In part two of our interview with Wayne Boy, former Director of Planning and Design at College of William and Mary, we spoke with him for tips on how to demystify the university building selection process for architecture and construction firms. To read Part 1, click here.
“Presentation matters, and facilities staff read all the forms.”
HG: You were a selection committee member for literally dozens of RFPs during your tenure. When reading through all the RFP A/E Forms submittals for the initial offering, what matters and how can a firm stand out?
W: Presentation matters, and facilities staff read all the forms. Users normally focus on AE-5 data. Attention to detail, great photos of previous work and pithy presentation of information impresses and eases the task of the reviewer. Percent of time spent on the job and budget details are a key metric. Presenting data concisely and easy to understand, earlier campus work, SWaM data from representative projects also is important. Users value site plans.
HG: Did faculty users specific to the building ask you for and/or take your advice, since you had more experience with the process?
W: Users did, in fact, listen to our (FM) advice. We would achieve @ 70 – 75% agreement when short listing and 80 – 90% agreement during interviews. We would give them greater credence on the selection of designers and less on the selection of CMs/GCs since the Building Committee is more heavily involved in design vs. construction.
HG: What about the consultants on the shortlisted teams? Does the L.A. or civil influence the committee?
W: Architects, civil, structural and MEP firms always carry great weight – but with the FM staff. Users focus on architectural program space and aesthetics with the exception of lab owners who, in fact, focus on program space and supporting MEP systems. Civil design is becoming more critical at congested/landlocked campuses due to the constraints created by building density/congestion, utility capacities/routing, and/or site driven foundation/structural impacts. Users care more about the aesthetics than the other departments, which makes sense because they are going to be working in and around the building, so in that respect a combination civil engineer with a strong sense of L.A./design like HG has appeal. That might be why you guys are winning so many CWM projects (he winks). I have to note that my experience has been that out of state L.A.s have not fared well since they don’t understand the local flora or plant material for our zone.
HG: How does the Capital campaign process work inside the state’s system? How do you get funds allocated?
W: I personally made each budget request via an automated Capital Budget Request and prioritized based on the following:
- The Campus Master Plan
- The Six Year Plan which is really three, 2-year plans. Note – The Six Year Plan is a shorter range derivative of the Master Plan created by a Campus Space Management Committee chaired by the Provost and staffed by academic Deans, the Senior VP, the Athletic Director and the VPs or AVPs of virtually all major administrative elements.)
- Individual Project Pre-Planning Studies funded by the State for Education & General (E&G) projects and by the College for auxiliary (revenue generating) projects.
If the General Assembly’s funding allocation seems arbitrary, it is, and isn’t always in alignment with the university’s priority. That’s because the state may favor a STEM project over a Student Academic Center. I think you showed me more about how to find budget information online than even I knew.”
Next in the series…Wayne is unambiguous giving specific graphics, experience and architecture that will sway important campus decision makers and department heads…both for positive and negative outcomes for your firm.
HG Design Studio is a creative civil engineering and landscape architecture firm. We currently have multiple active civil and landscape architecture projects at seven campuses in the Commonwealth of Virginia.