Capital Projects

The Capital Projects team is responsible for all aspects of the delivery of capital projects with the University’s functional and commercial estate, including:

  • Feasibility studies
  • New buildings
  • Major alterations or extensions to existing buildings
  • Refurbishment of assets
  • Demolition
  • Replacement of facilities

A capital project will normally have a value in excess of £100,000. Projects below this value are classed as minor works and are managed by the Conservation & Buildings team.

Every capital project is allocated a Project Manager and then proceeds through defined project stages including pre-feasibility, feasibility, design and construction to handover.

Project Management framework

We have a pool of around 20 external Project Managers from six professional firms, all selected according to a rigorous contract framework and tendering process, and complementing the project management expertise within the Estates Services team.  This gives us access to a wider body of experience, whilst ensuring that we have continuity of project management even if individual personnel change, as well as ensuring value for money.

Project Sponsor Groups

Most capital projects will also be governed on behalf of the University by a Project Sponsor Group (PSG), which carries a high level of responsibility and reports to BESC (Building and Estates Sub-committee).  The team provides training for all new and existing PSG members – contact Linda Ranford, Capital Projects administrator for more details.

Capital Masterplan

The programme of capital projects is shaped by the Capital Masterplan, which establishes what buildings and facilities are required to fulfil the University’s academic needs and in what order the University wishes to apply its resources. 

Estates Services develops the Capital Masterplan in close consultation with Divisions and PRAS.  Divisions are asked to submit their key objectives for capital expenditure and provide an assessment of the relative academic strength of the planned projects against a set of criteria: research, education, global, networking and wide engagement.

Estates Services also provides an assessment against the objectives of the Estate Strategy 2013-2018 (such as the promotion of flexible shared teaching space and constraints of carbon reduction targets) and the likely financial envelope required to deliver each of the proposed projects.  The Estate Strategy is developed in line with the University’s Strategic Plan 2013-2018.

The Capital Masterplan also:

  • Supports grant applications for major equipment and refurbishments
  • Allocates funds for minor refurbishment works to support research activity
  • Enables match funding for significant externally funded opportunities
  • Makes allowance for existing stand-alone and urgent projects
  • Considers options for combining certain projects that will provide more academic value delivered together rather than separately

Planning procedures

Estates Services has a comprehensive approach to planning procedures, including public consultation, regarding major new building projects.

Planning Procedures V4 - 14 December 2015 (550kb)

Quality Improvement Programme

The Capital Projects team are continually working to maximise quality in the delivery of capital projects and the performance of project management teams to:

  • improve project handover
  • improve the level of aftercare and client satisfaction
  • facilitate continuous improvement and learning
  • facilitate timely rectification of issues (in project rather than post project)
  • facilitate a ‘no surprises’ culture

Recent and ongoing improvement initiatives include:

  • Training for Project Sponsor Group members
  • Project Quality Review Process – a four stage process, each consisting of an online survey, workshop and formal action list
  • Soft Landings – an initiative currently under development that aims to improve both the building user’s experience and optimise energy savings intended by the design
  • Benchmarking – increasing the visibility of project performance via published metrics (such as space usage, predicted energy consumption and cost per m2) for review and tracking throughout the project
  • Key Performance Indicators – analysing team performance using 360 degree feedback in five categories: process, finance, sustainability, personnel and client satisfaction
  • Sustainability – maximising energy and water efficiency opportunities and reducing carbon emissions, according to the University’s Sustainable Buildings Policy

Training – PRINCE2 certification training for all project managers and project support officers and ongoing in-house CPD