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The project design and development process can be lengthy, expensive, and confusing. The process is often misunderstood by everyone, including potential users, building committee members, deans, academic administrators, and governing boards.

This chapter discusses procedures for developing a project from the predesign and conceptual design phases through construction documents. Topics include the management of professional services contracts, design guidance to consultants, cost estimating during the design process, project budget management, involvement of building committees, and review and approval of design documents by the institution’s staff and external agencies.

Phases of a Project


This section describes the traditional project design and development process, which includes 1) predesign, 2) schematic design, 3) design development, 4) construction documents, 5) bidding, 6) construction, and 7) occupancy. Management and accountability requirements persuade most institutions of higher education to use this traditional process. State government units or boards of trustees with authority for an institution’s capital improvement plans often have several authorization steps tied to these stages of development that must be satisfied.

Institutions using this traditional procedure typically hire an architect or engineer to prepare the required drawings and specifications, and provide administration of the construction contracts. Members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and other qualified architects and engineers can provide the required services. Individual state requirements dictate whether architectural or engineering registration is required. Generally, however, an architect’s seal will be required for architectural and related drawings, and engineering registration will be required for mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, structural, civil, and related engineering documents. Complex projects often require specialists to provide consulting services directly to the architect of record. These specialty consultants include food service, telecommunications, security, vertical transportation, and specialties associated with a specific project type such as laboratories, libraries, or classrooms.

As defined in the AIA Handbook of Professional Practice,1 the process for the typical architectural project includes the following phases:

Predesign Services

Predesign services include a range of activities that precede schematic design, among which are programming, site selection, research of prototypes, evaluation and documentation of existing facilities, or other activities not directly involved with developing documentation for a specific project. Predesign services are not included in basic services and may not be involved in all projects.

Schematic Design

Products of the schematic design phase include outline specifications; a statement of anticipated or probable cost; anticipated area of construction; and schematic floor plan, site plan, and exterior drawings (usually including one or more renderings). This phase accounts for approximately 15 percent of the total contract for basic services, excluding predesign and postoccupancy services.

Design Development

The project characteristics and scope are defined in detail during this phase. Materials are selected, specifications are refined, and probable cost is reviewed. Products of this phase include dimensioned floor plans; wall sections; structural layouts; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system layouts; and plumbing and electrical system layouts. This phase accounts for approximately 20 percent of the total basic services fee.

Construction Documents

Working drawings and technical specifications—together known as construction documents—are produced during this phase, which accounts for approximately 35 to 40 percent of the fee. These are the documents on which contractors base their bids.


This phase, which includes issuing construction documents for bid, receiving bids, reviewing bids, and recommending to the institution the lowest acceptable bid, accounts for approximately 5 percent of the fee.


The principal activity during this phase is ensuring that the institution receives the construction products and quality of construction required in the construction contract. It generally accounts for about 20 to 25 percent of the fee.


Traditionally, architectural and engineering services have ended with the completion of construction. In recent years, institutions have increasingly requested additional services, such as an inspection prior to the expiration of the typical one-year construction warranty period and commissioning of HVAC systems.

Construction Delivery Methods

The traditional construction delivery method is known as Design-Bid-Build. There are several other delivery methods, including design-build, fast-track, and construction management with a guaranteed maximum price. Many hybrids of these delivery methods have been developed in an attempt to gain market advantage and to address issues of quality, cost, and scheduling. These methods and their advantages and disadvantages are discussed in the Bidding and Construction Strategy section.



Predesign services are those activities that occur prior to the traditional basic services as defined in standard owner-architect agreements such as those provided by the AIA. Because most of an architect’s responsibilities involve design and construction, activities that precede design are generally considered additional services. Site identification, program development, and the investigation of financing alternatives would all be considered predesign activities.

Institutions often find it advantageous to engage either internal professional staff or a specialized firm, other than the design architect, for program development. The use of an in-house team may be appropriate when there is enough project activity on campus to justify having a capable design professional staff. This can be a cost-effective approach, but the use of external consultants gives the institution access to the most current information within the field and does not burden the institution with excess staff in times of reduced activity.

The fundamental aspects of the project—the budget, schedule, and program—are established at this time. Without adequate definition of all requirements of the project, from LEED certification to site constraints, expectations for performance cannot be met, and the project will not be judged successful. This is a critical time for input from users, faculty, staff, students, and all others who will judge the success of the project.

