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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities

Funded responsibilities

Is this project funded by IPF?

Questions frequently arise on campus regarding where responsibility lies for the maintenance and repair of buildings and equipment, especially within such a complex institution as MSU. The following document explains Infrastructure Planning and Facilities’ policy for funded maintenance and the rationale behind it.

Items included in building maintenance

MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities is funded to make repairs for general-fund facilities, i.e., permanent facilities of the main campus which house academic or administrative functions and which are supported by the university's general fund. Building maintenance includes all items related to routine repair of buildings and structures, including normally recurring repairs and preventive maintenance. The following items are included:

  • Interior and exterior of buildings;
  • Plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and ventilation;
  • Electrical repairs of all types including primary and secondary systems, certain lamp replacements (requiring special ladders and rigging) and maintenance of outdoor lighting fixtures (excluding energy costs);
  • Carpentry and cabinetmaking;
  • Exterior painting and glazing;
  • Hardware, locks, keys, closers and records for same;
  • Roofing and sheet metal work, including downspouts and gutters;
  • Welding and necessary machine work;
  • Elevators and similar equipment;
  • Miscellaneous building repairs such as tuckpointing;
  • General-purpose classroom furniture and equipment within buildings, but not inventoried to a department;
  • Utility distribution systems inside buildings — electrical, heating, process steam, water lines, gas lines and sewer lines (storm and sanitary);
  • Operating and replacement costs of all equipment, materials and tools used in building maintenance, excluding hand tools furnished by employees.

Building maintenance also may provide services on a reimbursable basis to other accounts. Examples of these are auxiliary enterprises, alterations and improvements, new construction, construction of experimental and special teaching support facilities and repairs to departmental inventoried equipment.

Rule of thumb to determine responsibility

Generally, IPF is funded to maintain components of general-fund facilities that could be used by any academic or administrative department if the building were to change hands. If the equipment or work in question does not meet this test then it is the department's responsibility to pay for the particular service.

Exceptions to the rule

Through historical practice and specific assignments, IPF has been delegated and funded to perform maintenance work that would otherwise be excluded by the general guidelines. These exceptions do not extend the general guidelines; they are merely accepted and funded exceptions. The delegated responsibilities include:

  1. Farm building exteriors—IPF maintains the exterior of farm buildings and other research buildings off the main campus, yet part of the University's East Lansing property.
  2. Farm building water system—When the University supplies water, IPF maintains branch water lines to the exterior wall of farm buildings and other research buildings off the main campus, yet part of the University's East Lansing property.
  3. Swimming pools—IPF maintains swimming pools. Special equipment (such as movable bulkheads, bubblers, and diving boards) is excluded.
  4. Other athletic facilities—IPF maintains handball courts, squash courts, gymnasia, and arenas in Jenison, IM Circle, and IM West. This does not include special equipment, anchoring devices, or the painting of lines.

Items excluded from IPF funding

There are a variety of facilities and equipment within general fund buildings that are excluded from IPF funding. These exclusions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Through-wall or window air conditioners;
  • Laboratories and associated equipment and related utility piping within the room;
  • Inventoried equipment;
  • Carpeting and draperies;
  • Distilled water systems;
  • Compressed air systems and other air supply systems not intended for building environmental (heating and ventilating) control;
  • Vacuum systems;
  • Movable classroom seating;
  • Data and telephone systems;
  • Wire, fiber optics and wireless media needed to support data and telephone systems.

There is an easy way to identify the exclusions. Visualize a common classroom or office building devoid of furniture, office machines, laboratories, people, programs, computers and similar features. For example, imagine the classroom wing of Erickson Hall, between semesters, emptied of furniture and audio-visual equipment. Anything added to such an imaginary building is outside the funded responsibility of IPF.

Also excluded from IPF funded service are facilities with other sources of funds, such as grants or self-supporting enterprises, such as the residence halls, intercollegiate athletic facilities and medical clinics.

Other services available for hire

In addition to the services supported by IPF, certain other services are available for hire. The type of work involved and the prevailing workload will determine whether IPF performs the work itself or uses other sources. Examples of these departmental services:

  • Routine or special maintenance service to non-general fund facilities;
  • Alterations and improvement work;
  • Laboratories and associated equipment maintenance and repair;
  • Departmental inventoried equipment and maintenance and repair;
  • Repair or replacement of carpeting and draperies;
  • Lock repair, keys or hardware for departmental equipment;
  • Fabrication or installation of special items.

How the guidelines were developed

MSU's policy was formed following Classification of Accounts for Physical Plant, a standard document developed by the Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers (APPA) and accepted and recognized by American Council on Education (ACE) and National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). The standard guidelines serve as the national basis for determining physical plant and facilities maintenence funding responsibility. There are variations from this standard for each institution. Research facilities differ on each campus and historical agreements may take precedence. However, each institution can apply the general principles for its own unique circumstances.


If the above guidelines do not address your particular situation or a more detailed explanation is desired, contact IPF at (517) 432-0250 or by e-mail at for additional information.
Text heavily borrowed from Facilities Management: A Manual for Plant Administration, first edition.Source: Gardiner, W.S. (1984). Part 2: budgeting & accounting. chapter 4: classification of accounts for physical plant. In T. Evans (Ed.), Facilities Management: A Manual for Plant Administration, first edition (pp. 816). Alexandria, VA: Association of Physical Plant Administrators of Universities and Colleges.

Revised December 13, 2011

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If you have an issue that needs to be resolved ASAP, please call (517) 353-1760 even if you are unsure about the funding.