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UAV 298.8000

Harvard University. Construction Management Records : an inventory

Harvard University Archives


Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: UAV 298.8000
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Harvard University
Title: Construction Management Records, ca. 1953-1986.
Date(s): 1953-1986.
Quantity: 1 collection (167.5 cubic feet in 167 record cartons and 1 document box)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: Harvard University was one of the first large organizations to establish its own internal construction management group, beginning in the 1960s, which centralized all administrative responsibilities involved in the building process. These responsibilities included awarding bids, overseeing daily activities of the contractors and architects, acting as a liaison to offices, organizations, and individual members of the Harvard community and any communities affected by the construction project, and closing out the project upon completion. These records document all capital University building and renovation projects within Harvard University from ca. 1953-1986. Almost 20% of the records document the building of the Medical Area Total Energy Plant (MATEP).

Acquisition Information:

  • Accession number 10222 Harvard University. Construction Management Department 1984 September 18
  • Accession number 14146 Harvard University. Construction Management Department 2000 April 27
  • Custodial Information:

    Building project files were removed from the Construction Management Department ca. 1986 and stored at the Harvard Depository, except for ca. 100 photographs which came to the Harvard University Archives in 1984. In 2000, all the project files came to the Harvard University Archives in one accession. Future accruals of construction management records are expected from the Harvard Planning and Real Estate Project Management Unit.
    In 1999 Harvard University transferred vital records associated with the operation of MATEP to the total energy plant's new owner, Advanced Energy Systems Inc., a subsidiary of Commonwealth Energy System.

    Processing Information:

    Processed under the direction of Andrea Goldstein by Richard Currier, Michael Smith, Charles McCoy, Sam Mallery, Keith Anderson, and Rachel D'Agostino, December 1999-March 2000.
    Over 700 cubic feet of construction management records were appraised and weeded by Harvard University Archives staff. After destroying duplicate or non-permanent records in accordance with the Harvard University General Records Schedule, the total number of boxes was reduced to 168. Staff refoldered only where necessary, took notes, created project or folder lists as needed, and created this finding aid. Document-by-document appraisal and weeding was required because most records were in no discernible order within the boxes and some records were not in folders. Harvard University Archives did not attempt to impose a physical arrangement on the records.

    Conditions on Use and Access:

    Access to unpublished archival records is restricted for 50 years from the date of creation of the record(s). Access to personnel records is restricted for 80 years. See reference staff for details. No restrictions on access apply to published records.

    Allied Material in the Harvard University Archives

    See also publications by and about the design and construction of Harvard University buildings that are cataloged in Harvard's on-line integrated library system.

    History of Construction Management at Harvard University

    Oversight of the planning, design, and construction of Harvard University facilities has been the responsibility of a variety of committees, departments, and offices which have gone through numerous mergers, consolidations, and reorganizations. The project files that make up the bulk of the construction management records reflect all of these changes and shifting responsibilities.
    Harvard University was one of the first large organizations to establish its own internal construction management group. The construction management concept sought to centralize all the administrative responsibilities involved in the building process in the hands of one manager or one office, enabling the owner of the project to keep control over the increasing complexity and high costs of construction.
    Harvard's construction managers took on the role that in the past had been filled by general contractors. They oversaw each segment of construction, which was contracted separately. This enabled Harvard to move away from a sequential to an overlapping phased building program, saving enormous amounts of time on building projects and providing greater flexibility to construction managers throughout the building process. A chronology has been provided to help researchers identify significant dates and events in the history of project planning and construction at Harvard.States de-regulates energy industry; Harvard sells MATEP.

    Chronology of Project Planning and Construction Management at Harvard University

    Series and Subseries in the Collection


    The records are organized into two series. Only the MATEP records are sub-arranged.

    Scope and Content of the Collection

    These records document all major capital construction and renovation projects at Harvard University from ca. 1953-1986. The records consist of materials created and received by the Dept. of Buildings and Grounds, the Harvard Planning Office, Harvard Planning Group, and the Construction Management Department in the course of the daily administration and oversight of construction projects. Records include information on the construction management process, community and labor relations, expansion of Harvard into Cambridge and Boston, Harvard's physical plant, and the relationship between academics and architectural design at a university. The MATEP Construction Records series comprises almost 20% of the records and includes information on the economic pressures and decision-making process that led Harvard to produce its own energy.


    This document last updated 2004 November 16.


    Construction Management Records are stored off-site. Researchers are advised to contact Reference Staff for more information concerning retrieval of material.

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