Initiate a Capital Project-Campus Design and Facility Development - Carnegie Mellon University

Initiate a Capital Project

To initiate a project with Campus Design & Facility Development (CDFD), begin by submitting the Capital Project Application. 

Iniciate a Project

1.  Capital Project Application

To initiate a project with CDFD, the requesting department can complete a Capital Project Application online. CDFD will be in touch to set up an initial meeting with the department stakeholders to discuss the project scope and create an initial budget estimate.

2.  Initial Client meeting - Budget Estimate and Capital Project Rationale

Once a project is requested CDFD and the department will schedule an initial meeting to discuss the project and complete the Budget Estimate and Capital Project Rationale form. The Budget Estimate will be completed by CDFD based on the requested scope and the Capital Project Rationale will be completed by the department to provide the academic, research or administrative need for the project and detail the funding sources. The Budget Estimate will provide the department with an order of magnitude for the cost of the project based on the discussed scope, and comparable past project data (if available). This budget range will be used for initial project approval from the monthly Capital Budget Review meeting with University leadership. The Budget Estimate is for approval purposes, and a more detailed budget will be provided after the project has been approved and the CDFD Project Manager and Department have started working on the detailed scope.

The Budget Estimate and Project Rational Form will be used to obtain initial project approval and should be signed by the following: 1) the Department Head and 2) the Dean or Vice President of the College or Division.

Note: If a project is the continuation of previous work, or a study it may be possible to bypass the Budget Estimate and Capital Project Rationale form and to proceed with a more detailed Project Investigation Report that would then be signed by the department and presented at the Capital Budget Review Meeting for approval. This form can only be skipped if CDFD has enough information for a detailed budget prior to approval.

3.  Project Approval - Capital Budget Review Meeting

Once submitted to CDFD, all new Budget Estimates and Capital Project Rationales are presented to University leadership including the CFO, EVP, and Provost for review and approval. This meeting takes place once a month and the department should be prepared to answer any questions asked by the group as needed for approval. The approved meeting notes serve as formal record of approval, unless the project is over $5 million and then Board of Trustees approval is required. All projects must be approved by University leadership before any work can begin, or funding transferred.

4. Project Assignment by CDFD

Once the project has been approved at the Capital Budget Review meeting, CDFD will assign a Project Manager who will work directly with the department and an official project number in Oracle. The project number is used to track and monitor all funding and expenses associated with the project.  

CDFD will send an acknowledgement email to the department confirming that the project has been approved, assigned a Project Manager and number, and can officially begin.

5.  Funding Request

The initially approved Budget Estimate will be the basis for the project funding and budget in Oracle. The Project Manager or CDFD Business Manager will confirm funding from the funding string with the department in an approval email. It may be possible to split funding based on the length of a project, but all funding for a phase must be transferred prior to encumbering any contracts or purchase orders. The Department is asked to reply via e-mail with their approval of funding and a valid oracle GL string.

6. Project Investigation Report

The Project Manager works with the project stakeholders and external experts as necessary to develop a detailed cost estimate for the project called the Project Investigation Report. The PIR can be based upon detailed design estimates, or post-bid costs, and are usually completed immediately prior to construction. As stated above in step 2, if the project is a continuation of previous work, or based on a detailed study it may be possible to complete the PIR earlier in the project schedule for approval. The amount of time and effort required to develop a PIR varies depending on the scope and complexity of the project.  

The PIR includes: the construction estimate, all other hard costs, contingency, soft costs (i.e., internal and external fees), schedule information, and other details relevant to the project's total cost estimate.

The PIR is prepared by the Project Manager and reviewed by the Project Manager’s Director in CDFD and also by the AVP of Campus Design. Once the internal CDFD review is complete, the PIR is sent to the Department for their review and approval. If the Department agrees with the description, estimated cost, and schedule in the PIR, then the Customer Representative and their Department Head and/or Dean should sign the PIR and send it back to CDFD.

7.  Scope or Budget Increase Approval – Capital Budget Review Meeting

Once submitted to CDFD, if the PIR is greater than the initial approved Budget Estimate the project budget and scope must be reviewed and reapproved by University Leadership including the CFO, EVP and Provost prior to the start of project construction.

8.  Construction and Project Completion

Once the PIR is approved, CDFD proceeds with the next phases of the project through to the project's completion. At any phase during the project if the budget increases beyond the approved amount the project MUST be reapproved at the increased cost.