Texas Tech University


[Moderate revision–posted 9/29/20 (replaces 5/22/17 edition)]
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Operating Policy and Procedure

OP 61.35: Requesting Approval for Building Self-help Projects

DATE: September 29, 2020

PURPOSE: The purpose of this Operating Policy/Procedure (OP) is to provide guidelines for campus departments requesting self-help work affecting education and general (E&G) and auxiliary buildings or systems.

REVIEW: This OP will be reviewed in April of even-numbered years by the Managing Director of Building Maintenance & Construction and the Associate Vice President for Operations with substantive revisions forwarded to the Vice President for Administration & Finance and Chief Financial Officer.


1.  Definition

Self-help projects are generally discouraged; however, occasions arise when they may be necessary. Projects categorized as "self-help" involve individuals within a department or functioning unit executing any building or system modification to include construction, painting, cable installation, etc.

2.  General Policy

The university's intent is to maintain the highest standards possible for health and safety, building appearance, and quality of structural materials and finishes used in campus buildings. These standards are applicable to all auxiliary and E&G facilities. To ensure compliance with standards, self-help work that includes facility modification or construction will not be pursued in buildings unless approved by the Managing Director of Building Maintenance & Construction (BMC). If a department completes an unauthorized self-help project and additional university expense is incurred due to violations of any codes set forth in Section 08.06, Regents' Rules, the department will be responsible for any related expenses toward meeting code requirements. Additionally, the department will be responsible for cleanup during and immediately after a self-help construction process.

The cleanup, abatement, or decontamination of any asbestos-containing materials disturbed during the self-help project, whether inadvertent or intentional, will also be the responsibility of the requesting department. Similarly, any liability attached to the improper disposal of asbestos-containing materials, chemicals, or waste materials shall be the responsibility of the requesting department.

If a self-help project requires contracted services for construction, proper university procedures relating to bidding, contracting, insurance, etc., as written in OP 61.25, Financial Administration of Construction Projects, must be followed. If these procedures are not observed, payment to contracted vendors may be delayed and the department will be held responsible for any unauthorized payments.

Facility utilization changes require Facilities Allocation Council (FAC) approval. The request should be submitted to the department's respective vice president, provost, or dean for presentation to the FAC.

3.  Standards for Workmanship and Materials

a.    Self-help projects must meet all minimum requirements of national, state, and university regulations, laws, codes, and standards.

b.    Work involving electrical or plumbing must be accomplished by a licensed electrician or plumber. The Managing Director for Operations Division Engineering Services must approve all designs for electrical work.

c.    Projects that modify mechanical systems (heating and air conditioning) or require work in tunnels are not authorized for self-help accomplishment.

d.    Building cabling will meet requirements of OP 61.12, Installation of Cabling in Buildings and Tunnels.

4.  Obtaining Self-Help Approval

a.    The requesting department will submit a Customer Project Request (CR) at http://www.depts.ttu.edu/operations/iServiceDesk-Intermediary.php and/or can contact 806.742.4OPS (4677). Attachment A provides instructions for submitting a project request. BMC Work Control will receive the CR and assign a job control number. Information provided on the CR must include:

(1)    A detailed description of the project, including that the project will be a self-help project;

(2)    Any drawings applicable to the project;

(3)    The name of the project coordinator; and

(4)    Designation that this CR will be considered for self-help.

b.    When a self-help project involves a facility renovation, modification, construction, or utility installation (except for cabling), the request will be directed by BMC to Operations Division Engineering Services for review. The Engineering Services staff is familiar with applicable codes and standards and this department will assist the requesting department with available options to ensure accomplishment of a quality and professional job. The project will be forwarded to BMC with any notes or comments on how the project should be accomplished.

