Key Milestones in Completing an Approved Public Infrastructure Project

Most public infrastructure construction projects are multi-year undertakings. There are a number of stages involved in building new public infrastructure or modernizing or maintaining existing infrastructure. These milestones highlight key stages for completing construction of a government approved infrastructure project.


During the planning stage, government works with stakeholders who will occupy or use the infrastructure to decide what needs to be built and where or what modernization or maintenance work should be undertaken on existing infrastructure. Input from other interested groups, such as the local community, may also be collected.

For public buildings, the size of the facility and number of people it will accommodate is determined based on the planned use for the facility and the programs or services expected to be provided. A preliminary estimate of costs is also prepared. Often, the planning process will look at the possibility of accommodating occupant needs in an existing building to see if renovations would be a better approach than new construction.


The design process involves government and/or the stakeholder hiring a design team of architects and/or engineers to determine how the infrastructure can be built to best meet occupant or user needs.

The design team develops drawings and models to show what the infrastructure will look like, and for public facilities how interior spaces will be arranged, then present their preliminary design ideas to government and other interested groups for input.

The design team works with local municipalities to ensure designs comply with municipality zoning regulations. For new facilities this may include size and type of facility, the use of land or facility, or number of parking stalls required.

Once the preliminary design is approved, the design team produces detailed construction drawings and other documents, called specifications. Specifications describe the materials, such as concrete, and the systems, such as heating and air conditioning in the case of facilities, that will be used in the construction of the infrastructure. The design team develops these detailed construction documents (drawings and specifications) to comply with the codes or guidelines, such as the Alberta Building Code.


When the construction drawings and specifications are completed, the government and/or the stakeholder issue them for tender. During tender, building contractors review the construction documents and prepare their bid price to complete the construction work.

The qualified building contractor who submits the lowest acceptable bid is awarded the contract to construct the infrastructure. The tender phase is completed upon the signing of the construction contract.

Construction Contract Awarded

Much work occurs between the time a contract is awarded and active construction begins on site. For example, the contractor may use this time to meet with government and/or stakeholders and design teams; complete any necessary design work; secure labour, equipment, materials, permitting and licensing; and finalize the construction schedule.


The construction phase starts when a contractor is on site and begins work. During construction, the general contractor is responsible for implementing the project based on the detailed construction documents. The general contractor organizes and supervises their workers as well as hires and supervises all the sub-trades working on the infrastructure.

The sub-trades are companies who specialize in a particular aspect of a project such as mechanical, electrical, or landscaping.


For new and replacement schools and additions, estimated completion date is defined as the estimated occupancy date. That is, when school boards anticipate opening the school for students.

For modernizations, students may remain in the school during all or part of the construction work. In this case, the estimated completion date reflects the date for when construction work is expected to be completed.