Selecting the Type of Construction Documents

Volume 4, Chapter 3



- Construction Document Differences Table 

The University uses many types of Construction Documents. Before selecting the type of construction documents, the Facility must determine, at minimum, the following:

  • Mode of contracting (see 1.1).
  • Type of construction contract (see 1.2).
  • Estimated contract sum (see 3.1).
  • Method of contractor selection (see 3.2).
  • Method of determining the contract sum (see 3.1).

The Long Form, Brief Form, Informal Form, and Mini Form have been developed assuming the conditions listed below:

  • The single contract type is used.
  • The construction team consists of, at most, the Owner, the contractor, the Owner's Representative, and the design professional (see 1.4).
  • The stipulated-sum method of determining the contract sum is used.
  • The complete plans and specifications contracting mode is used.

The Long Form, Brief Form, Informal Form and Mini Form have been approved for content by the Office of the President. If project conditions vary from those listed above, the construction documents must be modified (see 5).

In general, the use of a more comprehensive type of construction documents is encouraged whenever it is in the University's best interest to do so. For example, when the construction cost is less than 1 million dollars (thus qualifying for the Brief Form), but the work involves particularly complex time requirements, dangerous work, or special risks, it may be in the University's best interest to use the Long Form, where performance requirements are set forth in a more detailed manner.

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The estimated contract sum is one of several important factors that determine the selection of the type of construction documents to be used.

3.1.1 General Dollar Limitations

The general dollar limitations (based on the estimated contract sum) for using each type of construction documents are as follows:

When the estimated contract sum is less than $50,000, negotiated contracting may be used. When the estimated contract sum is not more than $640,000 informal competitive bidding may be used in conjunction with the Informal Form. When the estimated contract sum is over $640,000 formal competitive bidding is required. If a project has an estimated cost in excess of $640,000 and is divided into smaller sub-projects for contracting purposes, each sub-project must be formally competitively bid.

In summary, the Mini Form may be used for projects with estimated contract sums up to $300,000. The Informal Form may be used for projects with estimated contract sums up to $640,000. The Brief Form may be used for projects with estimated contract sums up to $1 million dollars. The Long Form, or other approved documents, must be used for projects with estimated contract sums of $1 million or more.  The Brief Design Build may be used for projects with estimated contract sums of up to $5,000,000.

3.1.2 Federally Funded Projects

On projects funded in whole or in part by the federal government, the rules of the funding agency must be reviewed for competitive bidding and public advertising requirements. Federal agencies require competitive bidding with public advertising only on projects with estimated construction costs exceeding $10,000. If the funding agency requires an affirmative action program as a condition for funding, then an affirmative action program that is in compliance with the funding agency's requirement must be included in the bidding documents and the contract documents.

Construction projects at the National Laboratories must comply with the management contracts between the Department of Energy and the University of California. Policies and procedures governing competitive bidding and other construction requirements at the National Laboratories are found in the Laboratory Procurement Policy and Standard Practices Manual. This is published and maintained by the Laboratory Administration Office within the Office of the President. (See Business and Finance Bulletin BUS 43 Part 2, Responsibility and Authority, paragraph I.A.7).

3.1.3 Lowest Informal Bid Exceeds $640,000

If the estimated contract cost is $640,000 or less, informal bidding a may be used to solicit bids. However, if the lowest responsible bid (see FM5:7.1) received from an informal bidding solicitation is more than $640,000, the bid must not be accepted. The project must then be formally competitively bid, including but not limited to advertising, payment and performance bonds and a bid security requirement.

3.1.4 Equipment Purchase and Installation


Regents Policy 5401: “Policy on Procurement of Foreign-made Equipment, Materials, or Supplies Produced by Forced, Convict, or Indentured Labor

BUS-43 "Materiel Management”

The purchase of material or equipment and its installation shall be handled as separate transactions when possible. If separate transactions are not possible after consideration of time, cost, and supplier requirements; the installation involves the erection, construction, alteration, repair, or improvement of any University structure; and the state of California requires a contractor to have an active, valid license in order to perform the work; then the procurement shall be processed according to procedures set forth in the University Facilities Manual with appropriate provisions included to govern the material or equipment being purchased.

The language of BUS-43, Exhibit C, Appendix A, “Terms and Conditions of Purchase”, Article 9 must be set forth in its entirety in every University contract, purchase order and subagreement for the purchase of equipment, materials or supplies.

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Certain rules apply to contractor selection: (See FM5)

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Revised March 21, 2017

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