Budget and Schedule


Keeping the project cost within the budget and maintaining the schedule are the two items most critical to a project’s success. It is important not to understate a project’s cost at the beginning. Budgets are difficult to change once they are established. Likewise, once an occupancy date is established, plans will be made accordingly and people will be disappointed if the date is missed.

Total Project Budget

The total project budget should include not just hard construction dollars, but any equipment services, fees, purchases, or other charges to the project. These include testing, geotechnical, and survey fees; the architect’s and engineer’s fees; moving expenses; printing; advertising; property acquisition; telecommunications; internal charges that the institution places on capital projects to support its staffing or expand utility systems; and a significant contingency, in the range of 5 percent of construction costs for major new construction and from 10 to 20 percent for renovation.

Most university architects have worked with a board member who believes that a project can be developed for less money. This may be true, and the institution’s project manager must guard against excessive demands by faculty and staff, and unnecessary flamboyance by architects. However, it is inappropriate to compare university construction projects with commercial construction. Commercial projects are generally built for less money by concentrating on first costs and the ability to sell the property. An institution must examine the life cycle cost of its projects, not just the first cost; it seldom considers the sale of projects. This difference in perspective is a frequent source of misunderstanding.

Project Schedule

The project schedule is built around several events, activities, and periods of opportunity. Some of these events are external to the project activities, such as deadlines tied to funding, the academic calendar, and dates of required board approvals. The project manager must anticipate these contingencies, as well as the time required for activities outside the design and construction process. These activities include the selection of architects and engineers, negotiation of contracts, relocation of activities on the project site, and moving into the completed project.

Schematic Design


Schematic design is the first phase in which the project’s image comes to life in the form of floor plans and exterior views, renderings, and frequently three dimensional digital images. In the traditional process, the beginning of the schematic design through the completion of construction documents has been viewed as one continuous process. However, in practice these processes are seldom continuous. The institution’s funding and approval procedures may dictate that schematic design be completed several months, or even years, before funds are available to continue the project. This is particularly true when fundraising, whether from public or private sources or from bond financing, is involved. Frequently, these efforts will require conceptual design products to illustrate or explain the project. In such cases, an institution may proceed with partial funding required for a conceptual or early schematic design effort and postpone the completion of the schematic design phase until more complete funding is available.

Schematic Design Products


Typical elements prepared during the schematic design phase include the following:

Renderings and Models

Renderings, which represent the architect’s conception of the building, and models can be the most valuable products of the conceptual or schematic design phase. They are usually included as additional services, depending on the number and detail required. The architect’s work may include rough sketches and study models, but these generally are not appropriate for display or publication. Published images are often necessary to engage the public in the project’s development. If such images are developed prior to the completion of schematic design, they may lack sufficient detail to accurately model the technical development of the project.

Plans and Elevations

Floor plans done at this point should include a basic layout of the building, identification of special characteristics, and designation of mechanical and vertical circulation space. Such floor plans must be roughly to scale. Most architects and engineers work on computer-aided drafting systems, and therefore, these plans are inherently scaled. As a result, the floor plans frequently appear more detailed and refined than they actually are.


The schematic design should include a narrative that documents the design concept, the project issues resolved, the major construction components—site work, utilities, and architectural, structural, mechanical, and electrical components—and the relationship to the initial program. The narrative and accompanying diagrams and other drawings should have sufficient detail to allow an initial review by the institution.

Outline Specifications

Outline specifications for major project components should be set at the conclusion of schematic design. These specifications determine the expectations for exterior materials and interior finishes. At the same time, the basics for mechanical and electrical systems should be defined, the routes of services determined, and the general capacities identified. This stage is the last convenient opportunity to identify significant discrepancies between project requirements and the budget. For example, if the availability of adequate steam pressure from a campus-wide system had been assumed during the predesign phase, this is the time to verify that capacity. If such capacity is not available, it will be necessary to expand the system or resort to stand-alone equipment. In any event, there may be significant budget implications.

Cost Estimates

Cost estimates derived at this stage of the project should go beyond the level of approximate cost per square foot. The cost estimate should be based on the outline specifications and assumptions about materials. It should define major component and system assumptions and should explain the basis for unit prices, which are often derived from comparable projects.

Project Management Issues During Schematic Design


Design phase project management issues take many forms, from complying with the institution’s procedural requirements to managing the budget. The project manager must rely on a variety of techniques to resolve conflicts and bring a project to a successful completion. Project management issues include 1) cost and budget, 2) program creep, 3) schedule slippage, 4) design review, 5) quality assurance, 6) use of design and estimating contingencies, and 7) building committees.

