Many universities and colleges have established an office, staffed by an architect, to direct the physical planning of the institution. This office may be known as the Office of the University Architect, Facilities Planning Office, Office of Design and Construction, Office of Capital Projects, Office of Physical Planning or other related names. The office may be a single individual on a small campus or, on a large campus, a group of persons representing a broad range of technical expertise in planning, design, engineering and construction. 

Regardless of the size or exact title, this office serves as a steward for the campus, coordinating issues related to planning, design and construction. With a focus on customer service to the faculty, staff, students and administration, the office can fairly represent the diverse interests on the campus while seeking the most appropriate solutions to problems of the physical environment.

 Specific areas of responsibility for this office may include all, or some combination of the following;

 Land Use Planning

  • Evaluate present and proposed land use
  • Prepare a campus master plan
  • Work with the community on zoning issues
  • Recommend acquisition or disposal of property

Space Planning

  • Maintain campus space inventory
  • Evaluate existing space use
  • Develop space use standards
  • Recommend adaptive space use 

Transportation Planning

  • Evaluate existing roadway network
  • Evaluate parking needs and develop solutions
  • Plan the development of transportation alternatives 

Utilities Planning

  • Assess the adequacy of existing central systems
  • Plan expansion of central systems
  • Investigate alternative energy sources
  • Focus on energy conservation

Facilities Assessment

  • Inspect facilities, identifying backlog of deferred maintenance
  • Develop appropriate projects toaddress identified needs

Capital Planning

  • Evaluate institution's long-term needs for capital investments
  • Align capital investments with institution's strategic priorities
  • Develop need, scope, budget, schedule, and funding approach for capital projects.
  • Evaluate capital project's impact on operating and maintenance costs

Project Programming and Budgeting

  • Translate academic program needs into building programs
  • Determine special building requirements
  • Prepare project budgets
  • Manage project budgets 

Project Design

  • Assist in selection of project architects and engineers
  • Recommend sites for new projects
  • Manage the project design process to include input from all interested parties
  • Prepare schematic designs as an extension of program planning
  • Prepare plans and specifications for project construction
  • Review project design for conformance to aesthetic and technical standards
  • Review plans and specifications for conformance with federal, state and local codes 

Building Systems Design

  • Develop building systems standards
  • Evaluate proposed systems design for performance compatibility with central systems
  • Evaluate life-cycle costs in selection of systems
  • Focus on energy conservation 

Construction Administration

  • Prequalify construction contractors (as appropriate)
  • Monitor receipt of bids/negotiation of contracts
  • Recommend contract awards
  • Review shop drawings and other submittals
  • Observe construction works in progress
  • Coordinate required interim inspections
  • Conduct/assist in the final inspection for project acceptance 

Post Occupancy Evaluation

  • Assess completed projects to determine success based on building performance and satisfaction of program needs