Tips for Starting a Construction or Remodeling Project

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Do you need to modify or reconfigure a space by moving doors, walls, or windows? Do you have new equipment being installed that requires an electrical upgrade, plumbing upgrade or additional cooling?

These impact building structural, systems, or space usage.  They require Form 1 review and approval, design or engineering, and permits, before work can begin.

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Steps for Starting a Project:

  1. Always check with your facility manager, department manager, or school first - know what you can and can’t do
  2. Have a clear scope of work and project plan – changes cost time and money
  3. Ensure you have funding and approval in place – before making commitments
  4. Permits are often required – the County and University say so.  Allow time and money to acquire them
  5. Have a realistic timetable – include time for planning, not just to complete the work

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Begin Planning Your Project

Planning and managing the construction process at Stanford can be a time consuming and complex endeavor.  Good planning is the key to a successful project and accomplishing its goals and objectives.  There are several steps in the planning process that are necessary to complete before construction can begin.

Before planning your next project, review Form 1,  Stanford’s policy for managing construction on campus (PDF).

Scoping and Feasibility

  • Develop the project plan and objectives
  • Identify programmatic requirements
  • Determine constructability and identify planning, building systems, infrastructure and structural limitations
  • Establish rough scope of work and conceptual design
  • Develop ROM budget (Rough Order of Magnitude) and preliminary schedule

Funding – Design & Construction

  • Determine design requirements and build options based upon critical phasing & logistics
  • Provide design scope of work and select designers
  • Submit Form 1 for design funding
  • Hire design team for formal design and plan review
  • Submit Form 1 construction funding upon final bidder qualification & project estimate 

Design and Plan Review

  • Submit design drawings following University Plan Review process
  • Incorporate pertinent Facilities Design Guidelines
  • Identify and evaluate sustainability elements
  • Approve 50% design drawings (DD)
  • Approve 100% construction drawings (CD) for permit

Bids and Contract Award

  • Coordinate bid process with Contracts Office for inclusion of required contractual language & documentation
  • Qualify the lowest responsible bidder
  • Finalize project estimate and submit Form 1 for construction funding
  • Construction funding approval and contract award
  • Initiate formal project submittals


  • Complete permit applications and pay all applicable fees
  • Submit drawings for County or City plan check
  • Identify schedule impacts due to County or City response and turnaround time
  • Address changes to project estimate due to plan review comments
  • Update total project estimate as necessary from the project contingency

Construction and Closeout

  • Manage general contractor, subcontractors, trades and vendors
  • Understand key milestones and provide schedule updates
  • Identify and procure long lead equipment and materials
  • Host project coordination meetings
  • Provide financial updates
  • Conduct inspections, maintain quality control and implement punch list

Complete version of Stanford University’s Project Delivery Process

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