Cost and Budget

The project manager needs to know the project’s financial status at all times. A cost estimate should be completed at the end of the schematic design. If the costs are over budget, there are four ways to bring the project back within budgetary limits: reduce the scope of the project; change the budget; change the quality of materials and systems; or find alternative methods of accomplishing the same result. A project manager can seldom rely on market conditions to resolve a budget shortfall. Market conditions can change, but the project’s scope—its size, technical complexity, and assumptions for its materials and systems—do not. If there is a budgetary problem, the schematic phase is the time for its resolution. Otherwise, the project will become more difficult, perhaps even impractical.

Program Creep

During the course of the project, particularly in schematic design, it is common for users to say, “It would be nice if….” What follows is a description of space or a capability never considered within the original program. This request often comes from a dean or other high-ranking academic administrator or department chair who has more institutional influence than the project manager. These requests create difficult situations for the project manager, and the design team of architects and engineers. If the program requirements increase, there will be financial consequences. One effective strategy can be to make trade-offs, acknowledging an increase in one aspect of the project while determining a commensurate decrease in another portion.

Schedule Slippage

Schedules should provide enough time for the development of the project’s technical requirements and institutional review. As the project progresses, the project manager should guard against schedule slippage by monitoring the architect’s progress and by carefully scheduling the involvement of the institution’s committees, so that review periods do not disrupt the schedule.

Design Review and Approval

Design review involves more than aesthetics and should be more thoughtful than a board member’s preference for brick color. It requires presenting the proposed design to a design review board composed of members of the institution’s building staff, administrators, and often outside architects and engineers. This approach recognizes that design on a higher education campus is not an isolated event. Context, continuity, and urban or special development are essential to the development of a successful, attractive campus. Although building projects happen one at a time, the creation of a campus occurs over a long period. The campus is ultimately the result of a series of actions, each of which must be implemented with care and concern for the whole. Many universities are well served by having a university architect or other individual with vested responsibility for maintaining design integrity. This does not mean that all buildings should be alike, but it does mean that not all buildings should be considered appropriate for the campus. The importance of such an individual or group should not be underestimated. These individuals’ concern for issues outside day-to-day operations may occasionally put them in conflict with facilities management personnel, who are under more direct schedule and budget pressures. Although it is possible for adversarial relationships to develop, the campus will ultimately benefit from dialogue and serious consideration about its future.

Quality Assurance

Documents produced by architects and engineers should be reviewed by the institution’s facilities staff. The quantity and detail of this information increase dramatically as the project moves from schematic design through design development and into construction documents. Technical review during the schematic phase should confirm fundamental aspects of the project, such as utility services and structural systems. This is also the time to reiterate the institution’s guidelines. Many institutions have their own versions of design and construction guidelines. Increasingly, these guidelines are online and subject to more frequent updating than paper versions. Institutions that do not have guidelines should consider establishing them and may refer to guidelines developed by other institutions in their region.

Use of Design and Estimating Contingencies

Nearly all projects experience cost estimates that exceed the budget, program creep, and schedule slippage. As a result, there is increasing pressure to commit funds delegated for design and estimating contingencies. The project manager should resist these pressures. Many uncertainties remain at the schematic stage. Committing the estimating and design contingency funds at the conclusion of schematic design reduces the ability to respond to challenges that will arise later in the project.

Design Development


Drawings and other documents that establish the size and characteristics of the entire project are produced during the design development phase. Whereas the primary objective of the schematic design phase is to produce a clearly defined, feasible concept as approved by the institution, the primary purpose of the design development phase is to define and describe all aspects of the project so that what remains is the formal development of construction documents. All issues unresolved at the end of the schematic design phase must be resolved during the design development phase.



As an expansion of the schematics, the design development drawings fix the final size, configuration, and materials of the project. Drawings should include:

  • Site and landscape
  • Utilities: showing connections and routing
  • Structure: finalizing foundation and major element sizing
  • Architecture: plans, sections, elevations, equipment layouts, typical details
  • Mechanics: single-line piping and duct layouts, equipment sizes
  • Electric: major equipment layouts, riser diagrams
  • Special equipment: kitchen, computers, laboratories

At the conclusion of design development, changes from the schematic design and program should be documented. Other topics may include LEED certification and additional aspects of expected project performance.


