022 Schedule & Budget: Bond Project Post #1

021-Bond-JourneyMy work on the Connect NC  bond project at UNC Chapel Hill has officially started and I plan on documenting it until the very end (whew that’s a five year commitment). I will post on a regular basis about the process of taking a bond project through the UNC System and all the behind the scenes navigating that you may not be aware of. Let’s get started.

GA Submittal

If you live in NC then you know that in March 2016, NC voted yes on the Connect NC  bond. The bond funds $2 billion worth of projects across North Carolina. Last week the project managers of the bond projects throughout the UNC System submitted their first formal project reporting to the UNC General Administration (GA), a Primavera schedule including a cash flow component.


As you may recall from my post 001 Make a Decision Already, the initial dates in the project schedule are heavily dependent on the Chancellor’s Buildings and Grounds Committee and the Board of Trustees’ (BOT) meeting dates.  Because they approve the selected designer, I had to determine designer submittal, shortlist, and interview dates based on getting them the information by the September BOT meeting date.  Working within their deadlines is crucial, because we can’t start the project without their final approval. After determining the initial designer selection and contracting dates, I sought help from the designer that was hired to help us with the programming study, to provide durations of the different phases of design: Advanced Planning, Schematic Design, Design Development, and Construction Documents.  For the detailed construction and close out portion, I relied on the expertise of the Construction Manager on our team.


Using the preliminary estimates provided in the programming study and input from the construction manager, I created a detailed project budget. Along with the estimated construction cost, the budget includes money for various (and many) soft costs.  The soft costs such as campus parking spaces that will be used by the contractor during construction, site survey, designer’s fee, and fire alarm testing are assigned a dollar amount. There is a lot of “swagging” that goes into determining how much money to set aside, but I have access to the budgets of all current and previous campus projects that I can draw from, as well as seasoned colleagues who are always willing to help.


Our Business Office used the budget and schedule I provided and input it into Primavera and linked to all the other bond projects across the state.  GA will use this information to make sure that: (1.) The schedules for all the bond projects across the state are spread out so that campuses are all not interviewing for designers, and later going out to bid at the same time, and (2.) The cash is available for the project when needed.

CIP Team

This week we also put together the Capital Improvement Project (CIP) team. The team is comprised of representative stakeholders from our Engineering Services, Energy Services, Environmental Health and Safety, and Construction Management groups. These stakeholders will meet with the design team on a monthly basis to provide feedback on campus guidelines, infrastructure, and safety requirements among other things. My counterpart in the School of Medicine will put together a group of stakeholders that will be the users of the building. I consider this group “the client” and I will give their requests top priority. All of the stakeholders above will be on the designer interview committee.

The Journey

If you plan on joining me on this journey, drop me a line and tell me what you are most interested in learning about the bond project process at projectmanagementdean@gmail.com or leave a comment below. Next time, I will give a behind the scenes look into the designer selection process.


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