Building Campaign

DLR Group cover image of New Building Town Hall report
New Building Town Hall

Transformational Change for the College of Engineering: building and renovations

The College of Engineering has received a $70 million allocation from the State of Nebraska to partially support the building of new facilities and the renovation of existing facilities.  When combined with private donations, this once-in-a-generation investment will transform how the college and our faculty and staff fulfill our teaching, research, outreach and economic development missions.

The college and UNL Facilities Management & Planning Department (FMP) are actively working with the DLR Group, a highly respected architectural and engineering firm, to develop a programming statement and conceptual designs for this renovation and construction project. This phase of the project is expected to be completed by June 2016.  The current timeline for the entire project anticipates a final completion date of Fall 2021.

Please visit this page often to follow the progress of this transformation project.

Faculty Charrette - Video from Nov. 18 meeting
Faculty Town Hall / Charrette
The video for the Nov. 18 faculty town hall / charrette conducted by DLR Group and UNL FMP can be accessed in the link below. The information gained from this meeting will help develop a program statement and conceptual design to use for fundraising and eventually design and construction.

  • LB957 (State of Nebraska Legislative Bill 957)
  • The University of Nebraska: Preserving Our Investment 2016 Capital Campaign (Website/Video)
  • Lincoln Journal-Star: Lawmakers hear $242M NU pitch for updating buildings, facilities (Story: 2/10/16)
  • Omaha World Herald: Bill would appropriate $242 million over 12 years for replacing, renovating buildings on NU's campuses (Story: 2/10/16)

Design and Construction Phases
There are 10 distinct phases that occur in the design and construction projects at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. They are:

Project Initial Phase

In this phase a capital project begins as a concept when a faculty, staff, chair, dean or other university stakeholder believes that current facilities are not sufficient to meet program requirements and new or renovated facilities will provide a solution. This may or may not be the result of a master planning exercise. At UNL, in-house planners or outside consultants may be used to identify a broadly defines scope of work and provide an order of magnitude cost estimate.

If a project is expected to be significant, $500,000 or more, the concept must first be vetted to the Dean or Director of the college or unit. If the project concept is considered worthy, the Dean or Director will present the concept to their cognizant Vice Chancellor (VC). If the VC believes the concept is justified and consistent with university priorities, the concept will be brought before the Chancellor’s Senior Administrative Team (SAT) for approval. If approved the project is presented to the Academic Planning Committee (APC) and is added to the capital planning priority list managed by the Chancellor and maintained by the Campus planner.

Given that funding is not always immediately available, the project may or may not move to the next phase – Programming. If the project is defined as a maintenance project, the project may skip the programing phase and move into consultant selection phase.

For the UNL College of Engineering (COE) project, a COE Masterplan was created with the help of the architectural firm, the Clark Enersen Partners. The COE Masterplan was used to help secure building renovation funds from the State of Nebraska.

Programming Phase (Pre-Design Phase)

Programming can begin once all approvals from the Project Initiation phase are finalized. A Project Manager will be assigned from University of Nebraska Lincoln Facilities Management & Planning Department (FM&P) who will manage the process to insure University policies and procedures are followed. For larger projects an outside consultant may be hired to help write the program document. This involves the creation of a formal program statement by University of Nebraska Lincoln Facilities Management & Planning Department (FM&P) in conjunction with requisite university stakeholders and the Campus Planning Committee.

During the program phase various critical issues and related goals that affect architectural design are investigated and incorporated into the program including:
  • Project goals and aspirations;
  • Specific use(s) of the space(s);
  • Number and type of occupants;
  • Activities of the occupants;
  • Furnishings, fixtures, equipment, and/or materials required to support the occupants and activities;
  • Functional and spatial relationships between spaces;
  • Cultural and community context;
  • Site selection and site characteristics;
  • Climate and microclimate;
  • Budget (overall, required expenses, restrictions, etc.);
  • Funding source(s) and restrictions;
  • Preliminary project schedule and phasing plans:
  • Legalities (applicable laws, codes, ordinances, etc.);
  • Commentary related to how the project complies with UNL’s Master plan;
  • Construction delivery method and,
  • Other miscellaneous considerations.
Once created, the draft program statement is vetted to the Campus Planning Committee and the Aesthetic Review Committee (ARC) for input, modified accordingly, and finalized. Projects with budget estimates of $2,000,000 or more must be approved by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. The Program Phase will typically take between 3 to12 months to complete.

