Department Glossary


Add Alternate
Alternate construction bid items are used so that a project will be bid within budgeted funds. The State of Wisconsin requires that Alternates be an additive type and be listed in the order in which they will be accepted.


After a project is issued for construction bids, an Addendum may be issued up to a week before the bids are due in order to clarify, add, or delete requirements.


Architectural and/or Engineering professional design service consultants.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Federal legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, programs and services provided by state and local governments, goods and services provided by private companies, and in commercial facilities. It contains requirements for new construction, for alterations or renovations to buildings and facilities.

Agency Request

The University is one of several State of Wisconsin agencies. The Request is a document that briefly explains a proposed Major or Minor Project to the staff of the Division of Facilities Development and to members of the State Building Commission without reference to other documents. The Request includes a summary description of the work to be done in the project and explains why the project is needed. The Request notes a total project cost estimate including a construction cost estimate along with fees for design services, DFD supervision, project contingency, site utilities, hazardous materials abatement, and equipment purchase allowances.

Assignable Area (ASF)

Building floor plan area in square feet that may be assigned to an occupant or a program function. Areas not included as assignable space include public circulation elements such as common corridors, stairways, elevator shafts, custodial closets, mechanical equipment rooms and chases, and public restrooms.


Budget Letter
Up until construction contracts are bid, a project budget will include estimates of construction cost. After construction contracts are bid and awarded, the DFD Project Manager will prepare a Budget Letter listing the actual construction contract costs along with any design and supervision fees, project contingency, and equipment purchase allowances.


Capital Budget

Refer to internal Capital Budget page.

Change Order

After a construction contract has been awarded, if work needs to be added or deleted from a particular contract, a Change Order is required to modify the contracts. DSF administers the procedures for issuing and obtaining approvals for Change Orders.

Construction Bulletin

After a construction contract is awarded, if work needs to be clarified, added, or deleted from a contract, a Construction Bulletin may be required to describe the proposed changes to the contractors and to obtain a price or credit proposal for review. A Change Order would then be required to incorporate the price proposal into the contract. DSF administers all procedures for issuing and reviewing Construction Bulletins. Minor changes may be authorized by a Field Order.

Within a total project estimated budget, a project contingency is planned so that unforeseen but necessary revisions that may arise during construction may be addressed with reserved project funds. Usually the project contingency is expressed as a percentage of construction cost.


Design Report

At the conclusion of the planning and design phase, the design consultants prepare the Design Report. It is a summary description of the scope, need, size, schedule and cost of the project. It is presented to the State Building Commission along with the Agency Request for authorization to proceed with the construction phase.

Division of Facilities Development (DFD)

DFD is a component of the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration. DFD develops and carries out the state building program under the direction of the State Building Commission. Its functions include statewide facilities planning and evaluation, real estate acquisition, architectural and engineering design and consultation, management and field supervision of construction projects, energy conservation, power plant fuel management, administration of state building contracts, and ensuring access to state buildings for people with disabilities.


Field Order

During construction, if a minor change to a construction contract is needed, especially to expedite the progress of the work, the DFD Construction Field Representative may issue a Field Order to authorize the change.

Field Representative

During construction, DFD assigns a Field or Project Representative to the project. This person will make frequent visits to the site and has authority to act as the single point of contact and communication for the Contractors to facilitate efficient, timely, and cost effective completion of the work.

Fixed Equipment

Items that are permanently installed in a building, sometimes including having utility services installed. Examples are cabinets, countertops, shelving, display boards, fume hoods, etc. Often the items are provided and installed by a contractor under their contract, and occasionally items are provided by the University for the contractor to install.


Gross Area (GSF)

The sum of the enclosed areas in square feet on all floors of a building, including basements, mezzanines, and penthouses of headroom height. This does include public circulation elements such as common corridors, stairways, elevator shafts, custodial closets, mechanical equipment rooms and chases, and public restrooms.


