FMdesign is an in-house architectural and engineering design resource at the University of Minnesota. We serve as a consultant to internal University departments and stakeholders. Our primary focus is supporting project requests through UConstruction and helping internal partners with design efforts or questions. Our unit includes licensed design professionals including architects, a mechanical engineer, a structural engineer, and on-contract electrical engineers.

Services we provide:

  • Professional designs services (planning, schematic design, full design services)
  • Building code analysis
  • ADA accessibility compliance investigations
  • Facility infrastructure reviews / Feasibility studies
  • Building forensics services

Frequently Asked Questions

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I want to start a project and/or have a question about a potential design challenge or project, who do I contact?

Contact the FM Call Center

Can I hire just FMdesign to consult on potential Architectural, Structural or Mechanical work?

Yes. A Work Task can be created so that the Design Team can work with the client to identify needs and corresponding solutions. Use the FM Call Center at 612-624-2900 to set up the Work Task with the FMdesign team.

Will using FMdesign services add additional work scope to my project?

Not beyond what is required by code. All Architects and Engineers are required to follow the local Building Code. The University of Minnesota follows MN state building code, and depending on the project, additional scope may be required in order to meet current code (e.g. ADA upgrades). Additionally, as owners representatives, FMdesign has access to internal stakeholders and historic information on buildings. As a result, we work hand-in-hand with you to achieve your project goals while staying true to the University's long-term mission and asset management priorities.

How do I know how much my project will cost?

The project cost is dependent on the project scope. You will receive two different project cost estimates during the course of a project:

- A Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM)

You will receive this towards the beginning of your project, after the Scope Meeting. It is a very large price range, used to ballpark project cost and help you determine fiscal feasibility.

- A Construction Estimate 

You will receive this at the end of the Design phase. It is a detailed price for you to determine whether or not to proceed with actual project construction.


How long will my project take to complete?

It depends on the size and the scope of the project. On average, the design process takes about 9 weeks from design funding to Construction Drawing delivery. Estimation and Construction vary widely, but are typical in the range of 2-6 months.

Why are there so many people invited to my Scope Meeting?

As University stewards, FMdesign works in collaboration with a wide range of internal stakeholders. Depending on the project, there may be several stakeholders that we invite to offer their expertise. This collaboration enables Design to make well-informed decisions in the interest of the long term health of your department and the University. Some examples of stakeholders include: District, Energy Management, Office of Information and Technology, Department of Environmental Health and Safety, Space Planning and Real Estate, and beyond. 

What is the Difference between UConstruction and Capital Project Management (CPM)?

Both facilitate construction & professional design services work at the University. Simply put, CPM manages larger projects with more complexity; UConstruction handles smaller projects with internal design professionals and contractors. We both reference almost all of the same standards and guidelines. CPM has ultimate authority for architecture and engineering (A&E) and construction standards and contracts.

How do you determine if a project goes to CPM or UConstruction?

In general, CPM handles larger projects (approximate cost of $1 million or more). When in doubt, put in a Project Request and your District Representative will help you figure out which unit is best suited for your scope of work.

What is the difference between a Work Task and a Project Request?

Work Tasks are generally for standard maintenance tasks and are used to track expenditures and labor hours. Project Requests are for nonrecurring capital expenditures such as new construction (i.e. buildings and additions), modifications to existing facilities (i.e. lab retrofits and remodels), and/or atypical maintenance work the requires coordination of multiple trades.

What is a UL listing and does my equipment need to be UL Listed?

A UL listing is one of several approved testing laboratory designations that the state of MN requires for the safety of electrical equipment. UMN equipment must be listed by UL or one of the other approved testing laboratories. If you are pulling an electrical permit, and your equipment is not listed by the appropriate testing laboratory, the electrical inspector may prevent you from using your equipment. See the "Resources" section above for further equipment purchasing direction.