Major Capital Improvement Program

Capital planning is an iterative process that evaluates the capital needs identified by academic plans and assesses alternatives to meet such needs in the context of anticipated capital resources. The planning process provides opportunities for participation by students, faculty, staff, administration, and the design professional community. Importantly, in addition to determining priorities for the allocation of capital resources, the process creates a framework of accountability to ensure that capital resources are managed wisely and appropriately. Important elements of the campus capital planning process include:

  • Meeting with academic and administrative leadership to discuss opportunities, challenges, and priorities;
  • Aligning identified priorities with anticipated capital resources;
  • Identifying tradeoffs and issues associated with capital investments (e.g., use of external financing that creates dollar-for-dollar opportunity costs in the operating budget and ongoing operating costs of capital facilities;
  • Presenting alternatives to campus leadership that illustrate how the capital plan meets campus priorities.

Major Capital Improvement Projects are those projects with an estimated cost greater than $750,000. In general, Major Capital Improvement Projects with an estimated cost of up to $70 million can be approved on campus for budget, design, and appointment of the executive architect. Projects over $70 million require Regents approval of budget and design. When a major capital project gains standing within the Ten-Year Capital Financial Plan and reaches the point of implementation, the project is formally reviewed and approved at three distinct points in its development: definition, programming, and design.

Major Capital (Major Cap) Improvement Process:

A Project Brief establishes the initial parameters of a project’s scope, program, planning, and design objectives. Project Briefs are prepared by the Capital Program Management (CPM) unit with assistance from program experts, Design and Construction Management (DCM), and Campus Planning. The Project Brief originates from a request from a Vice Chancellor, Dean, Provost, or Chancellor. CPM and DCM, in collaboration, develop the Project Brief. A Project Advisory Committee Appointment Letter is prepared by DCM.  The Project Brief and Project Advisory Committee Appointment Letter is approved by the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor and represents the campus authorization to begin planning the project.

A Project Brief typically includes: 

  • Programmatic goals and objectives;

  • Planning & design objectives in accordance with the campus Physical Design Framework;

  • Site selection;

  • Funding sources;

  • Conceptual cost model;

  • Conceptual project schedule;

  • Special studies needed: utility, hazmat, traffic, seismic, etc.;

  • Sustainability goals;

  • Framework goals;

  • Project delivery strategy: design- bid- build, design- build, etc.;

  • Approval timing: post project program, end of schematic, P only, etc.

The subsequent phase of project development involves a more robust definition of the project’s scope, program, planning, design objectives, and cost model. The resulting Project Program document provides the information needed to efficiently and effectively begin the subsequent design process.

A Project Program typically includes:   

  • Programmatic and functional requirements;
  • Planning & design objectives - in accordance with this Design Framework;
  • Area requirements and space tabulations;
  • Sustainable design objectives in accordance with sustainability policy;
  • Building systems requirements;
  • Cost model;
  • Project schedule.

Oversight of the programming effort is the responsibility of the Project Advisory Committee, which ensures that the program is developed consistent with the approved Project Brief.

The Project Advisory Committee is appointed by the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor and typically consists of the following individuals: 

  • Program Representative Vice Chancellor or Dean – Co Chair;
  • Vice Chancellor Resource Management & Planning – Co Chair;
  • Key program representatives (faculty, staff, & students);
  • Representatives from Design and Construction Management (DCM), Capital Resource Management (CRM), and Campus Planning units;
  • Other key stakeholders from the campus community.

The Project Program is reviewed and approved by the Chancellor’s Committee on Planning & Design.  Upon approval by the committee, a separate executive summary document (Project Planning Guide) and full budget or “P” approval is issued; which allows the project to proceed into the subsequent design phase.

The Chancellor’s Committee on Planning & Design is comprised of the following individuals:

  • Chancellor  – Chair;
  • Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor;
  • Vice Chancellor Resource Management & Planning;
  • Vice Chancellor Administration;
  • Vice Chancellor Student Affairs;
  • Vice Chancellor University Relations.

Approval of the Project Program and issuance of the Project Planning Guide represents, at the discretion of the committee, full budget approval. The committee can also consider a “P” only approval that authorizes the completion of the design phase and at the conclusion of the design phase, the project returns to the Chancellor’s Committee on Planning & Design for both budget and design approval.

Prior to bringing a project to the Chancellor’s Committee on Planning & Design for design approval, the campus submits the required Delegated Authority Project Certification Checklist to the University of California Office of the President (UCOP). UCOP will review the submittal, and within fifteen days, confirm the project is consistent with the UCD Long Range Development Plan, the Ten-Year Capital Improvement Plan, and the Physical Design Framework.  

The campus capital planning and implementation process provides opportunities for the campus community to participate in shaping the capital plan and ensures appropriate oversight, accountability, and prioritization.