Frequently asked questions

What are Facilities Management's responsibilities?

The university is required by law to comply with numerous codes and regulations, and is both financially and legally liable for failure to do so. Therefore, any work being carried out which falls under the jurisdiction of building and fire codes and regulations must be carried out under the authority, direction and supervision of the Executive Director, Facilities Management. While the overall responsibility for provision of these services may rest with Facilities Management, the financial responsibility may not. It’s our responsibility to determine the source of funds before any work starts and to provide the necessary estimates for funding allocation.

What are the occupants' responsibilities?

University occupants are responsible for turning off lights and office equipment, closing windows, locking their doors, and securing their rooms and areas. Any permanent modifications to any room or area require the prior approval of Facilities Management. Occupants are expected to use bulletin boards for posting information. These have been provided in general areas. We rely on building occupants to report maintenance problems and equipment failures.

How quickly will the work I request be completed?

All requests are reviewed by the Operation department, who identify emergency and high priority requests. Emergency requests are given the highest priority and acted on the day requested. We do our best to address all high priority requests with the available resources. Please clearly identify any time requirements in your work request and provide as much lead time as possible for competition.

Who pays?

Most university departments: There is a landlord/tenant-like relationship between Facilities Management and most departments at the university. As landlord, we’re responsible for providing and maintaining an appropriate environment and basic building services at no cost. As tenants, departments are responsible for funding discretionary work like modifications and aesthetic upgrades. We maintain open areas such as lobbies, corridors and general classroom space. Ancillary departments and agencies: We have special cost-sharing arrangements with ancillary departments and agencies. If you have any questions about cost sharing, please contact the Customer Service desk at 250-721-7616 or by email at facman@uvic.ca.

How do I get approval for an on-campus outdoor event?

Contact Student and Ancillary Services. Information and booking form available at: stas.uvic.ca/bookings.

How do I report a problem with an elevator?

If you are stuck in a elevator use the emergency phone in the car to contact Campus Security. If you receive notification of a malfunctioning UVic elevator, with people trapped inside, call Campus Security immediately at 250-721-7599. For any other elevator problems contact Facilities Management at 250-721-7616 during normal working hours or submit a Service Request through the FAMS system.

Please tell us:

  • Building name
  • Elevator number (posted outside of each elevator)
  • Possible entrapment of people
  • Description of problem
  • Location of elevator car if stopped on a particular floor
  • Your name and contact information

How do I get access to place FMIS service requests?

Fill out the access request form and we'll respond shortly. You'll need to provide your department administrator's name, phone number, and email address.

Where can I purchase whiteboards and other items that can be attached to the walls?

  • Whenever a product is installed, there is assurance that the product meets UVic Standards of Accessibility, Ergonomics, and Product Warranty (PDF). For this reason, Facilities Management only installs UVic standard whiteboards, chalkboards, bulletin boards, and tack boards.
  • With any item installed in the office, it’s important to adhere to the UVic Standards so that all offices have the same quality products and each space presents the same "look and feel" to the public, staff, and students. Our commitment to the UVic community is that everyone receives those same quality products for their space requirements.
  • The Interior Planning and Logistics team oversees the changes in physical layout of the office including the installation of whiteboards, tack boards, chalk boards, coat hooks or office furniture. Service can be requested using FMIS.

Charge-out Rates

Where can I find detailed information about the charges for work I request?

If you’re a FMIS user, use the self-serve function to look up detailed information about your work requests, including the charges.

We’ll send an automatically generated email with a work order number when you initiate a work request. You can use the work order number to track the status of your request and billing information through the FMIS self-serve search feature.

What are the cost components that make up the charge-out rate?

  • Average hourly rate paid – includes supervisory wages, provisional pay and premiums. Does not include management wages, overtime and termination payouts.
  • Time off recovery - costs such as backfill for vacation, sick time and training.  
  • Preparation and clean up – time spent in trades shops for general job/shop clean up and preparation.
  • Vehicles and equipment – cost of replacement, repairs and fuel.
  • Administration – administrative support wages directly related to charge back work.
  • Benefits – Employee benefit costs are recovered from ancillary departments and agency customers. A factor was applied to the base charge out rate to incorporate the cost of employee benefits.

