UT System Capital Project Delivery Guide

The Project Planning Phase

Planning Phase Timeline


Tasks and Deliverables

1. Maintain a Strategic Capital Projects List  (Back to Top)

The institutions are also expected to maintain a comprehensive and strategic capital project priority list.  In collaboration with the Office of Academic Affairs or the Office of Health Affairs, each institution will regularly review strategic priorities coordinated with the approved Campus Master Plan.

2. Submit an Annual Capital Expenditure Plan (MP1)  (Back to Top)

Section 61.0572 of the Texas Education Code further requires that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) collect information on the capital expenditure plans of public universities, health-related institutions, state, and technical colleges.  This includes information on the institution’s new construction, major repair and rehabilitation projects, and deferred maintenance needs.

All U. T. System institutions must complete an annual Capital Expenditure Plan (MP1) as required by the THECB and Bond Review Board (BRB).  The MP1 is a Project plan summarizing facilities-related Projects for the succeeding five years, including land acquisitions.

Guidance on submitting the annual Capital Expenditure Plan can be found on the THECB web page for Capital Expenditure Plans.


3. Determine That a Project Is Ready to Proceed  (Back to Top)

Once an institution has determined that it is ready to proceed with its highest priority project, it must obtain the approval of the appropriate Executive Vice Chancellor and the Chancellor to obtain funding and begin the project Definition Phase.  The Definition Phase is intended to more accurately resolve a project’s scope, cost, schedule, and change management controls prior to addition to the Capital Improvement Program (CIP).  The Definition Phase approval authorizes procurement of professional services and expenditure of temporary funds of up to 5% of the preliminary Total Project Cost for programming, design, engineering and pre-construction phase services.

4. Appoint the Project Advocate(s) (Back to Top)

Recognizing that project success can be greatly improved through increased investments in early project planning, stakeholder engagement, and ownership of the decision making process, the Board of Regents adopted the requirement to assign a Project Advocate.  The Project Advocate should be an individual formally empowered by the Institution’s President to represent the college, the department, and/or the programmatic need of the Institution.  The Project Advocate’s role spans the entire duration of the project, and includes responsibilities to:  

  • Lead the user stakeholder committees engaged in the pre-project planning efforts
  • Serve as chief administrator of the institution’s Change Management Process related to project scope, quality, and cost
  • Participate in post-construction facility performance evaluations

In order to be fully effective, Project Advocates must have:

  • The trust and confidence of the President
  • Subject matter expertise for the type of project proposed
  • Easy access to the President and the facilities executive(s) for resolution of critical project issues
  • Credibility with peers and programmatic stakeholders
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills

Further, Project Advocates should be appointed with the understanding that they will have the following duties, roles, and responsibilities.  The Project Advocate:

  • Will lead the overall pre-project planning and facility programming committee effort defined by the Institution
  • Should organize Campus committee visits to comparable facilities and identify relevant best practices if appropriate
  • Will partner with other assigned institutional executives responsible for the delivery, maintenance and operation of Capital Projects
  • Will serve as the primary point of contact for comments and requests from User Groups and anticipated occupants of the proposed facility
  • Should clearly define for the project team from the outset, the protocols for communication with consultants and the approval process
  • Should be dedicated organizationally and personally to the Project for the duration of the Project, and compensation and other performance or productivity impacts should be resolved in advance of project duties
  • Should be comfortable making project presentations to a wide variety of engaged and interested parties
  • Should be collaborative and adept at fair and even facilitation of the planning and design process
  • Shall not delegate these duties to others nor assign a surrogate without concurrence from campus administration

Confirmation of the appointed Project Advocate is to be included in the President’s letter to the appropriate Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic or Health Affairs and the Chancellor to proceed with the Definition Phase of the project.

5. Request Approval to Start the Definition Phase of the Project  (Back to Top)

Approval to Proceed with the Definition Phase of the Project authorizes procurement of professional services and expenditure of up to 5% of the anticipated project cost using temporary institutional funds for completing the Owner’s Project Requirements, confirming the Basis of Design, resolving the Facilities Program, and completing Schematic Design, including reconciliation of a detailed cost estimate.  While temporary funds must be initially provided by the institution, those funds will be reimbursed to the institution from Board of Regents approved funding sources upon Design Development (DD) Approval or upon submission of a project application to THECB (if applicable), whichever is later.

The Request to Start the Definition Phase can be made at any time via memorandum from the President of the institution to the appropriate Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic or Health Affairs and the Chancellor.  There are no associated deadlines or requirements to coordinate scheduling with Board of Regents’ meetings.

As illustrated in the Request Approval to Start the Definition Phase of the Project Template, the memorandum should contain the following elements:

  • Project Description including verification of its priority
  • Project Justification
  • Identification of the Project Advocate(s) and justification for selection
  • Preliminary Total Project Cost
  • Anticipated source of funds
  • Goals of the Definition Phase
  • Key outcomes of the Definition Phase
  • Request for Institutional Management (if applicable at the time of the request)
Resources for Requesting Approval to Start the Definition Phase of the Project
Resources for UT System Institutions Only (get access HERE)