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Facilities Planning

Reference Guide to Capital Construction



Many public schools and BOCES officials have expressed a desire for a step-by-step outline of how to advance capital construction through the Office of Facilities Planning. We are responding to this by preparing a series of articles which will be published in subsequent issues of this Bulletin. The articles will be numbered and indexed to facilitate collecting them in a loose-leaf binder. This will result in a reference and procedural guide to capital construction.

The mission of the Office of Facilities Planning is essentially twofold. It is prepared to offer many helpful and varied services to school districts and BOCES which are faced with the necessity of proceeding with capital construction. It also has a regulatory responsibility to assure conformance with the State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and to review approve, and issue building permits, for projects undertaken by school districts and BOCES.

There are essentially five major steps in the process which begins with a determination of need in the district and ends with occupancy of a facility and the final cost accounting for a project. These five stages are:

  1. Preliminary Planning
  2. Approval of Preliminary Plans
  3. Approval of Final Plans and Specifications
  4. Construction/Occupancy, and
  5. Final Cost Accounting

Each future article will be indexed to one of the above stages and subsequent articles within a stage will be numbered consecutively.

Stage A. Preliminary Planning

  • As early in the planning process as possible, i.e., as soon as the board starts to think that a capital construction project may be necessary, the school superintendent must send a Letter of Intent (LOI) advising the Coordinator of the Office of Facilities Planning that a project is contemplated.
  • A Project Manager will be assigned who will guide the district through the whole process. Initially, the Project Manager will contact the district to ascertain pertinent information about the project(s) as necessary to assign a Project Control Number, and to determine the next step(s) the district must take.
  • The Project Manager will advise the district in writing of the proper procedures to take and will forward the necessary forms.

Stage B. Approval of Preliminary Plans

  • Elements of this stage include a description of the project for environmental review purposes, schematic plans for new buildings or additions, the proposed revenue sources and proposed project budget, and an inventory of work items consistent with a format developed by the Construction Specification Institute (CSI).

Stage C. Approval of Final Plans and Specifications

  • Following the Approval of Preliminary Plans, proper authorization must be obtained and the A/E authorized to prepare final plans and specifications for the project.
  • Following receipt, review, and approval of final plans and specifications, in addition to the historic Certificate of Approval and Bond Certificate (where bonds or BANs are involved) a Building Permit will be issued. Construction cannot commence until the Building Permit is prominently displayed at the work site.

Stage D. Construction/Occupancy

  • During construction, any Change Orders to the contract shall be submitted. At the time of substantial completion of the project - i.e., when the work is sufficiently complete for occupancy of the building for its intended use - the A/E shall submit a Certification of Substantial Completion form and in the case of a new building or addition, the district shall cause a fire inspection to be made of the total building and the results of the inspection reported on a Fire/Safety Report. A satisfactory Fire/Safety Report will result in a Certificate of Occupancy. Following receipt and posting of the Certificate of Occupancy, the building can be fully utilized.

Stage E. Final Cost Accounting

  • Following completion of all aspects of the work for instructional buildings and bus facilities, and after all costs have been paid, the district must submit a Final Building Project Report of the financial transactions of the project. Total building aid is determined from this report and adjustments will be made to the estimated aid already paid by the Division of Educational Finance.