Why are employee benefits incorporated by applying a factor the charge out rates?

By applying a factor to the base charge-out rate to incorporate employee benefits, it is possible to automate the billing process and reduce the number of billing types from 41 to 5, and the number of overtime pay values from 24 to 1.  This substantially reduces processing time and the risk of entry mistakes.

What services does Facilities Management provide on a cost-recovery basis?

Services provided on a cost-recovery basis include:
  • Repair or maintenance of equipment not considered by Facilities Management as standard building systems. This includes specialized equipment, research areas or building systems, specific to a university department and/or installed at the request of the department.
  • Requests for service (including repairs, maintenance, upgrades, enhancements, additions, waste and garbage removal, janitorial services, furniture rental, moving, special requests) above and beyond regular scheduled or routine building and grounds maintenance and repair. These requests are deemed discretionary in nature and involve a non-maintenance type service.
  • Postage and non-standard mail delivery.
  • All service provided to ancillary departments and agencies are provided on a cost-recovery basis.

Which Facilities Management services are provided without charge to centrally funded departments?

These services are examples of services provided at no charge to centrally funded departments.  
  • Repair or maintenance of existing building systems over which Facilities Management has full operating control. This includes systems designed and installed in buildings before the first date of occupancy, such as heating, ventilation, electrical, plumbing and maintenance systems.
  • Labour and materials required for ongoing maintenance and repair and scheduled preventative maintenance and repair of buildings, gardens and grounds.
  • Janitorial, garbage and waste services.
  • Utilities including electricity, natural gas, water and sewer, unless servicing specialized metered areas and/or equipment.
  • Standard mail delivery.
  • Elevator maintenance and repair costs.

Is my department charged for the time it takes to travel to and from the area of work?

Yes, the cost directly related to providing the service is charged at the hourly rate.

Is my department charged for the time the employee spends on meal breaks?

No, meal breaks are not charged to departments.

Is my department charged for giving estimates?

Generally not; however, if it takes more than an hour to prepare an estimate, the department will be charged for the estimate.

How do UVic Facilities Management service charges compare with rates of off-campus service providers?

Facilities Management labour rates compare favorably to the local marketplace.
Depending on the trade, our rates for qualified trades people are on average 31% less per hour than rates charged by service companies in the Greater Victoria area.
Also, as an on-site service provider, Facilities Management is able to respond quickly to your needs and emergencies. Our people know the buildings. There is no minimum charge and no sales tax.
Our maintenance staff hold BC Industry Training Authority certification for their trades so you can be sure the work will be done to a high standard and meet code requirements.

How is the total cost of the chargeable work calculated?

The following example shows the calculation for the cost of installation of an electrical outlet at the request of an academic department . 

           Labour  (3.5 hours @ $40/hour) - $140
           Material (university volume pricing) - $105
           Total cost of work charged to FAST account provided on work request - $245

What triggers changes to the rates?

The rates are reviewed each year to reflect changes in the Collective Agreement.  Other factors affecting costs may be considered from time to time.

What university office provides oversight for rates charged to departments?

Facilities Management, in collaboration with the Office of Budget and Capital Planning, sets rates charged for services provided by Facilities Management staff. These rates are approved by the Vice President, Finance and Operations.

Project Management Services

Why does it take so long for projects to be completed?

In a complex institutional environment like UVic, each construction project is unique, with a unique scope of work, and logistical constraints affecting its execution and completion.  Accordingly, projects must be planned, designed and then built in as efficient a manner as possible.

A project has many steps, each with its own time requirement.  Program scope definition and budgeting, design, tendering to contractors to obtain the most competitive cost, the off-site manufacturing of components, and the on-site construction itself may each require several weeks or months to perform.

In addition, Facilities Management may be administering several hundred different projects at a given time, each in different stages of design development or construction. Resources may often be spread thinly.

The most successful projects are those well planned in advance.

How are consultants and general contractors selected?

Facilities Management uses private sector consultants and contractors that are respectively procured through open public Request for Proposal and public tendering processes. For smaller projects, the University maintains standing agreements and pre-qualified lists of service providers for projects.

Contractors and consultants have to demonstrate that they have an appropriate level of experience and competency to work on complex projects in occupied institutional buildings.  Contractors also have to prove that they have the financial resources and stability required of our projects by demonstrating that they are bondable and carry appropriate insurance coverage.