The specifications at this point should include all of the anticipated sections. They should define the quality of materials and systems. Any consideration of sole-source or proprietary items should be resolved by the end of design development.

Cost Estimates

Design development-level cost estimates should be based on preliminary estimates of labor and materials. For larger, more complex projects, the institution should obtain an independent estimate for comparison with the architect’s estimate.

Construction Documents


Construction documents are the written and graphic documents prepared by the architect and engineers for communicating the design and administrating the contract. This phase includes the completion of all drawings and the detailed specifications for bidding or price proposals. In this stage, the design is converted into the language of the constructor through extensive drawings and notes to establish in detail what is to be built. In addition to construction documents and specifications, this phase includes the development of general conditions and forms in which bids will be taken.

General Conditions

The general conditions of the contract state the rights and responsibilities of the parties to the contract. These conditions define the obligation of the parties under the contract, the standards of acceptable practice, special contract conditions, special reporting requirements, and the required schedule. A standard set of general conditions is available from the AIA ( or from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGA) (

General conditions have been developed by the AIA, AGA, and related organizations. The specific requirements may differ among projects, depending on funding sources. However, the general conditions should address the following, as organized in the AIA format:

  • Article 1: Contract Documents. Defines the documents, contract, work, and project; execution, coordination, intent, and interpretations; and copies of documents furnished and ownership of same.
  • Article 2: Architect. Defines administration of contract duties and authority.
  • Article 3: Owner. Defines information by owner and owner’s right to stop work and right to carry out work.
  • Article 4: Contractor. Defines review of contract documents, supervision and construction procedures, labor and material, warranty, and taxes; permits; fees and notices; cash allowances; superintendent; responsibility for those performing work; progress schedule; drawings and specifications at the site; shop drawings and samples; use of site; cutting and patching of work; cleaning up; communications; and indemnification (of owner and architect).
  • Article 5: Subcontractors. Defines award of subcontracts and other contracts for portions of the work, subcontractual relations, and payments to subcontractor.
  • Article 6: Separate Contracts. Defines owner’s right to award separate contracts, mutual responsibility of contractors, cutting and patching under separate contracts, and owner’s right to clean up.
  • Article 7: Miscellaneous Provisions. Defines governing law, successors and assigns, written notice, claims for damages, performance bonds and labor and material payment bond, rights and remedies, royalties and patents, tests, interest, and arbitration.
  • Article 8: Time. Defines progress and completion, days, and extensions of time.
  • Article 9: Payments and Completion. Defines contract sum, schedule of values, progress payments, certificates for payment, payments withheld, failure of payment, substantial completion, and final payment.
  • Article 10: Protection of Persons and Property. Includes safety precautions and programs, safety of persons and property, and emergencies.
  • Article 11: Insurance. Defines contractor’s liability insurance, owner’s liability insurance, property insurance, and loss of use insurance.
  • Article 12: Changes in the Work. Includes change orders, claims for additional cost, and minor changes in the work and field orders.
  • Article 13: Uncovering and Correction of Work. Includes uncovering of work, correction of work, and acceptance of defective or nonconforming work.
  • Article 14: Termination of Contract. Prescribes methods of termination by the contractor and by the owner.

Institutions that receive federal funding for construction projects may be required to comply with additional general conditions.

Bid Forms

There are many ways to present the offer or proposal for work to be performed. The two most common are stipulated sum, also known as the lump-sum fixed price, and cost of the work plus a fee, also known as cost plus fee. Each has variations, but all proposals are basically competitive or negotiated. Some examples are as follows:

  • Competitive negotiated
  • Lump-sum fixed price cost plus fixed fee
  • Unit price cost plus percentage of cost
  • Hourly reimbursable
  • Guaranteed maximum
  • Incentive

Almost all public institutions use the competitive lump-sum fixed price method. This approach provides the accountability required for public projects and is unambiguous because it “lets the bid speak.” The unit price method is effective when specific quantities such as depth of drilling to rock cannot be predetermined. The cost-plus fixed-fee methods or percentage-of-cost method may be used for critical projects that have insufficient definition, such as emergency repair of a building within a limited time frame following a fire.

Supplementary Conditions

Supplementary conditions are included in the contract documents to reflect project specific requirements. For example, if the project is adjacent to a residence hall, the institution may wish to restrict periods of construction activity. Such a requirement would be included in the supplementary conditions.

