Study Phase

Also referred to as a feasibility study, the study phase generates the project definition, cost model and scope of work. With this information, Western Michigan University makes major decisions about project direction. The schedule for programming, design and construction may also be drafted at this time.

The study phase, typically conducted by the planning staff at WMU Planning, Space Management and Capital Projects, includes comparative research into similar projects at other institutions, interviews with the intended user groups, exploration of potential building sites and identification of possible effects on existing university systems, such as parking, building services and utilities. The project is also evaluated as to its appropriateness relative to the WMU Campus Master Plan.


  • Cost model: a strategy for establishing the project budget and for prioritizing the assignment of funds. The cost model can help determine whether or not the project scope can be accomplished within the project budget.
  • Infrastructure: in general terms refers to all services or systems that must be present at a building site in order for the facility to function and be maintained, such as utilities, roads and stormwater management. May also refer to all the building services and utilities located "in the walls", that must be in place before facility can be operational, such as phone and data lines, plumbing and mechanical and electrical systems.
  • Project definition: a description of the end result of the construction project. It will include a summary of all programs, departments, services and personnel that will use or will be housed in the facility, what functions and activities are to take place there, what support utilities or infrastructure need to be provided (both to the facility and inside the facility) and an estimated timeline for design and construction.
  • Scope of work: the description of what is to be done to accomplish the project. In contractual terms, scope of work is the description of the specific services to be provided by the professional service provider, such as an architecture or engineering firm, a construction manager or a contractor.

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