What's a Space change and How Does It Happen?
The Committee for Review of Space Planning (CRSP), an advisory group to the Chancellor, reviews all space change requests prior to design and construction.
Submission of the Space Change Request Form is a necessary first step of all space change requests. The estimating and design phases of projects can be reduced when the client provides vital information early. Advance planning is the most important factor in cost- and time-efficient space changes.
What’s a Space Change?
A space change is generally a significant renovation or major alteration in a room where changes to walls or partitions are included and different room dimensions result. Repair, maintenance, or replacements are not space changes in themselves but are often a part of a space change. In general, any alteration costing $10,000 or more or requiring two or more construction trades is considered a space change and should be treated accordingly.
Steps in the Space Change Process
Project conception and planning
Project conception and planning involves the primary users of the proposed space. Especially in the case of laboratory renovations, the involvement of the primary investigator is absolutely necessary from the very beginning. The project planning checklist that accompanies the space change request form should be used to make sure all items have been considered in the proposed renovation.
Space change request form
Space change request forms are required to initiate a new space change project, request additional space, or request a planning study. In addition to the information herein, as background, please review the sections on procedures for Space Changes, Space Allocation and Planning Study Requests on the CRSP Policies and Procedures webpage.
The space change request form should, in most cases, be filled out by the primary user of the proposed space. The form consists of two pages — the description sheet and the checklist. Both pages should be completed. Sketches, correspondence, or any other information should be included. The more information that is provided, the more efficiently an estimate can be prepared. The request form must be signed by the department, lab, or center head and then forwarded to the senior officer for approval. Please note that the completed space change request form must include information on pre-determined budgetary limits for the project, noted under the heading Project Budget. If there is a pre-determined budget limit for the project, this amount should be noted on the form. If there is no pre-determined budget, the project budget will be based on the scope as described by the primary user
Request Form Submittal
In order to initiate a new project, the completed Space Change Request Form in original form endorsed by the Department Head and Senior Officer and with any appropriate attachments, is to be submitted to the Department of Facilities, Project Management Division R-CRSP Liaison as noted on the top of the form.
Senior officer review/approval to estimate
The senior officer reviews the request, paying particular attention to the funding source proposed and the requested completion date. If the completion date seems unrealistic, the senior officer should work with the requester to develop a more realistic date. The senior officer forwards the signed form to the secretary of CRSP. It should be noted that any space change requests that are explicitly related to undergraduate education must also be reviewed and approved by the dean of Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs before they are sent to Facilities for estimating.
Project number assignment
The space change request form is entered into a database when the Department of Facilities, Project Management Division (PMD) R-CRSP Liaison receives it. A five-digit project number is assigned. This number is used to track the project through the space change process. It is helpful to include this number on any correspondence regarding the project. The space change request form is then forwarded to the projects coordinator, (Jan Burke, NE49-2300, 258-5463) for estimating. A copy of the request is also sent to other offices for review, including the Safety Office and Environmental Medical Services. These offices work with Facilities to ensure that the project meets all current codes and standards.
The project coordinator or a staff member will work with the primary user or other designated contact person to develop the preliminary estimate. The scope will be defined and the estimate prepared. This process generally takes 30 to 45 days. In the case of complex renovations, the estimate will take longer. The requester should take the complexity of the project into account when allowing time for the estimate phase. Some very complicated jobs may require schematic engineering design prior to estimating.
Departmental and senior officer review and approval of estimate
After the estimate is prepared, it is sent to the requester, the administrative officer or other departmental administrator, and the senior officer. The estimate should be reviewed thoroughly. Any questions regarding the estimate should be directed to the project coordinator. Many times, the requester will want to adjust the estimate based on altered scope requirements or additional information. In these cases, the project coordinator should be contacted to re-estimate the project. The re-estimate is then distributed.
CRSP review and decision
If the requestor would like to proceed with the project, the requester or administrative officer should speak with the senior officer about placing the project on the CRSP Renovations Subcommittee agenda. If in agreement, the senior officer (or representative) should contact the R-CRSP Liaison no later than one week prior to the meeting. The proposed funding sources should be reviewed at that time. Often a statement of intent or support of the project, from the requesting department or the senior officer, is included in the CRSP package along with the request form and the estimate. If such documents are to be included in the agenda, they must be forwarded to the secretary no later than seven days prior to the meeting. The CRSP Renovations Subcommittee will review the request at its meeting. The R-CRSP Liaison communicates the decision of the committee verbally to the senior and administrative officer within 24 hours. The committee minutes are distributed to senior officers a week after the meeting.
A yearly appropriation of funds is available but it is far less than the total cost of all approved requests. At present, about half the approved space changes are funded by alternate sources. Requests for all space changes should be submitted in the same manner, regardless of the source of funds, and must be reviewed and approved by CRSP. After approval, all space changes are assigned a space change account number. If the project is funded by non-CRSP funds and the account was not identified on the request form or has changed, the account information should be communicated to the senior staff accountant in Facilities (James Salini, NE49-3200, 617-253-3957). Work will not commence on the project until the space change account is established.
Program/schematic design phase (and furnishings program/schematic design phase, if included)
After a space change account is established for the project, the design phase commences. Facilities staff architectural, mechanical, and electrical designers, or consultants, will work with the client or client team to further refine the design for the proposed space. The client or client team (the primary user or investigator who holds the decision-making ability as well as others, users and administrators) signs off on the schematic design before the construction documents are prepared. If furnishings are to be included in the space change project, the interior designer will meet with the client/client team and the other designers to begin the schematic design for furnishings. Often the project budget will be reviewed at the end of schematic design to make sure the proposed project is within the estimated range.