The UNL College of Engineering (COE) project has entered the programing phase. The architectural firm DLR has been hired to assist with writing the program. UNL FM&P Project Manager Brad Muehling has been assigned as UNL’s Project Manager for this project.

The preliminary COE program schedule is as follows:
  • Project research - (Oct. 2016)
  • Preliminary departmental interviews/workshops - (Nov. 2016)
  • Peer institution site visits - (Nov. 2016)
  • Departmental program reviews/charrettes - (Dec. 2016)
  • Program refinements - (Jan. 2017)
  • Concept designs - (Feb. 2017)
  • ARC review - (March 2017)
  • Finalize program - (May 2017)
  • BOR program approval - (June 2017)
Following approval of the project program, the project will proceed into the Consultant Selection Phase.

Consultant Selection Phase

In this phase, consultants for UNL projects are hired by UNL Facilities Planning and Construction Department (UNL FPC) in one of four ways. For projects having total cost of $400,000 or less, qualified university professional staff from UNL FPC may be used to provide design and engineering services for a project. For projects with design fees less than $65,000, an informal, qualifications based Architect/Engineers selection process may be used. For projects with design fees between $65,000 and $650,000 an informal selection process of Architect/Engineers from a pre-selected pool of Architects/Engineers having open design agreements may be use. For projects with design fees over $650,000 a formal, qualifications based Architect/Engineers selection process in accordance with UN Board of Regents (BOR) policies must be used. A formal consultant section process takes approximately 2 months to complete. The UN BOR must approve the selected Architect/Engineer in a formal Architect/Engineers selection process.

If a Design-Builder (DB) or Construction Manager at Risk (CMR) project delivery processes are approved for use in the program, then the BOR policies for DB and CMR are followed and the Contractor may be hired at this time.

Schematic Design Phase (Preliminary Design)

In this phase, an initial design scheme that seeks to define the general scope and conceptual design of the project including scale and relationships between building components. At the end of the schematic design phase the Architect will present some rough sketches to UNL for approval. These sketches will provide UNL with the opportunity to verify that the Architect has correctly interpreted UNL’s desired functional relationships between various activities. The sketches will also provide UNL with a general indication of the exterior design dialogue. Rough cost estimates confirm the construction costs are with-in budget. On CMR projects a Construction Manager assists Owner and Architect in determining budgets and potential cost savings, energy efficiency, schedule and constructability improvements.

Schematic designs are reviewed and approved by many entities at UNL including; the Project Sponsor, the client department, campus service units, code authorities and UNL’s Aesthetic Review Committee (ARC). For Board of Regents level project, $2,000,000 and higher, there is also a required review by a Project Review Board (PRB) which is comprised of professional designers from outside of UNL. The PRB reports to the UN Board of Regents as to the appropriateness of the proposed design. At this phase, the budget can only be increased with consent of the UN BOR.

The duration for the Schematic Design phase can vary depending on the project size and complexity. For larger projects, the Schematic Design phase most commonly takes 2 to 9 months to complete.

Design Development Phase

This is a stage subsequent to schematic design where the approved schematic design decisions are worked out in greater detail. A clear and coordinated description of all aspects of the design including Architectural, Structural, Mechanical, Plumbing, Electrical and Fire Protection Systems is worked out providing a basis for the preparation of construction documents. Energy models may be performed depending on specific requirements in the design agreement. It is important that the client department provide input to the design team at this time as the design development drawings are used as the basis for the construction drawings and cost estimates in building the project. Client departments will be asked about how they intend to use their spaces. They will also be asked to provide general information about furnishings and equipment. However, detailed information about major or unusual pieces of equipment may be required.

For BOR level projects, an Intermediate Design Report (IDR) is prepared and submitted to the UN Board of Regents for their approval during this phase. The IDR has a very specific and detailed checklist which must be completed. If necessary, the project budget and/or schedule can be revised at this stage if approved by the UN BOR. At the end of the Design Development phase the Architect will provide UNL with drafted to-scale drawings and outline specifications that will illustrate the project as it would look when it's constructed. These DD drawings & specifications will more specifically define the site plan, floor plans, structure, mechanical and electrical systems and exterior elevations.

