University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Administrative Policy Statement

Alterations to UW Seattle Campus Buildings and Grounds

(Approved by the Senior Vice President for Finance and Facilities by authority of Administrative Order No. 9)

1.  Policy Summary

To ensure adherence to regulatory requirements for health and safety, the construction, maintenance, and renovation of University facilities shall not be performed by non-facilities staff, students, or volunteers.

This policy defines individual and departmental responsibility relating to facility alterations. As a supplement to this policy, additional References and Resources information is provided to guide interested parties to appropriate resources on a wide variety of facilities issues.

2.  Definition

For purposes of this policy, facility alterations are defined as any work that modifies campus buildings and/or grounds. This includes but is not limited to adding, replacing, modifying, relocating, removing, or painting doors, walls, windows, built-in casework, shelving, or flooring; the alteration or penetration of corridors or ceilings; adding on to or dividing existing space; or work on any building utility system, including electrical, plumbing, ventilation, air conditioning, control systems, fire alarms, fire sprinklers, security systems, laboratory fume hoods, and telecommunication equipment.

3.  Applicability

This policy applies to all persons and facilities on the UW Seattle campus. Persons wishing to perform work on facilities at the UW Bothell and UW Tacoma campuses or the UWMC and Harborview Medical Centers should consult the appropriate administrators at those locations. While specific procedures and resources vary at those locations, their administrators are expected to ensure that the intent of this policy statement is met within their own facility alterations policies. For work in leased facilities, see the UW Real Estate Office web page.

4.  UW Compliance Procedures

The alteration of UW facilities or grounds shall be governed by the following to ensure health and safety, appropriate coordination of building systems, and compliance with a variety of regulatory requirements including those in Title 49 RCW, Title 296 WAC, and Seattle building and fire codes:

  #1 Work on components and systems of University facilities (buildings and grounds) shall not be performed by departmental staff, students, or volunteers.  This requirement also applies to staff hired by departments to assist with research apparatus and departmental equipment.

  #2 Exceptions to this policy will be rare and shall require advance written approval from the Maintenance & Alterations Director of Facilities Services, 206-685-1468. Approval will only be given for very simple projects that can be completed safely with minimum risk of injury or exposure in compliance with regulatory requirements.

  #3 Alterations work on components and systems of University facilities (buildings and grounds) must be coordinated and/or performed by one of the following units, depending on project scope: UW Maintenance & Alterations for projects costing less than $90,000 (labor & materials/supplies) or the Capital Projects Office for all other projects. Alteration work on components and systems, including gifts in place and foundation supported contracts, must also be coordinated by the Capital Projects Office to ensure compliance with applicable codes.

  #4 Alterations and maintenance work shall be requested by initiating a work request on Facilities Services FS-WORKS or by calling 206-685-1411. Prior to initiating an alteration or maintenance request through FS-WORKS, individuals shall consult with the appropriate department administrator to determine specific department policies and procedures for requesting

  #5 Departments that violate this policy and proceed to do their own work, whether with paid staff or volunteers or using an outside contractor, will be responsible for all costs associated with having work brought into compliance with University standards. Any fees, fines, or penalties which are assessed for violations of public codes and requirements are also the responsibility of the department.

  #6 Departments, primarily self-sustaining units (Housing and Food Services, Intercollegiate Athletics, Husky Union Building, Applied Physics Laboratory, Henry Art Gallery, Burke Museum, etc.) that have, or intend to have, staff hired specifically for departmental maintenance and small alterations tasks, must have a memorandum of understanding with Facilities Services. Those agreements must be periodically reviewed with the Maintenance & Alterations Director, to ensure that the work accomplished by these units does not exceed what can be done safely and in compliance with applicable regulatory codes. These agreements do not negate the department's responsibility to comply with environmental, safety and health regulatory and permitting processes.

  #7 Goods and services acquired from outside contractors must be handled and installed in accordance with this policy. This includes maintenance and repair items ordered through the Purchasing Department, which require installation or which impact building systems.

  #8 The Real Estate Office handles proposed alterations in leased spaces as well as spaces managed by that office.

5.  Departmental Responsibilities

Deans, vice provosts, and vice presidents are allocated facilities and space, and in turn reallocate and assign space as needed by departments and programs reporting to them. Department heads are responsible for ensuring that space is used for the purposes assigned, and used in ways which promote the health and safety of all who use or visit the department's facilities.

All members of the University community have a responsibility to treat campus facilities with care; to avoid any actions that create dangerous, hazardous, unsafe, or unhealthy conditions; and to report any such conditions that they may see. The University relies on department heads and managers to inform and educate the students, faculty, staff, and visitors to department facilities about their use. Department responsibilities include:

  • Authorizing access to space in restricted or secured areas and after hours;

  • Having unit emergency plans, disaster mitigation and recovery plans, and identifying unit responsibilities for the safe storage, handling, and disposal of hazardous materials; and

  • Following all University policies and procedures for facility alterations, maintenance, and repair.

The University provides basic facility services, such as custodial services, waste disposal, and recycling. The University also has funding for minor repairs and improvements, covering basic building renewal and safety projects. Some central funds are also targeted for improving access accommodations. Departments may also fund minor improvement and alteration projects.  Some departments may have staff members who are assigned to help with facility work. All such work must be conducted in accordance with University policies, including those outlined in this policy statement, in order to ensure that such work is accomplished in a safe manner, and in compliance with external regulations.

6.  Background

Those occupying and using University facilities must rely on University staff available to aid in navigating the complex overlapping regulations and policies governing the construction, renovation, maintenance, improvement, and use of University facilities. Potential problems and risks from failing to rely upon the professional staff are real.

Many older campus buildings contain materials that, while posing no hazard in their current state, can present potential dangers if they are unknowingly or improperly disturbed. Campus facilities have interactive and highly technical systems and uses; non-experts working in these buildings without proper training and equipment can create safety risks, compliance problems, or problems with other systems. Doing it yourself is not safe, and it is not necessary.

The policy governing alterations to UW Seattle Campus buildings and grounds serves to protect the campus community and to ensure adherence to applicable regulations. To ensure legal and regulatory compliance and to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors, the University employs a professional staff dedicated to the effective planning, construction, and operation of all campus facilities. The primary departments responsible for the University's facilities management program include planners, engineers, architects, environmental health and safety specialists, skilled crafts persons, and procurement and contracting specialists.

7.  UW Project Tracker

UW Project Tracker is a web-based tool to help administrators manage their construction projects over $90,000, including construction ideas prior to funding, from the idea stage to project completion. "Managed projects" in the FS-WORKS work request system (under $90,000, but complex enough to warrant a designated project manager) are also automatically routed to Project Tracker. Project Tracker links the administrator to services offered by facilities management service providers. To determine the status of a requested project, refer to the UW Project Tracker web page. For assistance, call 206-543-5410.

July 31, 2007; February 11, 2011.