Construction documents phase
Construction documents are the drawings and specifications that the contractor will use when bidding on and building the project. The schematic design and construction documents phases together generally take three to seven weeks on small projects, nine to 15 weeks on medium projects, and 12 to 26 weeks on large projects.
Design review phase
An internal Facilities review of all space change projects takes place as construction documents are prepared. This ensures that proposed mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems will be in conformance with existing ones and that the design is consistent with architectural and safety standards. This review takes two weeks.
Space change projects go through an open, competitive bid process among pre-qualified contractors. The bid phase is usually two weeks long. Another week is allowed for bid summary and review. If the bid summary cost is greater than the estimated project cost, the scope must be revised or additional funds obtained.
Once the bid is awarded, a construction schedule is developed. A PMD construction coordinator or project manager will be assigned to the project. This person is the primary Facilities contact person for the remainder of the project. The contractor can take instruction only from this person and not the client. If the construction schedule is in conflict with any other activity in the space, he/she or the coordinator/project manager should be contacted immediately. The contractor will file for a building permit with the City of Cambridge. Requesters should be aware that it might take up to a month to obtain a permit.
Asbestos removal: If asbestos abatement is required in the area, it is usually determined during the design phase and abatement takes place prior to construction with little or no additional impact on the schedule. If, however, the asbestos is not discovered until construction has begun, work must stop and the schedule will be impacted by notification to commonwealth and federal agencies (20 days) as well as the abatement period. The construction phase of small projects generally takes three to 9 weeks, nine to 24 weeks for medium projects, and 11 to 28 weeks for large projects. Requesters should be aware that if the project needs to be phased or if the space will be occupied during construction, the construction phase will be considerably longer. Every effort should be made by the requester to relocate the activities/inhabitants of the spaces while they undergo renovation.
Furnishings installation, if included
Furnishings are delivered and installed at the completion of construction if they are included in the project. As furnishings fabrication takes eight to 12 weeks, furnishings may not be delivered by the completion of very small projects.
After Facilities has received an occupancy permit from the City of Cambridge, the users may occupy the space. Any immediate problems with the renovated space should be brought to the attention of the construction coordinator/project manager.
Air conditioning, like painting, plumbing, and electrical work, may be part of a space change, but is not considered as such alone. As separate transactions, air conditioning requests should be forwarded to the Space Administrator, NE49-2300.
Disposal of Unwanted Equipment
The removal of hazardous substances, unwanted machinery, and furniture and lab apparatus is the responsibility of the department or laboratory and generally is not part of the space change. Removal of hazardous chemicals should be arranged directly with the Environmental Health and Safety Office, (617-452-3666). Removal of surplus furniture should be arranged with the Property Office, (617-253-2779).
Traditionally, with the exception of new buildings and a small number of major space change projects, furnishings are the responsibility of the laboratory, department or center. With the advent of systems furnishings, which often replace interior partition walls, furnishings costs may be considered part of the space change costs in some cases, and CRSP funding may be requested. In any case, a preliminary furnishings budget may be requested at the time a space change request is submitted. Interior design and furnishings selection assistance exclusive of space changes can be requisitioned directly from the Interior Design section of Facilities, NE49-2300 (253-7771 or 253-0225).
Normal moving costs required in the course of a space change are considered part of the space change and included in project costs. Extraneous and independent moving of furniture and equipment should be requisitioned directly from Facilities movers, NW62 (617-253-6360).
While the installation of telephone wiring and jacks is included in the space change process, all other aspects of telephone relocation and installation are the responsibility of the requester. Requisitions and inquiries should be directed to Information Systems & Technology, (617-253-1101).
While it is always the requester's responsibility to arrange for data cabling, that item should be checked off on the request form checklist so that this work may be coordinated with Information Systems & Technology in the context of the space change.
Procedures for Planning Study Request
A study or feasibility review to consider alternatives and the best course of action is often useful when a department, laboratory, or center anticipates significant changes in its size or operations.
Projects may be referred for further study by CRSP or DLCs may request
this assistance directly. DLCs may be asked to contribute funds for all or
part of the study. Use the Project Request
Form (PDF), with supplementary materials, to initiate a planning study
request. The department head or laboratory/center director as well
as the senior officer must sign all requests for a planning study.
1. Project Definition:
Project Development staff will work with the client to review the request and existing conditions, clarify issues to be addressed, and review potential approaches to solution. Allow one to four months for this step.
2. Planning Study:
Staff will undertake an appropriate study such as a strategic plan, feasibility study, site selection, master plan, or concept design, typically including these steps:
- Confirm goals and analyze existing conditions
- Benchmarking and review of trends in area
- Identify problems and opportunities
- Develop and evaluate alternative solutions
- Select and refine a preferred solution
- Develop an implementation plan and final documentation
The planning study may involve consultant or architectural services and structured participation by the users. This process may take three to 18 months, depending on complexity.
3. Recommend a Course of Action
CRSP will consider action on the recommendations from the planning study process. This may include approval, referral to the MIT Building Committee, or other actions.
The Institute’s current space and budgetary constraints may limit new projects or expansion of current activities. DLCs should house these activities within currently assigned spaces or negotiated spaces if possible. Resources to undertake studies are limited, so while informal consultation is always available, formal studies should be requested only where necessary.