The capital planning process is closely tied with the university’s integrated planning and resource allocation process, and supports the strategic directions. It involves developing strategic and logistical capital plans to support the university’s physical assets, including buildings and space, land, infrastructure, information and communications technology, and equipment, including critical maintenance and renewal. Several overarching principles and driving factors influence all capital projects at the U of S, and all follow the major projects planning process.

Major projects planning process

The major projects planning process serves as a systematic and transparent approach to review major projects on an individual basis within the context of the university’s current integrated plan, strategic directions and college/school/unit plans. The planning process also recognizes additional mitigating factors such as internal and external funding opportunities, life safety, and code and regulatory issues.

The major project planning process has four stages managed by Facilities Management Division.

Stage 1: project request
Stage 2: project pre-planning
Stage 3: project approval
Stage 4: project governance

All major projects in excess of $500,000 will adhere to this process, including capital building projects, major computer software acquisitions, major equipment purchases, infrastructure projects and all major acquisitions that have a value greater than $500,000.

Key capital resources

Primary contact: director, capital planning

Stage 1: project request

Purpose: To provide a conceptual framework and preliminary document that will include project rationale/justification, project concept and project description, along with capital and operating funding implications and sources, if identified.

Process:

  • A major project request form will be completed by the project proponent.
  • Completion of the form may require assistance from the Institutional Planning and Assessment Office (IPA) and/or individuals from the applicable academic support units.
  • Requests will need to be vetted and approved through the responsible department head, dean of the college or director of a unit.
  • Depending upon the content, rationale, and scope of the project, the academic support unit could include Facilities Management, Information and Communications Technology, Health, Safety and Environment, Educational Media Access and Production Services, Financial Services Division, among others.
  • The major project request form is to be submitted to the director, capital planning.
  • Copies of the major project request form can be obtained from the director, capital planning. Individual "major project request" forms will be available for: 1) capital construction and renovations; 2) ICT projects; and 3) equipment.

IPA/academic support unit preliminary review

Purpose: To provide the president, PCIP, and the planning and priorities committee of council with a preliminary assessment and institutional perspective on the proposed project. The information provided will be supplemental to the major project request form.

Process:

  • The major project request form will be provided to the applicable academic support unit for comments, clarification, and preliminary review and analysis. Particular reference, where applicable, will be made to strategic directions, the integrated plan, college/unit academic/strategic plans, foundational documents and funding implications.
  • The academic support unit and IPA will collaboratively complete a comment/remark form for each submitted request. This form, along with the major project request form, will be provided to the president, PCIP, and the planning and priorities committee.
  • Copies of the academic support unit/IPO major projects – comments/remarks form can be obtained from the director, capital planning. Individual “academic support unit/IPA major projects – comments/remarks” forms will be available for: 1) capital construction and renovations; 2) ICT projects; and 3) equipment.

President/PCIP/Council request for review

Purpose: To provide an opportunity for the president, PCIP and the planning and priorities committee of council to be aware of a proposed major project at an initial stage and to complete a preliminary assessment of the proposal, to review the proposed project and to provide observations, comments and feedback

Process:

  • The “major project request form and the academic support unit/IPA major projects – comments/remarks form” will be provided to the president, PCIP, and the planning and priorities committee for preliminary assessment.
  • PCIP may wish to receive comments, observations and analysis.
  • The planning and priorities committee will review the proposal concentrating its remarks around the assessment criteria and report its deliberations to University Council and to PCIP. Depending on the proponent nature of the proposal, the planning and priorities committee may ask for advice from other committees of council, but this should not be a regular occurrence given the preliminary nature of the request at this stage. Should the planning and priorities committee require further information or clarification, the request may be directed back to the project proponent and/or the academic support unit/IPA for further information or clarification.
  • Documented comments and observations for each project proposal will be submitted to the director, capital planning for compilation and submission to PCIP.
  • Based on the information provided by the project proponent, the president, IPA, the academic support unit and University Council, PCIP may:
    • recommend the project is to proceed to the next stage with all information and observations provided to the pre-planning team.
    • direct the request back to the project proponent and/or the academic support unit/IPA for further information or clarification.
    • recommend that the project not proceed beyond this stage.
  • PCIP will advise the project proponent, the president and University Council of its decision.

Stage 2: project pre-planning

Purpose: To establish a representative pre-planning team, coordinated by a tentative executive sponsor, to shape the project, define project requirements and develop an overall project definition including program and scope.

Process:

A project pre-planning team will be established with membership being recommended by PCIP. Membership will include a tentative executive sponsor, an identified academic/administrative program leader, college or departmental representative(s), senior administrative representation, academic support unit representation, IPA representation, and other appropriate internal or external members as deemed necessary.

The pre-planning team will further develop the preliminary information and complete a planning brief.

Planning brief

Purpose: The planning brief is intended to provide PCIP and University Council with a detailed description of the proposed major project including justification, scope, program, capital and operating funding requirements, and potential funding sources, including a business plan, where applicable.

Process:

  • The pre-planning/project development team will prepare a planning brief for submission to PCIP and to the planning and priorities committee.
  • The planning brief will be provided to PCIP and to University Council for review and observations.
    • Copies of the planning brief can be obtained from the director, capital planning. Individual planning briefs will be available for: 1) capital construction and renovations; 2) ICT projects; and 3) equipment.

Stage 3: project approval

Purpose: Based on the information provided in the planning brief and council review/input, PCIP will determine whether the project will be approved to proceed to the next stage, that being the approved “major project governance structure.”

Process:

  • PCIP will review the planning brief and consult further with the president's executive committee, if required.
  • The planning and priorities committee of council will preview the planning brief and refer it to the budget committee, and any other council committees it deems appropriate, for comment. The budget committee and any other council committees involved, will review the proposal against the assessment criteria for capital project proposals and report its findings to the planning and priorities committee for further review. It is envisioned that at this stage planning and priorities committee and PCIP will mutually inform each other of the nature of the discussion to date and key issues identified. The planning and priorities committee’s final recommendation will be submitted to PCIP and to University Council.
  • PCIP may:
    • Approve the planning brief and grant approval for the project to proceed, upon which the approved major project governance structure will be enabled and the formalized planning process will be initiated.
    • Return the planning brief to the pre-planning/project development team for additional information or clarification.
    • Place the project on hold until the required resources are either in place or are have an identifiable source, or until such time that the project is identified as a priority and of critical need by the university.
  • PCIP will advise the project proponent, the pre-planning/project development team, the president, University Council and the university community of its decision.

Stage 4: project governance

Purpose: As stated in the major project governance structure of December 12, 2003, the “primary objective of the proposed governance model is to assure effective planning, prioritization, approval, and management, and reporting of major projects. This will ensure clear identification of the project priority, justification, including how the project will support, protect, and enable the strategic directions, the foundational documents, and the objectives of the University of Saskatchewan.”

Process:

  • The major project governance structure was approved by the Board of Governors on December 13, 2003. Each project will include:
    • Designation of an executive sponsor
    • Identification of an academic/administrative program coordinator
    • The establishment of a project steering committee
    • A defined format and process/structure for Board of Governors approvals, including board FYI, board I and board II submissions