Design and Bidding


The design phase begins when IPF receives authorization to plan for a renovation or new construction project.

This phase of a major capital project ($1 million and above) includes four distinct milestones: program development, schematic design, design development, and construction documents.

Program Development and Verification

This is a written description of the requirement for the project, developed by the project team in collaboration with you, the customer. This document includes project objectives and detailed information regarding all affected spaces, including size, relationships and technical aspects. The following approvals are required to move the project forward:

Executive stakeholder review

The Campus Infrastructure Planning Work Group (CIPWG) reviews major projects for consistency with the Campus Master Plan. CIPWG also advises senior leadership on the project and recommendations are shared with MSU Board of Trustees (BOT).

Project approval

BOT (step 1) authorizes planning, which generally results in continuing development of project design allowing design consultant and construction managing firms to be hired to assist in the development of the project.

Schematic Design

The schematic design determines the project’s general scope and design features, including floor plans, adjacencies, materials, building massing, character, site and relationship to its surroundings.

Design Development

This milestone defines the project to a greater level of detail, resulting in a clear, coordinated description of all the aspects, including systems and materials. The following approvals are required:


Construction Junction: Open meeting to inform campus community about the project and gather feedback.


CIPWG (step 2) reviews program development, schematic design, makes a recommendation to proceed to BOT.

Project approval

BOT (step 2) gives authorization to proceed, commits to a scope, schedule and budget.

Construction documents

This step finalizes drawings and specifications for all project components. The objectives are to produce bid documents, solicit bids from construction contractors and obtain all necessary permits. The following is required for general contractor approval:

Project approval

If a project is delivered as design bid build (General Contractor), the BOT (step 3) approves the contractor after bids.

MSU administration

MSU’s Board of Trustees (BOT) has general supervision over the university and its funds. For projects having a budget of $1 million and above, and projects of lesser value that involve a footprint change. BOT approvals are required at several points during the project’s delivery.

Prior to approval by the BOT, projects are reviewed by key MSU leadership. This often requires a formal presentation. All funding plans are approved by the Office of Planning and Budgets, the Vice President for Finance and the Executive Vice President for Administrative Services.

Procuring construction contractors (Bidding)

The construction documents are used to solicit competitive bids from qualified contractors. The means of advertising the project for bidding will vary depending on the delivery method. For construction manager (CM) projects, the CM will obtain bids from trade specific subcontractors. For general contractor (GC) projects, IPF will obtain bids from the general contractor.

What you can expect

  • We work with you to develop well-defined project requirements in the construction plans and specifications.
  • We provide clear and regular communication regarding the budget and schedule throughout the design phase.
  • We meet agreed-upon schedule for completing the design phase.
  • We provide periodic reviews of potential risks that may affect budget and schedule.
  • We thoroughly review the design, schedule, and budget prior to issuing the project documents for bidding.
  • We establish the final budget prior to the bidding process.

What IPF expects

  • You provide a clear vision of your goals and expectations for the project.
  • You will have a clear decision-making hierarchy.
  • You approve project program and requirements prior to the start of schematic design.
  • You secure necessary funding for the project.
  • You give signed approval of construction documents prior to bidding.

Final budget components

  • Construction by outside contractors
  • Construction and services by MSU
  • Movable furnishings and equipment, including information technology
  • Project development, including site investigation, state-mandated fees and campus art (university policy)
  • Design, inspection, records and contract administration services