Capital Projects Approval Procedure

Contact Officer Associate Vice-Principal, Facilities

Purpose

This procedure outlines the information required for approval and governance for a Capital Project, with special provisions for Major Capital Projects.

The Space Planning Policy and procedures will apply for any Capital Projects with a cost of less than $2.5 million dollars.


  1. Preliminary Capital Project Proposal
  2. Master Planning
  3. Final Capital Project Proposal
  4. Capital Project governance
  5. Definitions

Capital Projects may be identified through a number of avenues including but not restricted to:

  1. The capital planning process
  2. Special funding opportunities
  3. Research activities
  4. Unit initiatives
  5. Deferred maintenance programs

All capital projects must have a Project Sponsor. Minor Capital Projects must have the sponsorship at a minimum of the Dean, Vice‐Provost, Associate Vice‐Principal (or equivalent) level. Major Capital Projects must have the sponsorship of a Vice‐Principal and be approved by the Board of Trustees.

All planned deferred maintenance projects will be brought to the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) for approval annually, in November. This plan will be presented together with a status update on the deferred maintenance plan from the previous year. Accordingly, this procedure does not apply to deferred maintenance projects less than $5 million as long as they have been presented to SLT as part of the annual plan.

Stakeholder consultation is a critical component of all capital projects. Stakeholders, including the Campus Master Plan Advisory Committee, should be consulted as appropriate throughout the Capital Project planning and execution process.

In accordance with the terms of reference of the Committee, a subset of the Project Steering Committee must be involved in the selection of architects for project design. Involvement of the Project Steering Committee is not required if architects are being engaged only to do one‐time concept drawings.

A. Preliminary Capital Project Proposal

The Project Sponsor is responsible for preparation and submission of the Preliminary Capital Project Proposal (the Proposal). This step must be completed and approval obtained before any in‐depth conversations with and /or commitments to donors regarding capital projects can occur.

Required form(s):

  • Preliminary Capital Project Proposal
  • Real Estate Assessment Framework Questionnaire (for Major Capital Projects)

Proposals for Minor Capital Projects must be presented to the SLT for approval.

Proposals for Major Capital Projects must be presented to SLT for approval and include a completed Real Estate Assessment Framework Questionnaire.

If the Proposal is approved, the project will proceed to Step 2: Master Planning. Funding to move to the Master Planning stage (if required) must be on hand to move forward.

B. Master Planning

Once the Preliminary Capital Project Proposal is approved, a Master Functional Plan will be prepared by University Planning. The Master Functional Plan will set out (in summary form) the functions and uses and approximate square footage of each function and use and of the anticipated overall project. In addition, if required, University Planning will prepare a Siting and Massing report which, using the Campus Master Plan, will identify the location or choices of locations that are available for the project and a recommendation on which site best aligns with the goals of the project.

Master Functional Plans and Siting and Massing reports will be presented to SLT for approval.

If the Master Functional Plan and Siting and Massing is approved, Capital Projects will move to Step 3: Final Capital Project Proposal. Funding to move to the Final Capital Project Proposal stage must be on hand to move forward.

The Capital Assets and Finance Committee will be informed of all Major Capital Projects approved to move to the Final Capital Project Proposal stage.

C. Final Capital Project Proposal

The Final Capital Project Proposal stage may take several months to complete for a number of different reasons. For example, concept drawings are often required for donor engagement, which may be required to finalize funding sources. Accordingly, it is reasonable to expect that the Final Capital Project Proposal may be subject to several revisions before being finalized and presented for approval.

Before a Final Capital Project Proposal can be presented for approval, all funding sources must be confirmed1 to ensure there will be no funding shortfalls for the Capital Project. If all funding sources are not confirmed, Project Sponsors may propose a phased approval process including further preparation of design development drawings under the condition that the project will not enter the tender and construction phase until all funding has been confirmed.

Minor Capital Projects

This section applies to Minor Capital Projects. Spending for this phase is not expected to exceed $250,000. If required expenditures are expected to be higher, this should be highlighted in the Preliminary Capital Project Proposal.

For Minor Capital Projects, a Class D Cost Estimate must be prepared, and funding sources must be confirmed before the Final Capital Project Proposal can be brought forward for approval. Should the Class D Cost Estimate indicate that the cost of the Capital Project may exceed $5 million, a full Business Case must be prepared in accordance with Major Capital Projects.

Required form: Minor Capital Projects: Final Capital Project Proposal

The Final Capital Project Proposal form must be approved by SLT. Approval of the Final Capital Project Proposal form provides the Project Sponsor with the authority to proceed with the Capital Project.

Major Capital Projects

This section applies to Major Capital Projects. Spending for this phase is not expected to exceed
$500,000. If required expenditures are expected to be higher, this should be highlighted in the Preliminary Capital Project Proposal.

Required form: Business Case

The purpose of the Business Case is to provide a comprehensive overview of the capital project, including the need for the Capital Project, the Scope of the Capital Project, a Class D Cost Estimate, future operating costs, a clear funding plan, the identification of key risks and mitigation strategies, and the planned governance structure for the project.

At the conclusion of this stage, the following details must be available:

  • Functional program
  • Concept design drawings
  • Class D Cost Estimate
  • Estimate of annual facility operating and maintenance costs
  • Target Project timeline
  • Identification of key risks and mitigation strategies
  • Evidence of appropriate stakeholder consultation
  • Confirmation of governance structure including the Project Steering Committee
  • Confirmation of funding sources

Activities for this phase may also include, but are not limited to:

  • Environmental, Heritage, and due diligence studies
  • Determining if external project management resources are required
  • Planned construction approach (stipulated bid, design/build, construction management)

The Business Case must undergo the Internal Review Process before it is brought forward for approval.