On CMR projects a Construction Manager again assists Owner and Architect in determining potential cost savings, energy efficiency, and constructability improvements. The CM will most typically submit their Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) to UNL during this phase. The GMP sets the maximum construction cost and construction schedule for the project based on certain assumptions that are negotiated by UNL FPC. For Design Build and Construction Manager projects, when required, certain construction activities may begin after the GMP or DB’s fixed prices are approved.

The duration for the Design Development (DD) phase can vary depending on the project size and complexity. For larger projects, the DD phase most commonly takes 2 to 9 months to complete.

Construction Documents Phase

During the Construction Document phase, Construction Documents are developed that set forth the detailed and specific requirements for the construction of a building project. They consist of Drawings and Specifications. Drawings are the illustrative component of construction documents, whereas Specifications are written requirements pertaining to building materials, equipment, and construction systems that outline the standards to be met in the construction of a project. When the construction drawings are complete they will have sufficient information to secure Contractor bids and obtain the required permits. The documents must follow UNL Program and UNL Design Guidelines for them to be approved. During this phase, Sponsors and Client departments will be asked to provide very specific information on how certain details are completed. This usually includes specific furnishing and equipment requirements. Significant changes from previously approved decisions are very difficult and costly to make at this point. Material design changes can trigger the need to resubmit plans to the BOR or others for their approval. This can cause extra design fees and delay the project. Requests for significant plan changes may not be approved.

When CD’s are approximately 95% complete, a detailed and formal design review will again be made by UNL. Written comments will be forwarded to the Design team for incorporation into the final documents to be bid and constructed. Careful departmental review of the 95% CDs will help insure client department requirements are incorporated into the project. At the conclusion of the Construction Documents phase, UNL’s bidding instructions and contract requirements are added by UNL FPC.

On CMR projects a Construction Manager again assists UNL and the Architect in determining potential cost savings, efficiency, and constructability improvements. If a GMP has been established prior to this phase, the CM will advise the design team if there are discrepancies between the CDs and the GMP documents. These discrepancies must be resolved or the GMP may be amended.

For Design-Build projects, the DB’s Architect completes the CDs per UNL’s Design Guidelines in accordance with the Project requirements found in the UNL-DB agreement.

The duration for the Construction Document (CD) phase can vary depending on the project type, size and complexity. For larger projects, the CD phase most commonly takes 3 to 9 months to complete.

Bid & Contract Award Phase

During the Bid and Contract Award phase, the proposed price for construction of a project is solicited by UNL FPC in one of the following ways.

If staff is available, UNL Work staff may self-perform construction or repairs for work having a total project cost under $250,000. UNL Self-performed work over $250,000 is possible with BOR approval. Informal quotes are usually secured from UNL Service units based on an approved scope of work. Internal requisitions are issued and the work may be initiated quickly.

UNL Unit Price Contractors (UPC) can also be used for construction or repairs work having a total project cost under $250,000. With UPC contracts, UNL can bid work to a pre-selected pool of contractors who have open ended agreements with UNL. UPC bids are usually not to exceed quotes which can be secured quickly based on an abbreviated set of CDs. More complicated projects should, however, have more thoroughly defined set of documents to bid from. Bids from 3 or more Unit price contractors should be solicited for projects having construction costs over $75,000.

In traditional Design-Bid-Build projects, Construction documents are merged with bidding documents by UNL FPC to provide a complete bid package. An Invitation to Bid is advertised through UNL Procurement’s E-Bid system. Larger projects will usually also be advertised in local and/or regional newspapers. Bid packages are typically issued to potential bidders though the E-Bid system. Pre-bid conferences are usually conducted to answer potential bidder’s questions. Formal responses to bidder’s questions, plan clarifications and corrections are issued to all bidders by bid addendum. After sufficient time has passed, bids are received through UNL’s E-Bid System. The minimum bid period is 10 days but the process can take 4 or more weeks to complete.

