Capital Project Phases

Capital Project Phases

A successful capital project is many years in the making.  It typically take more years of planning and research than it takes to design and construct the actual building!  However, careful planning will prevent critical missteps and is an essential ingredient in the successful project; the more time an agency puts in to the strategic planning phase, the fewer problems it will have down the road.  Learn about the eight (overlapping) phases of capital projects:

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning generally starts with assessing project feasibility in several ways.  Construction management, fundraising and or finance consultants may be retained to guide the process. Four areas are typically reviewed before an agency gives a project the green light:

  • Site procurement and construction costs
  • Capital campaign feasibility
  • Financing feasibility
  • Operational feasibility

Capital Campaign Quiet Phase

The quiet phase of the capital campaign allows the non-profit to solicit donors identified during the feasibility phase – without risking a PR problem, should the donations not materialize.  During this phase:

  • Early campaign goals are set
  • Possible lead donors are identified
  • Lead pledges are secured and documented
  • Campaign is 55% – 70% complete

Capital Campaign Live Phase

Once the campaign has solidified, it’s time to announce it to the public.  During this phase:

  •  Balance of campaign goals are set
  • Solicitation list is further developed to achieve a 3 or 4-to-one ratio
  • Donors are cultivated
  • Balances of pledges are secured

Pre-Design / Programming

Once the capital campaign is underway, the programming phase begins.  The owner’s rep will typically lead the agency through this phase. Typically, this phase involves:

  • Defining new building space and amenity requirements
  • Developing the guiding document for the architect
  • Developing initial project budget
  • Also, finalizing financing requirements and options and completed in this phase


Once programming is roughed-in, the design phase begins:

  • A request for qualifications/proposals is issued for the architect
  • Proposals are reviewed, architect is retained
  • Programming concepts are reviewed
  • LEED certification is considered
  • The schematic design and design development phases commence
  • Program and design elements are refined
  • Project costs and schedule are estimated at several points
  • Design is value-engineered if project is deemed over-budget
  • Construction documents are produced
  • Request for qualifications / proposal is issued for general contractor
  • General contractor is selected and retained


A pre-construction phase is advantageous for many projects and allows the architect and general contractor to collaborate on the scope, and review constructability and cost issues

  • The general contractor reviews the design
  • The general contractor works with architect to clarify scope
  • Costs are confirmed
  • Schedule is confirmed


The construction phase is what you’ve been waiting for! Nothing is more exciting than watching your building rise – before your eyes!

  • Permits are obtained
  • Bidding commences
  • Subcontractors are hired
  • The notice-to-proceed for construction is given
  • Construction begins
  • Furniture, fixtures and equipment are ordered and delivered

Client Move-In / Project Close-Out

  • Construction is completed
  • The ribbon is cut…
  • The agency moves in
  • Building system commissioning is completed
  • The Owner’s rep makes final payments to contractors and consultants


Get those numbers in line! Retain Lotte during your strategic planning phase and reduce your project risk.