Construction Drawings

At the conclusion of this phase, the drawing must contain sufficient detail for the institution to clearly understand the project’s scope and size and to provide the graphic basis for bidding by contractors. The documents should include:

  • Demolition and site preparation
  • Utilities
  • Landscape and site improvements
  • Structural
  • Architectural
  • Mechanical – HVAC
  • Mechanical – plumbing
  • Mechanical – fire protection
  • Electrical


Specifications should be organized in the 50-division developed by the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) ( The CSI format is the most widely accepted in the industry and provides a reliable basis for bidding work. The specifications should be in sufficient detail to allow contractors to prepare bids without relying on assumptions. To ensure competitiveness, at least three approved manufacturers should be named for all materials and equipment.

Cost Estimates

At the conclusion of the construction document phase, the architect should prepare a statement of probable cost based on the final documents. For large or complex projects, an independent estimate should also be obtained. Reconciliation of the architect’s estimate and an independent estimate can provide a firm basis for bidding the project.

Project Management Issues During Construction Documents Phase


Code Compliance

By the time the project reaches the construction document phase, fundamental code compliance issues should have been resolved. The next step is the submission of the construction documents to the appropriate code authorities. It is also common for an institution to include within its standard documentation requirements a statement to be signed by architects and engineers certifying that they have, to the extent of their knowledge, complied with applicable codes.

Scope Creep

The project manager should have control over program creep by this phase. Nevertheless, even at late stages there will be requests for additional space, changes in scope, and general changes to the program. The project manager should recognize that changes in the program at this stage represent additional costs for the architect to change the drawings and could affect the project budget.

Schedule Slippage

As the project moves toward bidding, it is important to maintain careful control over the schedule and to develop contingency plans for delays. For example, some projects must be completed in the summer, prior to the start of the academic year. The project manager should leave time in the schedule for an adequate bidding period, resolution of any irregularities, and project move-in and commissioning.

Design Review

Unless the design has changed, design review should have a minimal effect at this point. Significant changes in the program or substitutions of major material systems would require revisiting the design review process.

Technical Review

The construction document phase is the most critical time for technical review with relevant parties within the institution’s facilities management operation. Technical review should include a thorough review of the construction documents and specifications. An institution’s process will be significantly enhanced by maintaining an established set of review procedures and design guidelines that indicate preferences for materials and mechanical and electrical systems.

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is an ongoing effort on every project. It is best to require that architects and engineers perform a thorough and independent quality assurance assessment. On projects for which there is a construction manager, it is appropriate to include a constructability assessment within the manager’s expected services. This process need not challenge the architect’s and engineer’s fundamental assumptions or decisions, but it should produce a thoroughly coordinated set of documents.

Use of Design and Estimating Contingencies

At this stage of the project, the design contingency should be exhausted, and all items that were undecided should have been resolved. It is still appropriate to maintain an estimating contingency in the project budget, as well as a construction contingency that will be carried through the bidding phase. The construction contingency is intended to fund unanticipated construction costs. Although it is impossible to anticipate all of the conditions that will affect the total project cost, every effort should be made to reduce the number of surprises. This includes conducting a soils test early in the project and identifying hazardous wastes and other items that may have significant schedule or cost effects. The construction contingency for a large project should be 3 to 5 percent, while a small renovation should have a 10 to 20 percent contingency.

Design Contract Interpretation and Enforcement

The main responsibility of the project manager is to maintain tight control over the interpretation and enforcement of the design contract. Institutional representatives may believe that simple changes they request will have no significant impact on the architects and engineers. In fact, any deviation from the established course, however small, can lead to hours and weeks of additional effort that should be compensated as additional services. At the same time, the project manager must hold the architect and the engineer accountable for the quality of their work and their responsiveness.

Bidding and Construction Strategy


Early in the project, it is necessary to determine the bidding and construction strategy. If the project is a single lump-sum bid, the architects and engineers will develop and organize their documents accordingly. Alternatively, if multiple lump-sum bids for major trades or fast-tracking of an extensive series of packages coordinated by a project manager are anticipated, the structure of the documents and the architect and engineer’s approach to the project documentation may be altered.