Major Project

Any project with a total budget over $500,000 which provides for the acquisition of facilities, construction of any new facility, remodeling or improvement of any existing facility, or expansion of utility systems is considered a Major Project. Generally, the State Building Commission reviews a Major Project three times. The first approval comes with its inclusion in the Biennial Capital Budget. The second action may be the release of Building Trust Funds for planning, when necessary. The final Building Commission review comes with the approval of the Design Report. Any subsequent changes in the project's total budget or program also require approval by the State Building Commission. Except for projects funded from All Agency funds, individual project budgets totaling more than $500,000 must be specifically enumerated in session law by the State Legislature.

Minor Project

Any construction project having a total budget of $500,000 or less, regardless of the funding source, is considered a Minor Project. Any Minor Project having a total estimated budget exceeding $150,000 must be individually approved by the State Building Commission prior to final design regardless of the source of funding or whether it is being accomplished by contract or State personnel.

Movable Equipment

Furnishings that are not provided as part of the construction work such as chairs, tables, desks,etc. A new construction or remodeling project budget estimate will often include an allowance for the purchase of some furnishings.


Program Revenue

Funding for projects may sometimes be provided from revenue generated by such University services as parking, housing, food service, student unions, etc.

Program Statement

A document that is given to the consulting design architects and engineers at the initiation of a project. It is a description of the functions and activities that will occur in the project, it is the starting point from which the design team focuses on gathering further detailed information before beginning design studies. The document includes a summary description of the scope of the proposed project, an estimated budget, anticipated schedule, space tabulations, general and special requirements, adjacency needs, along with site and floor plans and other supporting information.

Project Manager

The DFD Project Manager is responsible for monitoring the program, budget, and schedule approved by the State Building Commission. The Project Manager works with and is supported by DFD's in-house expertise in architecture, structural, mechanical, electrical, civil engineering, asbestos abatement, budget analysis, specifications and contract preparation.


Near the completion of a construction project, a contractor's work will be reviewed by the design architect and/or engineer for compliance with the contract documents. A Punchlist will be generated by the architect or engineer listing those items of work which have been observed as incomplete or requiring correction. The contractor then finishes the Punchlist items before Final Completion may be declared and final payments authorized.


Small Project

The Small Project program is administered by DFD and coordinated on the UW-Milwaukee campus by the Department of Physical Plant Services. Small Projects do not exceed $150,000 and generally involve the maintenance of facilities and utilities, health and safety of employees and facility users, protection of the environment, conservation of energy, accommodations for disabled persons, and improvements needed to support changes in program requirements.

Special Equipment

Items that are required for the special needs of a program, such as laboratory equipment, computers, audio-visual equipment, etc. A new construction or remodeling project budget estimate may include an allowance for the purchase of some Special Equipment items.

State Building Commission

The SBC has the statutory responsibility of overseeing the planning, improvement, and major maintenance of State facilities and the supervision of all matters relating to contracting of public debt. The Building Commission is chaired by the Governor and is comprised of two subcommittees. The Higher Education Subcommittee is responsible for reviewing University of Wisconsin System projects, and the Administrative Affairs Subcommittee is responsible for all other User-Agencies. Each subcommittee consists of three legislative members and one citizen member. The Administrator of DFD serves as the non-voting Secretary to the Building Commission. The Building Commission meets, at the call of the Governor, generally ten to twelve times per year, usually on the third Wednesday of the month.

Substantial Completion

When a construction or remodeling project has been determined to be ready for its intended use and occupancy, it may be declared Substantially Complete by the DFD Field Representative. Generally this means that all the building utility systems are in working order and are code compliant, that Physical Plant Services staff have received training and may operate the building systems, and that University users and furnishings may occupy the spaces. The date of Substantial Completion initiates warranty periods on the installed work.


University of Wisconsin System

The central administrative entity that oversees the State's thirteen two-year and thirteen four-year campuses. The UW System Office of Capital Planning and Budget provides professional assistance to the campus and manages the University's Capital Budget process.