Business cases for Major Capital Projects must first be presented to and approved by SLT before being presented to the Capital Assets and Finance Committee for approval. Upon approval, the Capital Assets and Finance Committee will recommend approval to the Board of Trustees. All Major Capital Projects must be approved by the Board of Trustees.

Approval of the Major Capital Project by the Board of Trustees provides the Project Sponsor and the Project Steering Committee with the approval to proceed.

For both Minor and Major Capital Projects, a Class D Cost Estimate is required as part of the Final Capital Project Proposal. As the definition suggests, a Class D Cost Estimate is a high‐level estimate that will need to be refined as part of the functional program and detailed design of the Capital Project. As part of the reporting outlined in Section 4 of this procedure, ongoing risks to the Capital Project (including budget risk) and related mitigation strategies will be the subject of regular reporting. Should the need for an adjustment to the approved budget arise, a request will be brought forward in accordance with the process outlined in Section 4 of this procedure.

D. Capital Project governance

Once the Capital Project has been approved, governance of Major Capital Projects transitions to a Project Steering Committee. Governance of Minor Capital Projects transitions to the Project Sponsor.

The status of both Major and Minor Capital Projects will be reported on regularly to SLT and the Capital Assets and Finance Committee in accordance with the requirements outlined in this section. Regular status reports will begin upon approval of the project, and continue until project completion.

Any project budget increases, Major Scope Changes, or Major Timeline Adjustments from the approved project budget, scope, and timelines must be approved by the same authority that approved the Final

Capital Project Proposal. For Major Capital Projects, this includes SLT, the Capital Assets and Finance Committee, and the Board of Trustees.

For all approved Capital Projects, the project documentation must be prepared and approved in accordance with the table below:

 

Minor Capital Projects

Major Capital Projects

Project Scope

Approved by the Project
Sponsor

Approved by the Project
Steering Committee through Project Charter

Project Status Reports

Quarterly to Project Sponsor

Monthly to Project Steering
Committee

 

Summary information to be
reported quarterly to SLT and the Capital Assets and Finance Committee

Quarterly Status Reports to
SLT and the Capital Assets and Finance Committee

Project Completion Report

Approved by the Project Sponsor

E. Definitions

Capital Projects: A capital project is a project that helps improve university facilities. Capital projects include, but are not limited to an expansion or renovation of an existing facility, leasehold improvements, the construction of a new facility, or the acquisition of land or other real property.

Class D Cost Estimate: A Class D cost estimate is a total project cost estimate, including construction costs and associated soft costs. The level of accuracy of a Class D cost Estimate will reflect the risk profile of the project (including complexity, type of project, and magnitude of budget) and will typically include a 20% Design Contingency and 10% Construction Contingency allowance. In addition a Risk Allowance may be included within the Class D cost estimate for high risk or complex projects.

Concept Design: Concept designs are created to represent work done in the Pre‐Design phase of a project including the analysis of client needs and statement of requirements, program confirmation, functional program, feasibility study, technical investigation, building condition assessment, construction cost estimate, site and existing conditions study, geotechnical information, and hazardous substances assessment.

Functional Program: documents the scope of functions, objectives and a basic operational description of each function to be addressed in the capital project. This includes proposed staffing or usage requirements of the functions together with an estimate and description of the space required to support the identified need. It provides a comprehensive understanding of the activities and functional needs of each function and the adjacency requirement for each function within the project.

Internal Review Process: Stakeholders from the following areas must review and sign off on the Business Case: Provost Office, Planning and Budgeting, Financial Services, Facilities, Communications, Information Technology Services, and Advancement. Review can be concurrent but for efficiency purposes should not be initiated until the draft business case is complete.

Major Capital Projects: A capital project that has a cost in excess of $5 million.

Major Scope Change: A change in functional program that would significantly impact program deliverables, space requirements, or University operations.

Major Timeline Adjustment: A change in the timeline that would significantly impact university operations (for example, a residence building not being ready for move‐in in September, or a significant impact on our ability to deliver academic programming or scheduled classes).

Master Functional Program: sets out (in summary form) the functions and uses for the project and approximate square footage of each function and use, and of the anticipated overall project.

Minor Capital Projects: A capital project that has a cost between $2.5 million ‐ $5 million.

Project Sponsor: Senior administrator whose role is to champion, oversee and advocate for the project, its requirements, and ensure support within the university community.

Project Steering Committee: The Project Steering Committee (PSC) is the governance body that assumes authority and oversight of a Major Capital Project after it has been approved by the Board of Trustees. The PSC will have responsibility for approval of all major project decisions and is ultimately responsible for ensuring the project is on budget, on schedule and within scope until occupancy and/or project completion.

Project Scope: The project scope contains a high level description of the project, including the relationship to a Functional Program and the intended deliverables of the project. There should be enough detail on Functional Program requirements and the deliverables to provide clear parameters to understand when the project scope is changing.

Date Approved

Month Day Year

Approval Authority

SLT, VP, Dean, etc.

Date of Commencement

Year Month Day

Amendment Dates

List the dates the policy has been amended (Year Month Day )

Date for Next Review

Year Month Day

Related Policies, Procedures and Guidelines

Capital Projects Approval Policy Space planning policy and procedures
Policy on Approval and Execution of Contracts and Invoices