The Department of Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) will also be notified of the proposed project. A copy of the scope for the proposed project, along with all plans, specifications, comments, and a copy of the Customer Project Request form prepared in support of the work, will be submitted to EH&S for review. Following the EH&S review, comments will be provided to BMC for inclusion in the BMC file. A copy of the report will be provided to the designated departmental project coordinator.

c.    BMC, at this time, will provide an estimate to the requesting department regarding project accomplishment by BMC, which will include required labor hours, acceptable required materials, and any drawings or prints. This estimate will also include a projection of the possible lead time required for BMC to complete the project.

d.    This estimate and specific instructions relative to the project will be communicated to the requesting department via a form letter (Attachment B).

e.    After reviewing the BMC estimate, the requesting department, at this time, may determine if it has the means and ability to perform the work as a self-help project. If so, the department will be required to perform the project in the manner in which it was designed and estimated by Engineering Services and/or the BMC estimator. The department will also be required to use the materials that were listed on the BMC project estimate or those materials that are agreed upon by both the requester and the BMC project representative. The requesting department shall be responsible for ensuring that the actual materials utilized are non-asbestos. In the event the materials utilized are found to be asbestos containing, the requesting department will be responsible for the costs associated with the abatement of the materials as asbestos-containing building materials. Texas Department of State Health Services prohibits the installation of asbestos-containing materials within public buildings. The Customer Project Request (CR) Approval/Disapproval memo (Attachment B) will be completed to reflect the desire of the requesting department to proceed with the project as a self-help project.

Under no circumstances will non-trained personnel from the requesting department and/or personnel from a contractor working under a contract to a requesting department disturb asbestos-containing materials, intentionally or inadvertently. In addition, other environmental or safety issues addressed in the EH&S comments in existing university operating policies and in the various local, state, and federal governments will be addressed and completed in compliance with the established requirements. A copy of the EH&S comments must be provided to the university supervisor or contractor with direct oversight responsibilities for the self-help project.

f.    Upon receipt of the Customer Project Request (CR) Approval/Disapproval memo (Attachment B), the paperwork necessary to accomplish the project will be completed by BMC personnel. If the department elects to complete the project as a self-help project, a letter of specific instructions will be issued to the department (Attachment C).

g.    University personnel and/or personnel working for a contractor under contract to the requesting department who are performing the activities described in the scope of work for the self-help project shall be provided with a two-hour asbestos awareness training prior to the initiation of the work and will have access to an asbestos-competent person. In the event that the facility where the self-help project will occur is asbestos-free, this requirement can be waived with the approval of the Associate Vice President for Operations.

5.  Monitoring of Self-Help Work

a.    The Managing Director of BMC will assign a superintendent or representative to review and monitor the requested project.

b.    The assigned BMC superintendent or representative will make unannounced periodic job-site visits to ensure compliance with codes, specifications, and standards.

c.    The project coordinator is responsible for ensuring that the assigned BMC project representative is informed of the project's status and to have critical steps checked before beginning the next phase. This information is especially important with construction involving electrical or plumbing. Such installations will be inspected before covering with sheetrock, paneling, millwork, or other finish materials. Any work activities requiring the disruption of the life safety systems located within a facility must be coordinated with the assigned BMC project representative who will coordinate with the appropriate personnel in EH&S. The requesting department is responsible for ensuring that personnel involved in the project have received the two-hour asbestos awareness training and have reviewed the asbestos survey prepared for the project.

d.    Upon completion of the project, the BMC project representative will be notified to inspect the work and give final approval.

e.    After the project is approved, the BMC project representative will present the project coordinator with the signed Self-Help Project Final Approval form (Attachment D) and notify the BMC project administrator to close out the CR and file.

f.    Upon closing out the CR and file, a letter notifying the customer of satisfactory completion and approval of the self-help project will be issued (Attachment D).

6.  Unsatisfactory or Unapproved Work

 Self-help projects accomplished without approval and/or that fail to meet university standards or building codes will be brought to the attention of the appropriate vice president. Action will be taken according to the Associate Vice President for Operations' instructions. Removal of unsatisfactory work would be at the department's expense.

7.  Fees

a.    Self-help projects will be assessed a 4 percent management fee. This fee covers the time and labor spent by BMC and Engineering Services staff overseeing the project.

b.    In the event the project must be repaired/replaced by the Operations Division, an additional 6 percent design/estimating fee will be assessed and billable to the responsible party.

The management and design/estimating fees are above the actual cost to repair/replace the self-help project.


Attachment A: Customer Project Request iSerivce Desk instructions

Attachment B: Customer Project Request (CR) Approval/Disapproval memo

Attachment C: Approval Granted to Proceed with Self-help Project memo

Attachment D: Self-help Project Final Approval

Operating Policies & Procedures