This resource is intended to help with the most commonly asked questions. If you are looking to find out how to start a construction project, what services we provide, or other frequently asked questions you will find the answers below. However, if the question you are looking to ask is not here, please contact us through our RESD general inquiries contact. 

Frequently Asked Questions

A: Your first point of contact should be your DGS Building Manager who will discuss the project feasibility with you. If you decide to proceed, your next step is to enter your request via the Global CRUISE System for your project. 

Please attach any supporting information regarding the scope of the project, schedule requirements, sketches, funding sources, etc. to this request. Send the CRUISE request through your department’s management to obtain the appropriate approvals. Once approved, send the form to the DGS Asset Management Branch (AMB) representative for your building. For further contact information and phone numbers, go to our Contacts Page.

If the project is appropriate for the Architecture and Engineering Section, a CRUISE request response will be sent to the requesting person.

A: For State-Owned buildings, Architecture and Engineering (A&E) house a team of architects and architectural designers. Once a Global Customer Requests: Upgraded Information Sharing Environment (CRUISE) has been submitted, the request will be routed appropriately depending on the scope of work requested and a team will be developed to manage your project from beginning to end. For a full list of services provided by the A&E Sections, please go to the Architecture & Engineering Services Page.

A: Once Architecture & Engineering (A&E) receives a CRUISE request, an architect or architectural designer will be assigned to the project as design team lead. This individual may also act as the project manager to track the project from beginning to end. The project manager may design the project, assign it within the branch utilizing in-house architectural, engineering, project management staff or contract with a private sector firm. The project manager will keep you or your department informed of the progress of the project and give opportunities at key milestones to approve plans and specifications. A&E will make you an integral part of the planning team.

A: Architecture and Engineering (A&E) staff are funded 100% by projects from state agencies and services rendered will be billed. The billing rate is by the hour as published in the most recent Department of General Services (DGS) Price Book.

The preliminary plans, working drawings/specifications, estimating, bidding, inspections and construction of building alteration projects are normally paid by setting up an Architecture Revolving Fund (ARF) account.

The Service Revolving Fund (SRF) is used for project programming, modular systems furnishings and architecture/engineering services. With the information provided by the CRUISE, a monthly bill will be charged to your SRF billing code. However, only ARF funds can be used to pay for services by Direct Construction Unit (DCU) or external contracts for consultants and contractors.

State operations (support funds) may be used as explained previously from Section 6.00 of the Budget Act. Repair projects, not connected with construction or an improvement project, such as paint, re-roofing, electrical rewiring and plumbing repairs can also be paid with “special repair” funds. Regardless of the amount these “special repairs” are budgeted in your department’s state operations appropriation.

Local assistance funding can be obtained as a grant to a local agency for the operation, maintenance, acquisition or development of facilities or land, provided the local entity retains ownership after completion of the project.

Once a defined scope of the project is established, A&E will initiate the Form 22 for the ARF and send it to the requesting department. It is your department’s responsibility to have it approved by the Department of Finance (DOF). The Form 22 transfers the funds to a DGS account. The funds can be used for only the purposes stated on the Form 22, but can be transferred with permission by the DOF. Any unused funds will be reverted to the original agency budget chapter item if within three fiscal years or to the general fund if more than three years have passed. 

Unlike a private sector lease, the cost of tenant improvements cannot be amortized into the rental rate of state-owned buildings.

A: Per Section 6806 of the State Administrative Manual (SAM), the State appropriates funds in three classifications: capital outlay, state operations (support funds) and local assistance. The general rule is that the acquisition/creation/renovation of real assets is classified as capital outlay if the State holds ownership. Operation and maintenance of state real assets is classified as state operations. State-funded but locally-owned infrastructure is classified as local assistance.

Minor capital outlay per Budget Letter 18-03 is any project under $709,000 (except an acquisition project) which is scheduled in the Budget Act specifically under the heading “minor”. Minor projects include planning, working drawings, construction, improvements and equipment projects not specifically set forth in the budget schedule. The appropriation availability is for one year, followed by a two year liquidation period.

Major capital outlay per Budget Letter 18-03 is any project $709,000 and over, all acquisition projects or any project not specifically scheduled as a “minor”. The appropriation availability is for three years. The decision on how to propose scheduling the project rests with the Department of Finance (DOF). Major capital outlay projects have a defined process to follow, refer to the SAM for additional information.

