)


300 in fixed seats


(Special equipment e.g. Sound system, oxygen pipes)


Large screen TV,

Overhead data projector,

Microphone at each seat


(Special needs e.g. Acoustic levels, access or views to other spaces)


Light levels high enough for TV camera images of audience

FINISHES: (cleanable, durable)




High quality surfaces, corporate looking, carpets


(Describe adjacency needs (bubble diagram or matrix) Usually separate attachment)


Next to the lobby, breakout study rooms, and catering kitchen




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Project approximate budget estimates are based on the total square footage to be constructed with cost factor adjustments for geographic location, complexity of the design (height, environmental systems, etc.), and the required quality of the finishes.  These unit costs are available from a variety of estimating services such as R.S. Means.  The following table demonstrates how the estimated construction costs are marked up to include total project costs such as design, equipment, and site development.


Cost Estimate Elements

(typical values shown)



Estimate $

A.  Facility Cost (gross square footage)

$/SF x gross SF


B.  Site Development (utilities, roads)

5 – 25% of A

10% of A


C.  Fixed Equipment (built in not movable)

5 – 25% of A

8% of A


D.  Total Construction



E.  Design Fees (5 – 15% of D)

10% of D


F.  Construction Contingency (3-10% of D)

3% of D


G.  Movable Equipment (5 – 25% of D)

10% of D


H.  Land Acquisition (use appraisal)



I.  Total Budget




As the design progresses the estimate will become more accurate, but it will always just be the designer’s best guess.  If the designer presents an estimate that is too high, then the owner will make unnecessary cuts in the program, but if the estimate is too low, the project may not be buildable when the bids are evaluated.  Either way it is going to be exiting on bid day.  The “market” will define what the project is really going to cost, but not necessarily what it is worth.    Some bidders may be too busy and submit an inflated bid, while others may be out of work and submit a very low bid to keep their workforce employed.


In addition to this summary budget form, there are two other forms that are useful in documenting the assumptions made in the detailed project estimates.  The first form (SEE PROJECT ESTIMATE UNIT COSTS) provides a guide for estimating the furnishing, computer, telephone, and moving expenses. It also has unit costs for typical construction elements, which can be used for small renovation estimates.


The second form (SEE PROJECT BUDGET) includes a summary of all project costs from planning and design to moving and permits.  Note that there are contingency allowances for construction and telephone/data separate from the total project contingency allowance. 



Project Estimate Unit Costs











































































































































VCT  12X12