Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to some of our most commonly asked questions. Can’t find what you need? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
When does Architectural and Engineering Services (AES) need to be involved?
AES should be consulted any time you want to modify your space. Some minor work can be done on-campus via a work order through Facilities. However, anything that requires a plan check, permits, hiring of an architect or engineer, hiring an outside designer or contractor will need to go through AES. Even the addition of some furniture meets these requirements, so when in doubt, ask to avoid unforeseen problems down the road.
When does my request become a project?
A project will not become active until it has been approved and assigned to an available project manager. Approval occurs through the Capital Planning Needs Request (CPNR) process for projects over $50,000, or by the Campus Architect for projects under $50,000. Once projects are approved, they will go into a queue and be assigned to the next available project manager. Queueing order is by assigned priority ranking for CPNR projects, and in the order received for projects under $50,000. Exceptions will be made at the discretion of the Campus Architect for issues of life safety or other emergencies. The person submitting the project will be notified once their project is assigned to a project manager. A list of all assigned projects is available on our website or at our office.
How do I know the status of my projects?
Project Managers will try to keep you updated about the status of your projects, but they often get very busy. Projects status reports are updated monthly and are available on our website or by visiting our office. You can also contact your assigned project manager any time you need to understand the status of your project.
How long will my project take?
While every project is unique and will have its own timeline, a typical project schedule is detailed below and a summary of all the phases can be seen on our Typical Project Process page.
- If your project is projected to cost less than $50,000 (approved by the University Architect, as detailed above) you can expect 4-8 weeks of design, 4-6 weeks of permitting, 3 weeks to bid, 2-6 months of construction and 1 month to move-in (between 6-12 months total, approximately).
- For projects estimated at between $50,000 and $1,000,000 (approved through the CPNR process) you can expect 6-9 months of design, 6 weeks to bid, 1 month of contract negotiation, 9-12 months of construction and 3 months to move-in (between 19-24 months total, approximately).
- Projects in excess of $1,000,000 vary based on complexity and can take 5-6 years, approximately.
Why is my project taking so long?
There are many steps involved in completing a project and a lot of them happen outside of AES’s control (Legal reviews, Division of Building Safety reviews, document signature routing, etc.). We do our best to move your project through this process as quickly as possible, but there are a few things you can do to make sure there are as few delays as possible.
- Identify and approve sufficient funds: Project costs are often more than expected and attempting to negotiate a budget number will delay the project while waiting for additional budget.
- Don’t change the scope of the project: Get decision makers on board early and make sure everybody agrees about the scope of the project. Scope changes always lead to project delays. If you do need a change, make it as early as possible. The later in the project a change is made, the more time and money it will take to implement.
- Be flexible: The more we limit the contractor’s ability to work, the longer the project will take. Working around people, limiting when loud/smelly work can be done, or phasing projects to meet campus schedules may be necessary, but will make the project take longer. If there are factors that will limit the contractor, please discuss them with the project manager as early as possible.
- Plan ahead: The process of approving, funding, designing, and bidding a project takes a significant of time. Submitting a project in January may not provide enough time for construction to happen in the summer. The further ahead a project can be submitted, the more likely it is we can meet your schedule.
Can my project be completed during the summer?
There are two main factors that determine whether summer construction is possible:
- Is there sufficient time to fund, design, approve, bid, contract, and supply the project before summer starts?
- Does the construction schedule feasibly fit into the summer?
We’ll do a feasibility review with you at the start of a project to see if summer construction is a realistic goal. As the scope of the project develops throughout the design process, that goal may become more or less realistic. You can help keep the goal of summer construction as realistic as possible by doing all of the items listed under ‘Why is my project taking so long,’ plus the following:
- Give us the whole summer: If at all possible, plan for move-in/move-out of the space to happen at the very beginning and ends of the semesters. Move-in/move-out time that occurs during summer reduces the available construction time and the likelihood of successful summer construction.
- Have a contingency plan: Delays often happen and it’s better to plan for them up front. Summer is a short and unforgiving schedule. Discuss your specific needs with the project manager and come up with a realistic plan.
How much does a project cost?
Your project is subject to all conditions affecting the construction market and costs are continually changing. The costs of designers, consultants, sub-consultants, government agencies, contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, etc. come together to determine the final project cost. These prices fluctuate based on market forces, labor and material availability, tariffs, taxes, natural disasters, other regional projects, and seasons, among other factors. We won’t know for certain what these costs are until we receive the contractor’s bids. We will put together a cost estimate at the beginning of the project and update it as the project progresses. Please remember that commercial construction is very different from residential construction and the costs aren’t comparable. To help you figure out what your project may cost, here are some rough square foot (SF) prices based on recent projects.
- Interior Remodel (finishes only): $75/SF
- Interior Remodel (full): $200-$300/SF
- Interior Lab Remodel: $300-$500/SF
- New office: $30,000/office
- New cubicle: $3,500/office
These are construction costs and there are many additional costs (design fees, permit fees, equipment, furniture, moving and storage expenses, etc.) that are incurred throughout the process. Please add an additional 30% to estimate these costs.
What if my project is funded by an outside source?
If your project is funded by a grant, the state’s Permanent Building Fund, or another method there are still ancillary costs to any project that these funding sources don’t usually cover. Please be aware that you may still be required to pay for things like locks, IT or AV equipment, furniture, and moving expenses.
It’s also important to remember that there are usually complex rules associated with outside funding sources. Navigating and abiding by those rules usually increases project cost and schedule.