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AEC Design Guidelines

Design Guidelines

Introduction to the U of M Design Guidelines

This web site contains Design Guidelines for the design and construction of facilities at the University of Michigan. The Design Guidelines that are in effect at the time that schematic design begins for a given project shall be used by all design professionals (architects, engineers, interior designers) in the preparation of construction documents for the project. The purpose of the Design Guidelines is to assure maximum quality and value in construction projects at the University of Michigan, through uniformity, system or component quality, compatibility, sustainability, functionality, and ease of maintenance. These Design Guidelines are intended to provide general direction to design professionals as a general rule for most circumstances. With the wide variety of facilities, varying life expectancies and program requirements, these Guidelines have to be specifically and correctly applied to each project by the design professional. These Design Guidelines do not replace professional design analyses, nor are they Contract Specifications. We expect the design professional to conduct independent evaluations for each project. Applications of proven technologies and systems to provide cost effective alternate design concepts are encouraged. Deviation from the design guidelines and standard details is discouraged.  However, the University recognizes that there will be times when deviations from these Design Guidelines may be appropriate on some projects, and in those instances, the design professional is expected to proactively and in writing, approach the University design manager for written approval to deviate from the Guidelines.

Throughout these documents reference is made to the A/Es contact with the University as the Design Manager.  This title is defined as the Owner's Representative during the design and construction document phases.

Suggestions for improving these Design Guidelines should be addressed to in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction Department. Revisions will be issued on a periodic, as-needed basis.

These Design Guidelines are only for use by consultants in connection with work performed for the University of Michigan. They are to be used as a guide in the preparation of design documents for University of Michigan construction projects. They are not intended to relieve the designers from their responsibility to comply with applicable codes and other contract obligations.

Design Guidelines

  Sustainability for Design and Construction provides criteria for sustainable design and LEED requirements.
  The AEC Sustainability Master Plan is a comprehensive document which communicates the methodology Architecture Engineering and Construction is employing to improve building design and construction sustainability at the University of Michigan.
  Special Instructions to Designers contains instructions on a wide variety of general, cross-discipline topics, including codes to be followed, and building commissioning.
  Codes and Regulatory Agencies is an annotated list of all applicable building codes and standards for the University of Michigan.
  Special Building Areas contains design criteria and design approach specific to certain building or room types.
  Technical Sections (CSI Divisions 1-15, 26-28) contains system specific design criteria and design approach. Sections are divided by CSI specification section number.
  Preferred List of Manufacturers contains specific manufacturers that are acceptable for use on U of M projects This section is also divided by CSI number.
  Office Space Guidelines enable General Fund administrative and academic units to decide more effectively how to assign and use office space when planning renovations and new construction or responding to pressing space needs. The guidelines provide space-per-person recommendations by position type, which are based on recent construction projects at the University and guidelines used by other universities and in the private sector.
  UM Hospitals and Health Centers Facilities Planning and Development web page contains design guidelines that are specific to University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers projects.
  Design Deliverables contains a matrix describing information required from contracted designers at each phase in the design process.

Standard Details express typical University requirements, and thus should be used in place of the equivalent A/E detail.  Professional judgment is required to make Standard Details  project specific.


Effective Date -  Compiled Design Guidelines by Month and Year.

Last modified: Wednesday April 09 2014

For technical inquires, comments and suggestions on the U of M Design Guidelines, please e-mail the U of M Design Guidelines Group at

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