Contract Philosophy

GVSU Facilities Planning Goals

Consistent with that of the University as a whole, the mission of GVSU Facilities Planning is to provide a quality environment that supports teaching, learning and community service at Grand Valley State University. In carrying out its mission, the department is dedicated to the following goals:

  • To support high quality undergraduate and graduate education by developing exceptional facilities in which university faculty and students can effectively concentrate on teaching, learning, scholarship and service
  • To enhance the image, atmosphere and environment of the university community by combining aesthetic form with practical function
  • To foster mutual trust and positive relationships between the university and its contracted project associates, striving together for consistent project success under reasonable and fair contracts and documents
  • To prudently and effectively manage university entrusted  financial resources by creating innovative and efficient structures within the budgets and timelines allotted

GVSU Contract Philosophy

For decades, various construction industry interest groups have provided "standard form" contracts. Those documents are usually and understandably biased in favor of the groups which produce them. In order to provide a more balanced alternative, GVSU has undertaken a program to prepare a suite of interrelated and integrated contracts, consistent with the following premises:

  • The University, as the source of all project funds, has the right to choose the most appropriate contract language to best serve the interests of all parties.
  • Project contract documents should have certain common provisions applicable to the entities providing the core requirements of design and construction, and should be as easily understandable and as clerically easy to use as possible.
  • Contract language should clearly specify the nature, type and scope of services, and the performance obligations expected, of project professionals and contractors.
  • Risk and responsibility should be allocated to the party best able to control the risk and to act responsibly in a particular situation.
  • Parties contracting with GVSU are entitled to fair compensation and profit commensurate with their contractual obligations.

GVSU Contract Organization

GVSU's construction contract documents are divided into two major categories:


Within each series, documents are pided into suites comprised of various chapters, and each chapter is further subpided into articles organized by specific subjects.  

  • Chapter 1 contains project-specific, fill-in-the-blank details and defines the WhoWhere, When, Why and, in general, the What of a given project. This chapter is expected to change in detail for each project.
  • Chapter 2 states specifically What is required of the party contracting with GVSU. This chapter cannot be modified, but additions or deletions required by a specific project may, if necessary, be made in an appendix at the end of the chapter.
  • Chapter 3 states How each contracting party, including GVSU, is expected to perform, and what will happen if a party does not do so. Chapter 3 is very similar for both series of contracts. This chapter cannot be modified, so that GVSU and those with whom it contracts will always know what is required with respect to the subjects covered, irrespective of the type of project or entity involved.

GVSU Contract Experience

GVSU has a long history of successful relationships with a large number of contractors and professional service firms, and has won numerous awards for the fine work they have performed. For the most part, GVSU’s experience has been positive; however, prior to utilization of its own CONTRACTS FOR PROFESSIONAL SERVICES and CONTRACTS FOR CONSTRUCTION, the University occasionally encountered problems. For example:

Non-Compliance with ADA Standards

  • Public counters higher and protrude into corridor further than permitted
  • Entry doors without minimum required clearances
  • Non-Compliance with GVSU Standards
    Incorrect hardware, mounting, piping valves and shut-off valves
    Non-standard paint manufacturer(s)
  • Non-Compliance with Applicable Codes
    Improper fire exiting - exceeding 20 foot maximum dead-end corridors
    Improper fire-rated protection on building structural elements
    Inadequate fire sprinkling coverage for glass elevator enclosures and bulkheads
    Omission of required fire dampers
  • Inadequate Investigation of Existing Building/ Site Conditions
    Overlooked electrical panels, fire protection devices and existing site utilities
    Mismatched new building finish floor elevation to finish site grade elevations
    Lack of coordination between new storm sewer and existing electrical duct bank
  • Fundamental Design Errors
    Omission of overflow condensate switches to fan coil units
    Omission of gas piping in laundry rooms and generator
    Omission of motor starters for recirculation pumps
    Omission of waste container locations required by building operations
    Omission of changes noted by the University during the document review process

While these errors and omissions were eventually corrected, they should never have occurred, and resolution was more difficult due to the various contract documents being used. GVSU believes similar problems can be reduced if not eliminated, and prompt and fair resolution facilitated, by consistent use of its standard contracts for Professional and Construction Services.

Note: GVSU contract documents were drafted under the advice of the office of Plunkett Cooney Attorneys & Counselors at Law - Bridgewater Place - 333 Bridge Street NW, Suite 530 - Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Page last modified March 30, 2017