Requests for Construction, Repairs and Maintenance

This policy outlines the University's requirement that all requests for building alterations, renovations, construction, repairs and maintenance must be performed by Columbia University Facilities and Operations or its agents.

Reason(s) for the Policy
  • University facilities must be designed, constructed, renovated and maintained in accordance with New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code of New York, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards, and federal and state safety and health regulations, as well as other relevant regulations.
  • University campus property and buildings are inspected by governmental regulators regularly, often without prior notification, and violations can result in costly penalties or potential impacts on utilization.
  • The design, construction, renovation, maintenance and repair of university facilities must be accomplished in a manner consistent with the university's master plan, historic preservation concerns, university standards of quality and aesthetics, and environmental health and safety standards.
  • The public and private investment in the University's facilities must be protected by providing appropriate control over the manner in which they are maintained and renovated.
  • Materials and equipment used are of sufficient quality and durability to provide for an appropriate lifespan for the installation and for reasonable effective maintenance to occur.
  • Work must be coordinated and designed to connect to existing campus electrical, heating, air conditioning and other building systems.
  • University purchasing policies require competitive bidding and/or justification for the cost of the work, and require contracts and purchase orders to be in place before work commences.
  • All contractors are required to provide proof of coverage for Workman's Compensation, liability and other insurances in amounts required by the University. On site workers must comply with University and State guidelines for insurance coverage.
  • Compliance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the University and the Transport Workers, Local 241 and Local 2110. Our contract includes agreements that provide our in-house union, Local 241, the opportunity to perform work which they may have the capability to perform.
  • The University is required by Federal law to keep current space allocation records.
Primary Guidance To Which This Policy Responds

There is not a primary policy to which this policy responds.  It is consistent with ensuring all construction, renovation, alteration, installed systems and equipment and maintenance of University facilities are carried out in accordance with all applicable building and life safety codes and regulations, and University quality standards.

Who is Governed by This Policy

All employees, schools, centers and administrative units, students and faculty.

Who Should Know This Policy

All staff, faculty, researchers and students at the University, and anyone working on behalf of the University requesting repairs, maintenance or renovations on University buildings.


The Executive Vice President of Columbia University Facilities and Operations is responsible for ensuring all building construction, repairs and maintenance related projects adhere to the policy.

The Associate Vice President of Capital Project Management for Columbia University Facilities and Operations is responsible for managing renovation and improvement projects for existing buildings, overseeing all aspects of the construction of new facilities, and ensuring that the University's architectural and engineering standards are maintained.

All University schools, departments and centers on the Morningside Heights campus, Baker Field and Nevis Laboratories are required to utilize Columbia University Facilities and Operations to perform building construction, repairs and maintenance to campus buildings and grounds.

Alterations - The rearrangement or conversion of internal space of an existing facility.

Infrastructure - The basic utilities, services and facilities on which the operations of campus buildings depend. Examples include power, water, steam and chilled water. The term also describes the systems required to operate a building-electrical power distribution, HVAC equipment, telecommunications lines, etc.

Improvements - The addition of quality features to existing space by upgrading mechanical, electrical, technological systems or architectural finishes.

New Construction - The erection of a new facility or addition/expansion of the exterior of an existing facility.

Renovations - The total or partial upgrading of a facility to higher standards of quality or efficiency.

Project Request - The requesting of a service or project that is outside of the normal routine maintenance and repair of the facility. These are usually accomplished by an outside contractor and the costs associated charged to the requesting department.

Work Request - A request for services such as estimating projects, installing new electrical service, painting offices, laying new carpet, making new keys, repairing furniture, installing computer cabling or setting up space for special campus events.