Why does the cost of the project change seem to change as the project proceeds from initial idea to final completion?

As a project proceeds from initial idea to final completion, we increase the degree of resolution and precision as needs are clarified, issues are identified and the market is tested.  Only once a project is complete can we be certain of the final cost.

Initially, during the programming phase, we attempt to identify the scope of work required by the client, the physical constraints with which we must work in the building, and the requirements of authorities having jurisdiction.  Preliminary budgets are typically made on that basis.

As the project proceeds through detailed design development those issues with respect to the client’s requirements, the limitations of the existing building infrastructure, and the requirements of authorities having jurisdiction become more detailed, clearer and better understood.  The client also usually develops a better understanding of his/her needs and the technical requirements of scientific instrumentation to be accommodated by the project.  Revisions to the estimate are typically needed as a consequence. For larger and more complex projects, estimates are also validated and/or updated prior to tender.

Only after the project goes to tender and competitive prices are received, can we establish for the first time how the construction price will be affected by current market conditions – the shortage or surplus of materials and skilled trades and the availability of general contractors to do the work within the required time frame.  It is therefore only when tenders are opened that we get confirmation of whether or not our previous budget estimates were sufficiently clairvoyant.

Once the construction contract is signed and construction site work begins, the final project cost is still not guaranteed.  During construction and especially during renovations, complications can arise that require additional expenditures.  The three common sources of additional costs are:  a) unforeseen site conditions that become apparent only after construction starts; b) omissions or other problems of clarity in the technical documentation produced by the construction professionals; c) changes to the scope of work requested by UVic (by the client or by Facilities Management), or by authorities having jurisdiction.

Therefore, it is only once construction is complete that we can know definitively the cost of the project.

How accurate is the project estimate?

The accuracy of the estimate you receive will vary based on the phase at which it is prepared. The accuracy of the estimate is directly related to the amount and quality of information available to the project team.

Planning / Programming Phase                            30% to 50% variability

In this phase of the project, the Project Manager, the design professionals and the client prepare a statement of requirements. Also referred to as the program, this document clearly defines the problem, the client’s needs and objectives and establishes criteria for evaluating potential design solutions or strategic alternatives. Technical and building system infrastructure issues are examined at a macro level only.

Schematic Design Phase                                     20% to 30% variability

During this phase of the project, the client’s requirements and desires reach the conceptual stage and take form.  It is at this phase that the design professionals test the client’s program by studying various planning and massing relationships, always within the constraints of the project and the project budget. The understanding and determination of technical and building system infrastructure issues is refined and a general design strategy for these is developed. All involved discuss and confirm the key issues and agree on a concept.

Design Development Phase                                 10% to 20% variability

It is during this phase that the design professionals refine and coordinate their designs. All technical and building system infrastructure issues are clearly defined and specific design solutions for these are developed. Specific systems and technologies are chosen. Outline specifications are prepared. The project schedule and the construction cost estimate are updated. Plans are reviewed with the Authorities having Jurisdiction. The client’s responsibility is to review and comment on the design and give approval of the design and to authorize the preparation of the construction documents. 

Construction Documentation Phase                     5% to 10% variability

This phase of the project starts only once a formal approval has been received from the client as changes requested while construction documents are being prepared will likely entail delays and additional cost. The construction documents prepared by the design professionals and Facilities Management outline the contractual responsibilities of the parties. These documents provide detailed specifications and clear graphic descriptions of the work and of the technical systems and technologies requested.  These documents guide and direct the contractor and the sub-contractors in the preparation of their price or bid, and in carrying out their work on the project.

Why can’t FMGT provide a detailed cost breakdown of the work (materials and labour) when an estimate is prepared? Why doesn’t the contractor provide a detailed breakdown of his price?

We will give you as much information as possible when you ask for an estimate, however, the amount of detail available on an estimate is directly related to the amount of information available when the estimate is prepared.  See “How accurate is my estimate?” for more information.

