Defining Owner’s Project Requirements

There are generally three reasons to consider a construction project for your organization:

  • Modifications to existing space to accommodate shifting business requirements, improve energy efficiency and reduce operating costs
  • Expansion of existing buildings to accommodate growth or program changes
  • New construction to support growth plans and address market needs.

No matter the reason for the project, you should start by formulating an organized summary of your busi­ness goals and how this construction project will help you achieve them. This process will clarify the requirements of your particular program and force you to set priorities before involving the design team. This process will result in a focused design process that achieves your goals with a scope and a schedule that meet your budget.

Consider these factors when developing your project requirements:

  • Project budget
  • Preferred schedule – identify any special phasing requirements
  • Ongoing cost of ownership – maintenance staffing, utilities and spare parts
  • Program requirements – project location, size and fit-out of various spaces, environmental requirements (number of occupants, planned activities, temperature, humidity, ventilation needs, lighting demands, etc.), general requirements for fit and finish, annual operating schedules, and applicable codes
  • Sustainability goals

The LEED program, administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), requires documented Owner’s Project Requirements along with designers’ Basis of Design in order to set the project goals. When a com­missioning agent performs design and submittal review, the primary question will be, ‘does the design sup­port the owner’s project requirements’?

Every construction project has owner’s requirements; however, the most successful project teams clearly define these requirements at the onset of the project, allowing the design and construction teams to meet these expectations—on time; on budget.

For more information on how to develop your owners project re­quirements, please contact Ed Ritter at or (717) 845-7654.

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