Small Construction Projects

Approvals and Implementation of Minor Capital Improvement Projects

It is important for department managers to be able to implement Minor Capital Improvement projects and smaller projects as quickly and cost effectively as possible. However, these projects must also be conducted in a manner consistent with University policy, the California Building Code, and the Public Contract Code. Outlined below are the factors that influence the approval, design, contracting and construction of these types of projects so that you may better understand the laws, policies and regulations that determine how a project is delivered. These factors typically have significant impacts on the schedule and cost of your projects.

Minor capital improvement projects are capital improvements costing over $35,000 and not more than $750,000 from all sources. This threshold is set by the State and is adjusted from time to time. The University historically has kept its definition of major and minor capital improvement projects in line with that of the State. Examples of these projects are adding new space, altering or improving existing space, permanent site improvements, and upgrades to a building's infrastructure. The originating department is responsible for submitting a project approval form for processing by the Budget and Planning office. You may direct questions about the approval process to that office.

Construction is defined by UC policy as demolishing, altering, upgrading, or renovating a facility or system. This includes changes to buildings, building systems, utilities, site improvements and drainage systems as well as painting or repainting. More information on this topic can be found in Volume 6, Chapter 1, of the UC Facilities Manual.

The California Building Code regulates construction. It is unlawful for any person to construct, alter, enlarge, improve, or change the use of any building or structure in violation of code. The building code is enforced by the Campus Building Official and the Campus Fire Marshal. Approvals of the Building Official and Fire Marshal are accomplished through routing to EHS a Project Review Questionnaire attached to a construction contract request form which culminates with issuance of a Building Permit. The Design and Construction Services project manager handles routing of the questionnaire.

UC Policy dictates that a design professional certify all projects over $100,000, and the architect or engineer must be licensed in conformance with State law. More on these requirements can be found in the Business and Professions Code, the Public Contract Code, and Section 106 of the California Building Code.

The hire of architects and engineers is regulated by UC policy. Volume 3, Part 1, Chapter 2 of the Facilities Manual allows appointment of a design professional when consulting fees are less than $100,000. Authority to appoint a design professional and to execute an agreement has been delegated to the Senior Associate Vice Chancellor, Campus Design and Facilities.

Construction projects costing less than $50,000 can be implemented by means of a negotiated contract prepared by the Director of Contracting Services, Design and Construction Services. The Public Contracting Code requires that we competitively bid any construction project which exceeds $50,000 including labor and materials. An informal bidding process is conducted by the Director of Contracting Services. The Design and Construction Services project manager defines the scope of work and obtains the bids for negotiated and informally bid projects. Projects costing more than $100,000 require public advertisements and a formal bidding process. Additional information on construction procurement processes may be found at https://www.facilities.ucsb.edu under Contracting Services. Authority to execute construction contracts has been delegated to the Director of Design and Construction Services. Licensed design professionals and contractors may donate services under zero dollar or reduced fee contracts executed and managed by Design and Construction Services. Reduced fee construction contracts must still comply with public contracting requirements.

It is desirable for department managers to be able to implement minor construction projects without becoming involved in the contracting and bidding processes described above. Facilities Management staff have and will continue to support the departments in this regard, subject of course to availability of personnel. However, Facilities Management staff are prevented by the Public Contract Code from constructing a project exceeding $50,000 inclusive of labor and materials ($25,000 for a painting project). Students, faculty and staff are not permitted to perform construction work. If you have maintenance staff and are unsure about the type of work they can perform, you should consult with the Director of Human Resources.

The staffs of Design and Construction Services and Contracting Services will guide your projects through the required procedures as efficiently as possible and will implement your projects as quickly and cost effectively as possible within the regulatory constraints placed on us.