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Cornell University

When is a PAR required...


A PAR is required for facility projects as follows:

  • Any work, study, assessment or design that creates a capital asset greater that the PAR threshold of $100,000 including:
    • Renovations and rehabilitations, new space creation, sidewalks, roads and other transportation infrastructure, grounds improvements, etc.

    • Feasibility, space, master planning, concept or other studies and assessments that are either greater than the PAR threshold or that are between $10K and $100K in which a project is planned (as qualified in the Study Approval Process below).

    • Programs that meet the threshold or have a substantial impact on facilities operations (e.g. energy conservation, fume hood reduction, etc.)

  • What does not need a PAR:
    • Projects under the threshold

    • Real estate acquisitions and leases

    • Service / Maintenance Contracts

What Costs are included in a PAR:

  • Aggregated costs include: Fixed equipment (any equipment that is affixed to and integral to a structure), design services, project management services, contingency, etc.
    • When initially determining if costs will meet the threshold, aggregated costs do not include:
      • Moveable equipment, furniture, unit (customer) labor (fee-for-service labor provided by shops, PM services are to be included).
    • If the PAR threshold is met by aggregated costs and a PAR is required, then the costs of movable equipment, furniture and unit labor should be included in the PAR budget.
  • All fund sources that contribute to the project should be included in sources, and in the Estimated Total Cost and Requested Amount.
    • Funds from third parties directed to service providers in support of the project need to be included in PAR costs, whether paid to Cornell or paid directly to the service provider (i.e., grant funding, NYSERDA funding, etc., whether directed to Cornell or to another party, is included in full project costs).

When to Start a PAR:

  • A PIR (Project Initiation Request) should already be submitted to eBuilder and a project set up
  • As soon as it is understood that total project costs will exceed the threshold
    • Construction PAR’s should be based on actual bid numbers, not bid estimates

Study Approval Process

  • All studies under $10K do not need a PAR

  • All Studies over $100K need a PAR
  • Studies between $10K and $99,999:
    • Project is Planned:
      • Study will inform work that is intended to occur and will likely exceed PAR threshold when it does occur – PAR is required
    • Project is Uncertain:
      • Study will inform longer-range plans/priorities/true feasibility – Need for PAR will be evaluated as follows:
        • The Unit/College submits a PIR with a project type of “Planning/Study” and it is reviewed at the end of the PAC meeting, or the Unit Facility Director presents the need/business case at the end of the PAC meeting and then submits PIR reflecting direction from that discussion. 
        • Considerations may include:
          • Is this a maintenance study?
          • Is this an academic program/space change study? 
          • What is the study intended to inform?
          • Urgency and Priority
          • Will the study result in a capital project?  If so, is it already an understood need or is it emergent?

PAR Guidance and Resources:

Guidance for Space Needs Studies over the PAR Threshold:

  • Space planning & UA consult with units during annual development of the capital plan to recommend cases where a space study could inform capital projects/plans

  • Unit meets with Space Use Advisory Committee (SUAC) to review the study before the PAR is fully approved
  • Space needs studies will have cross-functional working groups
  • Unit meets with SUAC at end of study for report, recommendations, implications and discussion of next step.

Capital Asset Requirement

  • If the requirement to complete a PAR was waived and work is advanced, any future PAR needs to include when the relevant study occurred, the cost, how it was funded and the account number.  The total project cost in the future PAR is the cost of the PAR-related work (not including the cost of the study).


See full guidance, Guidelines for Space Needs Studies, at:

SUAC Home page:

Cornell Policy 4.2 Transaction Authority (Appendix D)