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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do I start a Project?

The first step in starting any project is to complete and submit a Project Request.  The Project Request form, located on both the PDC and DFM web pages, is used to more fully explain the purpose and scope of any WKU project, and includes the approvals of all administrators, up to and including the President's Cabinet, if necessary..

Fill out the form to the best of your ability and be sure to obtain all of the required signatures (the Requestor, Department Head, and Dean's signatures are required).  It is important to detail your project, explaining the benefit to your department and the final goal.  Be sure to include any critical deadlines. Then e-mail or campus mail the signed form to PDC at

Once your completed and signed form is received in the PDC office, it is logged and reviewed and then assigned a Project Manager.  The Project Manager is chosen based on current workloads, areas of expertise and in some cases, prior knowledge of the project scope (so, if you speak to a Project Manager before submitting your PR, be sure to indicate it on your form).

Your Project Manager will set an appointment with the contact person on the PR to go over the scope of work of the project as well as to visit the job site to understand the full details of the project. At this time, the PM may invite contractors so they can get details for their estimates.

In some instances, due to the magnitude of the project, a field project must be filed with the state. In that case, a field project package must be prepared and submitted to the state inspector for review and approval prior to the project start. The assigned Project Manager will work with the state inspector to prepare and submit the proper forms. 

As always, if you have any questions or need help filling out the PR form, you can contact the PDC office at 270-745-8708.  We are located at the ground level of Parking Structure #1, at the rear of the Facilities Management dock area (please see the Contact Us) page on this site.

Why do I have to go through PDC?

WKU's Department of Planning, Design, and Construction is responsible for administering and directing all renovation and building projects on WKU's main and extended campuses. These responsibilities include coordinating with other departments and the Commonwealth of Kentucky to ensure safe, efficient, and cost effective projects. PDC is a professional service of the University and, as such, employs certified project engineers and interior designers who are trained in the programming, development, and construction of facilities.

Your assigned Project Manager will work with a representative from your requesting department to discuss your needs and possible solutions. PDC has a variety of resources at our disposal and a staff with a broad range of professional experience and education from which to draw. Your PM will present you with one or more possible solutions and work with you to nail down details of your project to meet your department's needs, the university's goals, life safety codes, and budget requirements.

For renovations that are expected to be $ 100,000 (or less), you can initiate a project, or request for estimate, by submitting a Project Request (PR) form.  If you have questions about filling out the form, or have general questions, you can always call Planning, Design and Construction at 745-8708.

Are PDC and DFM the same?

No, these departments are separate and perform different functions.

PDC is the department of Planning, Design and Construction. PDC directs all design and project management activities and manages the design and construction program for all WKU campus locations.

DFM is the Department of Facilities Management. DFM maintains campus buildings and facilities and incorporates the Building Service Attendants (BSA), Maintenance (including HVAC, plumbing, carpentry, etc.) and Campus Services (including grounds crews).

PDC and DFM are both under the direction of Bryan B. Russell, Chief Facilities Officer Division. Both departments work closely together to create and maintain an attractive and functional facility for the WKU family and visitors.

Does PDC Charge a Fee for their services?

PDC does not charge any fees for managing Project Requests.  Capital projects of $ 600,000.00 or greater are charged a fee based on a scale of magnitude.

Can I get an estimate without submitting a Project Request?

To get an estimate for projects of $ 100,000.00 or less, you should always submit a Project Request as the first step.  If you aren't sure about the dollar figure, you should still initiate the process in the same fashion.

How long will it take to get my estimate?

To develop an estimate, your Project Manager will meet with you to develop a plan to meet your needs. Projects require varying degrees of research, site investigation, design, and estimating. With every project, PDC is obligated to file an Asbestos Management Request form with the WKU Environmental Health & Safety Office to ascertain if there are any hazardous materials that will be involved or disturbed by the project. This process alone can take up to 10 days. So once PDC receives your PR, you should expect about two weeks to receive an estimate for a basic scope without complications, and longer for complex projects.

How will my project be paid for?

Once the scope of work has been determined, your Project Manager works with vendors and contractors to prepare an estimate, which is then sent electronically to the contact person on the PR.  You will be able to review the estimate, which is valid for ninety (90) days.  If you agree with the estimated amount, you should respond directly to your Project Manager via e-mail, confirming the account number you wish to use to fund the project.  Once the approval is received, PDC sends a request to Accounting to transfer those funds to a unique Project Account.  All labor, materials and other costs arranged by the Project Manager are charged to that special project account.  If you are using a Foundation account to pay for your project, purchase orders for approved funding are processed directly through the Foundation.