After bids are received by UNL Purchasing, UNL FPC reviews the bids for completeness and to assure there are no bid irregularities. The bidder’s bid amount, proposed schedule, qualifications, construction team and experience are evaluated and the low responsive bid is determined. If the bids are within budget, a notice of award and contract are prepared and sent to the bidder for their execution. Bid evaluation and award can take a 1 to 4 weeks. If the bids exceed the budget, either the budget is revised or the bids are rejected. If the bids are rejected, the project is usually put on hold until the project is redesigned and put out to bid again.

For Construction Manager at Risk or Design-Build projects, the CM/DB usually issues documents to various subcontractors and has a private bid opening. This can occur before or after the GMP/fixed price is issued. CM/DB subcontracts are not typically awarded until the GMP or fixed price is approved by UNL unless schedule dictates otherwise.

The Bid & Contract Award phase is completed when a construction contract is executed and a Notice to Proceed has been issued to a successful bidder.

Construction Phase

The Construction phase begins when the Notice to Proceed is issued by UNL FPC to a Contractor. A pre-construction meeting is usually set up with the Contractor, Architect/Engineer, FPC Staff, Sponsor, Client department, and other stakeholders. A detailed project schedule is prepared by the Contractor and regular progress meetings are set. It may take a while for subcontracts to be issued and for materials to be ordered so construction activity may appear to be slow at the beginning of the project. In remodel projects, there may also be a delay while remodeled spaces are being vacated. Moving plans, if needed, will typically have been created during the Design & Bid phases.

At UNL, FPC Project Managers and Construction Managers provide contract administration for projects while working with the Architects/Engineers. This administration includes: management of project communications, requests for information, project quality inspections, shop drawings, change orders and pay requests. UNL FPC is also the building and fire code authority for projects. UNL service units often self- performs certain aspects of the project including; building controls, fire alarm systems, card access, keying, utility connections, signage and telecommunications. Construction materials testing, project furnishings and equipment purchases, audio visual systems, hazardous materials abatement, moving services and art procurement are among the activities that are overseen by UNL FPC.

Punch list inspections are performed by FPC staff, the Architect/Engineer, the sponsor and client department when the construction is substantially complete. When all code issues are satisfied, UNL’s code authority will issue an occupancy permit and FPC’s Project Manager will issue a Certificate of Substantial Completion. The duration for the Construction phase can vary vastly depending on the project type, size and complexity. For larger projects, the construction might last 2 or 3 years.

Occupancy Phase

The occupancy phase begins when an Occupancy Permit and Certificate of Substantial Completion are issued for a project. At this point it is legal and safe for client departments to occupy their space but minor punch list work may still be unfinished. And while building controls systems are operational, they may not be fully balanced. AV systems and office systems furniture installations may not be completed. These activities can occur while the spaces are occupied but delaying the move-in until the punch list, balancing and other activities are complete is beneficial to everyone. Punch list work and balancing can take a 1 to 6 weeks to complete depending on the size of the project.

Move-in timing & coordination will be managed by UNL FPC. In most cases a client department will assign one of their staff to provide departmental communication and coordination.

Warranty Phase

The Warranty phase begins when Certificate of Substantial Completion is issued for a project. The typical warranty period is 1 year from substantial completion. There can be extended warranties beyond one year for specific items and systems such as roofing or mechanical pumps. These warranty items are customized to every project during the design phase.

All items which have failed should be report to UNL FPC for their review. If an issue is determined to be a valid warranty claim FPC will add it to a warranty log and report the claim to the appropriate party for their repair. It is typical for there to be a project wide walk-thru at approximately 10 months following substantial completion however warranty claims should be reported as soon as they are noticed.

College of Engineering Building Steering Committee Members
  • Lance C. Pérez, dean
  • David Jones, associate dean
  • Lily Wang, associate dean
  • Jacki Allensworth, assistant dean
  • Fred Choobineh, professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • Carl Nelson, professor, Mechanical & Materials Engineering
  • Dan Linzell, chair, Civil Engineering
  • Jay Puckett, chair, The Durham School
  • Brad Muehling, lead project manager, FM&P
  • Mark Miller, assistant vice chancellor, FM&P
  • Brooke Hay, assistant director, FM&P
  • Jennifer Dam Shewchuk, director, Campus Planning & Space Management
  • John Badami, principal architect, DLR