Cost Overruns or Underruns

The dynamics of higher education projects result in everyone attempting to get maximum utilization of available dollars. In some cases, unexpended funds will be used for other purposes. This provides a strong motivation to increase a project’s scope in hopes that funds will be allocated in the budget. At the same time, there can be serious penalties if bids are higher than the established budget. This requires either an increase in funding or a rebidding of the project. To protect the project from this situation, it is prudent for the project manager to require the inclusion of bid alternatives. Alternatives are optional aspects of the project or portions considered to be less important. The estimated value of the alternatives should be approximately 5 percent of the construction cost. For example, in a project that involves research laboratories, it would be common for a portion of the space to be unfinished in the base bid and finished as an additive alternative. It is generally better to construct additive alternatives (additions to the project) rather than deductive alternatives (removing components). In the case of research laboratories, adding the completed space to the budget instead of subtracting it will generally provide better bids and more value.


This is the traditional construction delivery method and the one on which the preceding comments are based. The project is designed, the construction documents are completed, and then the project is bid and built by a contractor. This is the standard of practice used in many public projects.


The design-build approach uses a statement of requirements and generally early design development-level plans and specifications instead of complete construction documents to determine the price of the project. Design and cost submissions are made simultaneously after the review of the documents, often prepared by an architect or engineer in a traditional manner. The institution then selects a firm to complete the design and build the facility. In this case, the architects are under contract to the contractor or other entity providing the bid. This approach can reduce the institution’s technical review, thus placing the emphasis on the form of the contract and the rights and obligations provided.


Fast-track is a term applied to projects in which one attempts to minimize the project delivery schedule. It requires construction documents to be issued and contracts awarded on some portions of the project, such as foundations, structure, and exterior shell, prior to the completion of detailed floor plans and fitout documentation. Expediting decision making in this way has drawbacks, but when inflation is advancing at a rapid pace or quick completion of the project is critical, it can save considerable time.

The fast-track approach requires awarding contracts prior to receiving bids on the total budget. This may expose institutions to an unacceptable level of uncertainty. The concept of a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) was developed to address this issue. The construction manager provides a GMP based on partial bids and partial construction documents. With a GMP, the owner can proceed with the expectation that the project can be accomplished in its entirety within the stated price. This approach provides limited opportunity to adjust the scope of the project, along with the opportunity for excessive profits for the construction manager unless careful project cost accounting measures are included. In practice, the GMP approach is appropriate only for larger projects.

Other Design Process Management Issues


Financial Reporting and Schedule Tracking

One of the project manager’s critical responsibilities is to maintain adequate control over the project’s financial aspects. This includes records of the architect and engineer payments, reimbursable expenses, and additional services. But while the project manager is tracking the financial aspects of the project, the schedule must also be kept intact.

Project Checklist

The project manager should develop a series of checklists to manage the design process and ensure that milestones have been met and complete documents are being developed in compliance with the contract requirements. An excellent source for checklists is the latest edition of the AIA Handbook of Professional Practice.1

Errors and Omissions

Many institutions expect the architect to achieve perfection in documentation. This is not feasible or reasonable. However, the facilities manager should expect complete, thorough, and coordinated construction documents without significant errors. Such documents come from experienced professionals with effective quality control procedures. The goal is complete, coordinated documents without errors and omissions, and while this is the goal, it is reached in only the rarest of circumstances. This does not mean that architects and engineers usually perform poorly. It means that perfection is not a realistic expectation in building design and construction.

In a traditional approach, with adequate time and fee structures, errors and omissions change orders should amount to less than 1 percent of construction value. However, few major projects are undertaken in a strictly traditional manner. Fast-tracking, multiple-prime, design-build, advanced bidding, and many other hybrid forms of construction management demand much higher thresholds for errors and omissions due to the consequences of later decisions on earlier actions. Each project is unique and contains varied conditions. These all must be considered in contract administration.

Financing the Management Process

Institutions without a dedicated facilities development staff must allocate staff for the management of each project. An institution experiencing ongoing development activity should have a professional facilities development staff and may choose to charge individual projects for these services at a prorated share or to estimate the cost on a work-order basis for each project.



College and university building projects are challenging because of their tight schedules and budgets, multiple users, complex programs, and high expectations on behalf of all participants. A key to success under these circumstances is the conscientious involvement of the institution’s project manager, a knowledgeable architect and engineer, and a well-organized process for decision making and moving from a building concept to reality. The process will still be lengthy, misunderstood by some, and frustrating, as the constraints of budget and schedule limit the options. An institution’s buildings are an expensive investment and have an essential value in allowing the potential of an institution to be realized. A carefully managed design and development process can maximize the value of that investment.



1Demkin, Joseph A., ed. The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice, 14th edition. Washington, DC: The American Institute of Architects, 2008.

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