Your project may incur charges for a variety of sources: contracted work, Campus IT, EH&S testing, Facilities Management labor, etc. PDC will consolidate billing for all these sources through your Project Request and unique project index to simplify billing for your department.

Once your project is complete and all billings have been processed, any remaining funds will be released to your original account number. If for any reason during the project your Project Manager foresees that costs will exceed 10% above the estimate, he will notify you so a decision can be made about how to proceed.

Approval process for designs and change of use:

Once you and your Project Manager have determined a scope of work, written details and drawings may be presented for signature by the responsible party in your department to indicate final approval before construction begins.

Making changes to the scope after contracts are in place or after work has begun can increase the cost of a project and delay completion. This is why we ask that all details be nailed down prior to approval to eliminate change orders.

If you are proposing the usage type of a space be changed, your department will need to acquire approval from the Scheduling Application Coordinator for Astra. PDC will typically provide you with a floor plan requiring signatures of your department head or dean as well as the Astra coordinator. Examples of change in usage are changing a classroom into offices or vice versa, absorbing lobby space into offices, or creating retail space.

When engineers or architects must be hired and associated costs:

Some project scopes mandate that registered architects or engineers be hired for design services or to perform a feasibility study. If this is the case, your Project Manager will discuss specific requirements and costs with you. These professional services are an expense that will be charged to your project.

EH&S, Hazardous Materials, and Assuming the Role of "Project Manager":

One of the functions of your PDC Project Manager performs is liaison to WKU's Environmental Health & Safety Department. Our departments work closely together to help minimize risk of exposing WKU faculty, staff, students, and visitors to hazardous materials like asbestos and lead. Whey you bypass PDC and perform or ask others to perform renovations or make physical changes in a building, you are considered a University Project Manager by EH&S, and as such, assume responsibility for creating any exposures to hazardous materials. Alterations as simple as painting, hanging window shades, removing a chalkboard, or hanging a projector can disturb hazardous materials and expose yourself and others to health risks. Before you consider performing any renovations yourself, you should reference the WKU Environmental Health & Safety department's web page for further details.

Purchasing and Price Contracts

WKU is required to follow the Kentucky Model Procurement Code. Price contracts are one of ways the university does that. Pursuant with established price contracts, there are many services for which we are required to use particular vendors. For materials and equipment, we often have a wide variety of price contracts to employ. The Manager for Construction Purchasing is located in the PDC Department and your Project Manager will work with him to keep your project within purchasing regulations.

Design Projects to fit the University, not just the current occupant:

While an office, classroom, or break room, etc., may feel like "yours", it really belongs to the university. Sometimes an occupant may want to modify a space to fit their current needs better, but it may not always be in the best interest of the university. Your Project Manager works with other departments across campus to help ensure the scope of your project will not create a maintenance problem, create a situation that has to be reversed for the next occupant, or violate life safety codes.

Following building codes and Life Safety Codes:

The university is obligated to adhere to a broad range of building codes and life safety codes. These include egress routes, occupancy loads, ADA accessibility, and much more. The PDC department works with state officials, consultants, and other departments on campus to help create and maintain a safe environment for all of WKU.

Why outside contractors are hired to perform your project:

The university does not keep a staff of tradesmen to perform renovation projects. While Facilities Management employs tradespeople, their function is to perform maintenance tasks. Therefore, contractors will be hired to perform your project work, based on the specific needs of the project. The contractors we hire are instructed to work safely, behave courteously, and adhere to university regulations. PDC staff continuously evaluates the performance of contractors we hire. If you experience any problems relating to contractors during your renovation, please inform your Project Manager immediately so they can be addressed.

Why costs seem to be higher than home renovations:

If you have contracted renovations for your home, you may have been reluctant to pay someone else to do work you think you might be able to do yourself if you just had more time. But when you hire a licensed contractor, you are paying for both their time and their expertise. WKU works to find contractors who are experienced in their respective trades and have appropriate training and certifications. To deal with elevated liability related to commercial work, which includes higher education construction, licensed contractors have additional expenses such as greater insurance costs. These factors can add up to make non-residential renovations seem even more pricey compared to your home repairs.

The difference between Renovation projects and Capital Construction projects:

Projects under $100,000 are considered Renovations.  Capital Construction can be renovation activities or new construction greater than $100,000.

Services offered by PDC:

PDC can help you with a wide variety of needs.  This list is only a sampling of typical Renovations: space planning, furniture selection, finishes selections such as flooring and paints, window coverings, construction of walls, installation of cabinets, demolition, chalkboard replacement, A/V upgrades, lighting changes, electrical outlets and networking service additions, new office space development, classroom modifications, or any other physical modification to a university owned or operated facility.

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 Last Modified 5/10/18