SFU Records Retention Schedule and Disposal Authority (RRSDA)
Project Files

Description | PIB | Authorities | Retentional rational | Rentention and filing guidelines | Status

RRSDA number


Record series

Project Files

Office of Primary Responsibility (OPR)

Facilities Services

Retention periods

Records Active retention (in office) Semi-active (records centre) Total retention Final disposition
Completed, canceled or deferred projects that include contracts and/or agreements CY contracts / agreements expire + 2 years 4 years CY contracts / agreements + 6 years Destruction
Cancelled or deferred projects that do not include contracts and/or agreements CY project closed + 2 years 4 years CY project closed + 6 years Destruction
Projects involving asbestos-containing materials CY project closed + 6 years 4 years CY project closed + 10 years Destruction

CY = Current calendar year; CFY = Current fiscal year; CS = Current semester; S/O = Superseded or obsolete; OPR = Office of Primary Responsibility; Non-OPR = All other departments.

Description, purpose and use of records

Records documenting the planning, design, and execution of new construction projects, renovations, expansions, alterations, refits, and relocations, relating to University infrastructure and real property, as well as special event set-ups.

Records include, but are not limited to, correspondence, meeting minutes, project initiating forms, bids, tenders, contracts and agreements (including specifications and working drawings), work orders, budgets, cost estimates and schedules, copies of invoices, copies of insurance policies, bonds, site instructions, technical notes (e.g., worksheets, design calculations), design information, change orders, deficiencies, notice of project completion forms, and documentation relating to move in, window coverings, furniture, voice and data, audio visual, and security. Records also include electronic entries in a project management database, which track labour and financial details for each project.

This RRSDA does not cover the following project-related records, which are filed separately from the documentation described above (see departmental file classification plan). These records will be scheduled under separate RRSDAs at a later date:

Substantive facilities reports (e.g., geotechnical, seismic, etc.), facilities condition assessments, warranties and guarantees, building permits, specifications, code equivalencies, progress photographs, operations and maintenance manuals, transmittal records, final drawings (e.g., paper and/or electronic consultant drawings, record/as-built drawings, and utility drawings), land surveys, maps, and key plans.


These records are created, used, retained and managed in accordance with the following authorities:

Retention rationale

The total recommended retention periods for project files are based on reference to statutory records retention obligations. See the BC Limitation Act, Section 3(5) and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, Section 6.32.

Retention and filing guidelines

This schedule applies to major projects, minor projects, energy saving projects, Facilities Management (FM) capital projects, FM operations projects, and the related electronic records retained in a project management database.


Most project files created by Facilities Services include contracts and/or agreements. A contract or agreement is key in setting retention periods for project files because these instruments create obligations between SFU and another party that are enforceable by law. The challenge in applying the retention periods outlined in this RRSDA is to correctly identify the contract or agreement with the lengthiest active life span and then to run the total retention period from the date of the expiration of that contract or agreement. Often contracts and agreements include ancillary or related documents such as warranties that may have a lengthier life span than the parent contract. For example, construction warranties often run for "useable lifetime of a building" which is typically defined as 20 to 25 years. In this case, the retention periods outlined in this RRSDA would run from the expiration of the warranty as the instrument that defines the lengthiest legal obligation. Therefore, "contracts and/or agreements" should be interpreted broadly to include all ancillary or related documents that enshrine legal obligations.


While some project-related records are born-digital (e.g., email correspondence) and are maintained on a shared network, it is recommended that, wherever possible, they be printed to file. Once printed to paper, electronic records become transitory and can be deleted immediately. Alternatively, the electronic records can be maintained for ease of reference, but should be classified and organized in the same manner as the corresponding paper records and deleted upon the expiration of the total retention period recommended in this schedule.

The exception to the above are electronic entries maintained in a project management database, which serves as an index to the project files and as a quick reference to the labour and the financial details of each project. The database entries are also used to generate statistical reports on an ad hoc basis, and as a source when developing preliminary estimates for new projects of a similar nature. As a result, these electronic entries should be retained for the duration of the total retention periods recommended in this schedule and deleted at their expiration.


At the end of the active retention period, box and transfer the project files to the University Records Centre (URC). For each box prepare a box contents listing, itemizing all files contained in the box. Always include ONE copy of the file list inside the box sent to the URC taped to the underside of the lid; keep ONE copy for your own records; and send ONE copy (paper or electronic) to the Archives (see Procedures for Transferring Records to the University Records Centre).


RRSDA is in force.

Approved by the University Archivist: 23 Dec 2010

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