Frequently Asked Questions

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Architecture and Design

What type of projects does Architecture and Design work on?

The Architecture and Design Division works on projects including, but not limited to:

  • ADA accommodation.
  • Feasibility study, evaluation and analysis.
  • Graphic design and signage needs.
  • New furnishings, fixtures and equipment.
  • Office cubicle reconfiguration.
  • Project management.
  • Renovation or remodeling of all types of spaces.

What are the minimal governing codes that Architecture and Design Division abide to?

  • International Building Codes
    • IFC (International Fire Code).
    • MBD (Michigan Building Code).
    • MEC (Michigan Electric Code).
    • MECC (Michigan Energy Code).
    • MMC (Michigan Mechanical Code).
    • MPC (Michigan Plumbing Code).
  • National Fire Protection Association
    • NFPA 10: Standard for portable fire extinguishers.
    • NFPA 13: Installation of Sprinkler Systems.
    • NFPA 14: Standard for the installation of standpipe and hose systems.
    • NFPA 70: National Electric Code.
    • NFPA 72: National Fire alarm and signaling Code.
    • NFPA 101: Life Safety Code.
  • Accessibility Guidelines
    • ADA: ADA standards for accessible design by the US Department of Justice.
    • ICC/ANSI 117.1: Accessible and usable buildings and facilities.
  • Additional Guidelines:
    • ASME: Safety code for elevators and escalators.


How do I initiate a project request?

Initiate a project request using our online Project Request Form.

What is the process for a standard project?

To start a new project request and to learn more about the Facility Project Process, visit the Project Request page.

When is the best time to get my project request in?

You may submit a project request at any time. However, the best time for project submittal is early fall. Project requests received at this time will allow time for a proper project process for completion the following summer. Depending on the size and complexity of the project, this general schedule is subject to change.

What exactly is a feasibility study?

A thorough assessment is made of the proposed project request; the project scope, budget and schedule are analyzed. The project scope is analyzed for adherence to Western Michigan University standards; the requisite building codes, life safety codes, personal ergonomics, room size, lighting, HVAC, potential and visible hazards, ADA accessibility, LEED, appropriateness and the general practicality of the project (i.e., can it be built?). After the project scope is determined a review of the proposed budget is given (i.e., can the proposed work be accomplished for the budgeted amount given by our client?). Concurrent with the budget estimate, we will analyze the proposed project schedule and determine if the proposed project can be completed within the time parameters desired by the client.

More information regarding Feasibility Studies

What is a project contingency?

Because no one can predict the exact cost of a project, the contingency is a "safety margin" amount that is used to fund unknown tasks during a project which our professionals were unable to identify during the design and estimating phase. This contingency is also commonly used by the customer to support additional work that they identify as their project proceeds. Depending on the project and situation, contingencies range from 5 percent to 20 percent and, if not used, are always returned to the customer.

More information regarding Project Fee Information

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