In the early design phases of a project, the estimate is prepared using historical data and industry benchmarks for similar work. This “ball park” type estimate neither considers the specific requirements of the project nor the conditions of the site. It is in this phase of the design process that projects are typically estimated and submitted for approval. As the project progresses from the Schematic Design Phase through the Design Development Phase and the Construction Documentation Phase, the estimate is refined as each detailed element of the project is defined. Only during these later design phases is it possible to itemize costs.

With regards to contractors, the competitive bid process used at UVic does not require them to detail their submissions. Unlike residential work were the client may ask to see a breakdown by hours of work and individual material components, in the institutional sector, contracts are awarded on a lowest price basis therefore only the total price is relevant.

Some customers ask for a detailed cost breakdown of the work in order to try to piece-meal their project in hopes of lowering their cost. It is important to understand that regardless of the phase in which the work is estimated, each line item does not stand alone and each item cannot be individually negotiated.

Why is it best not to change things once construction starts?

Once the construction contract has been awarded, the contractor and sub-contractors work to respect the construction schedule established in the contract.  In order to keep the project on budget and on schedule it is essential to minimize changes during the construction. As changes made during construction are not priced competitively, it can be very costly, both in time and money, to change the scope of work once construction has begun.

What is the role and what are the responsibilities of the Project Management team during the various phases of a project?

The role of the UVic Project Manager is to lead and direct construction and renovation projects to be performed on UVic property or in UVic facilities and to provide the liaison between the members of the University community and the professionals and contractors operating in the construction industry.

The Project Manager acts as the delegated representative of the University and as owner with respect to the parties with whom UVic conducts business in the construction industry. Under no circumstances should Faculties and Departments planning renovation work approach contractors directly.

Project Management Services ensures that projects conform to UVic’s purchasing policy, building codes, and zoning regulations; that the appropriate process is followed for consultant and contractor tendering, selection, and contract award; that UVic’s design and construction standards are respected; and that a quality product is delivered on time, on budget and to the satisfaction of the customer and the rest of the University community.

Project Management Services interfaces with the Associate Vice-President, Financial Planning and Operations, which has the leading role in developing space norms and planning strategies and in reconciling differences over space assignment and usage that may occur.

Project Management Services will provide the following services:

  • Assist the customer in defining a scope of work and list of requirements.
  • Select and appoint the team of professional consultants - architects and engineers - required for the project.
  • Establish and lead a ‘Project Planning Committee,’ as required, to discuss, establish and approve the strategic issues to be addressed by the project.
  • Establish and lead the ‘Project Working Committee,’ including the customer, other key UVic stakeholders, and the project consultants, in order to design the project to meet the customer’s needs.
  • Prepare detailed project budget estimates for review and approval of the customer and the University administration.
  • Arrange for the preparation of graphic presentation materials and proposals for projects that may be required for fundraising and approval purposes.
  • Prepare the project schedule and reconcile all scheduling issues that will have an impact on the University community.
  • Assure that the project respects UVic guidelines with respect to building standards, the University Campus Plan, and other institutional standards and   requirements.
  • Initiate and manage the competitive tendering process to engage contractors to perform the work.
  • Manage the permit approval process required by authorities having jurisdiction and negotiate with those authorities on behalf of the University when required.
  • Act as UVic’s official representative with respect to contracts between UVic and professional consultants and between UVic and construction contractors.  This role includes, but is not limited to, the enforcement of contract conditions, the authorization of changes to contracts and mandates and the control and approval of all financial transactions.
  • Establish and lead regular construction site meetings as required, involving the customer where appropriate, the professional consultants, and the contractor(s), to deal with timely issues affecting the course of the construction work on site.
  • Provide on-site logistical co-ordination between the contractor, the customer and all members of the University community who are affected by the activities of the contractor(s).
  • Provide internal coordination with other University service units that must interface with the project such as, University Systems, Campus Security, Maintenance and Operations, Legal Services, Insurance and Risk Management, and Financial Services.
  • Supervise the preparation of lists of deficiencies in the work, their correction by the contractor, and the approval of the work by the customer and the prossional consultants.
  • Assure that the end of project documentation is compiled and archived for future reference – final budgets and financial statements, as-built drawings, contract documents, manuals, guarantees, etc.
  • Oversee the design, selection, purchase and installation of furniture related to the project as needed.
  • Assist the customer in planning and coordinating moving and storage and other setup activities as may be required by the project.