Section 6.00 of the Budget Act authorizes the use of support funds for some minor alteration projects (i.e., those costing less than $709,000), subject to DOF approval and legislative notification for projects costing more than $314,000. Requests must be submitted for review to the Finance Capital Outlay Unit. DOF approval is required prior to the encumbrance of funds.

When DOF approval is required, the request must be submitted at least 60 days in advance of the proposed project implementation (30 days for DOF to review the request and notify the Legislature; 30 days for the Legislature’s review) and no later than April 30 of each year. Copies of the request are submitted to both the DOF support analyst and the Finance Capital Outlay Unit, along with any related Form 22 for transfer of funds to DGS’ Architecture Revolving Fund (ARF).

A: The total cost of your project will depend on several factors including the scope, work location, schedule, hazardous materials (i.e. asbestos and lead), structural, mechanical and electrical infrastructure and the method of obtaining construction services.  The project manager will endeavor to assist you in adjusting the scope to keep the costs in line during the planning process.  You will receive a written estimate for the project at the completion of working drawings and specifications for your department’s approval before proceeding to bid and/ or construction. This estimate is a statement of probable project construction costs and not a guarantee.
A: Prison Industries (PIA) is the primary provider of modular furnishings for the State.  Private sector vendors may be accessed only with a waiver from PIA, which is the responsibility of the requesting department. Small quantity purchases of components may be allowed to mix and inter-member with existing inventory.

A: The following are the choices for constructing your project.  Each choice has advantages and disadvantages depending on the scope and schedule of the project.  Please discuss each option with your project manager as the construction services option workload, cost and schedules will fluctuate widely.

The DGS Facility Management Division (formerly known as Building & Property Management Branch) may be available for small-scale projects, depending on staff availability and the location.

The DGS Direct Construction Unit (DCU) is an option for projects of modest scale dependent on project scope and existing workload. (Currently not accepting work.)

Public Bidding of construction is an option available for projects of all sizes.

Some project components such as carpeting and specialty items may be obtained through the California Multiple Award Schedule (CMAS.)

A: If there is imminent danger to the public, state workers or state property, Architecture & Engineering will consider the project a high priority. Certain bidding requirements may be waived to expedite the project. In order to do so, a memorandum will be required from the customer outlining the nature of the emergency with supporting documentation and information.

A: The length of time it takes to have the project ready for occupancy depends on many factors including: each unit’s workload, other priority projects, timely response from your department’s approving management, funding approval, the method of construction bidding and the complexity of the project. Each project is analyzed to provide the customer with the best balance of schedule, cost and scope of the project.

Many times our customers perceive a project as “just moving a few walls”. However, many factors come into play that may not be obvious such as: abating hazardous materials, reviewing structural, mechanical, fire alarm/ sprinkler and electrical infrastructure, ADA access compliance for the Path of Travel to your requested area of work from the property line, lighting, fire & life safety codes/ egress. All must be closely considered to make a project successful.

The Public Works Section of the Public Contract Code governs the methods of obtaining materials and construction services and is a lengthy, complex process regardless of project scope.

A: The design and construction of a project is a very complex coordination act. The State Administrative Manual (SAM) and the State Contracting Manual (SCM) restrict and regulate the method of accessing design services and public works contracts.  Only the following agencies have authority to execute projects without DGS review or oversight. These agencies are: Board of State Harbor Commissioners, Department of Boating and Waterways, Department of Transportation, Community Colleges, Department of Water Resources (DWR), Regents of the University of CA and Trustees of the CA State University and Colleges. In addition, the selection of architects and engineers is specifically regulated by the GC 4525, better known as the A&E method.
A: In state-owned buildings, AMB, PMDB and State Property Inventory (SPI) have the responsibility of keeping track of all tenants.  SPI will calculate the amount of square footage your department occupies in a building and adjust it for each project as required using space assignments.  DGS will invoice the rent each quarter in advance through the Controller’s Office.

A: Architecture & Engineering can provide services in state-owned buildings, whether managed by DGS or another agency. If you have any questions, please contact Tom Wells, Principal Architect, Section 1 at (916) 375-4215 or Chandra Wells, Principal Architect, Section 2 at (916) 365-4270.


RESD Headquarters Office

Department of General Services
Real Estate Services Division

707 Third Street, 4th Floor
West Sacramento, California 95605

Main Line: (916) 375-4700


Submit your request for real estate services through Global CRUISE (Customer Requests: Upgraded Information Sharing Environment).