Skip to main content

3.1 Basic Building Planning Principles

Integrated Design. Landscape and Architectural designs must be integrated with all project design disciplines in order to optimize building performance and aesthetics. Prior to initiating any schematic design, the Architect must perform a series of coordination meetings with all project design disciplines/consultants to explore performance and functional objectives that could impact building orientation, massing, space adjacencies, material selections, and assemblies. A project’s functional and performance needs are integral to achieving the Principles of Federal Architecture, noted in Chapter 1.

Performance Measures and Functional Objectives. The A/E shall ensure the design supports quality based performance measures for customer satisfaction, energy consumption, and reduced operations and maintenance. The A/E shall also identify all functional expectations and establish alternative features that support attainment. To the maximum extent possible, the A/E shall apply those architectural elements that optimize building performance and functional capabilities. Performance and functional issues raised in the project’s design program and/or as addressed in Appendix A.2 shall be specifically addressed in concept presentations.

Environmental Sensitivity. The natural setting of the site, its contours and vegetation shall be viewed as assets to be preserved and woven into the design as much as possible. In settings including historic buildings, adjoining historic properties, or located near historic properties that will be affected by GSA construction, external design review, including public participation, is required under the Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and may also be required under the National Environmental Policy Act. Compliance reviews should be coordinated, through the Regional Historic Preservation Officer, early and as frequently as the project complexity warrants, so that comments can be effectively addressed during the course of design.

Urban Context. Facility design and orientation should be consistent with existing and planned development patterns and nearby uses. The building’s exterior should be consistent with existing local design guidelines. Where appropriate, the project team should help to develop design guidelines for the project and neighboring undeveloped sites.

Basic Configurations and Core Placement. Planning for cores must consider the depth of the occupiable space established by the core and exterior walls. The optimum depth of the occupiable space (the space between core and window wall) in an office building is approximately 12,000 mm (40 feet) for providing access to daylight.

Placement of Core Elements and Distances. In buildings with large floor plates, not all core elements need to be placed at each core location. How often each element needs to be repeated is governed by occupant needs and the following maximum radii and distances:

  • Passenger Elevators should be grouped in banks of at least two for efficiency. Elevator groups of four or more should be separated into two banks opposite each other for maximum efficiency in passenger loading and minimum hall call notification for accessibility under requirements of UFAS/ADA. Travel distances from a given office or workstation to an elevator should not exceed 61 000 mm (200 feet).
  • See Chapter 7: Fire Protection Engineering for additional egress requirements.

Back to Top

Table 3-1 System Placement in Planning Grid

Element
 
Relationship to Planning Grid Comments
Planning Grid 600 mm by 600 mm
(2-foot by 2-foot)
Uniform between buildings allows interchange of parts between GSA buildings.
Exterior Window Mullions align on grid Allows interior partitions to terminate on mullions and ceiling grids to align visually with the mullions.
Columns center on grid  
Partitions center on grid
can be aligned on face
of columns
Normally split columns between two separate offices.
Trench Ducts offset by up to 50 percent Allow access to trenches without walls being placed along trenches.
Raised Floor Grid offset pedestals by a minimum of 75 mm (3 inches) in both
directions
Facilitate future removal of floor panels and to avoid excessive cutting of panels in instances where partitions must extend to the structural slab.
Cellular Floor Insets Offset from grid in both directions, placed every 1800 mm (6 feet) in both directions Placed between grids so they are never covered by partitions.
Floor Outlets for power, telephone and data Offset from grid in both directions so centerline of the three may fall a minimum of 300 mm
(1 foot) off the planning grid line
Placed between grids so they are never covered by partitions.
Ceiling Systems Align, or offset by 300 mm (1 foot) or 50 percent in both
directions
If aligned with grid, ceiling will visually align with window mullions.
If offset by 50%, tops of walls will never fall on ceiling grids, allowing more choice in placement of ceiling elements such as lights.
Lay-In Lights In ceiling grid For 600 mm by 600 mm (2-foot by 2-foot) or 600 mm by 1200 mm (2-foot by 4-foot) fixtures.
Downlights and
Pendant Mounted Lights
In ceiling grid  
HVAC Diffusers & Return
Air Grilles
Staggered, located within the 600 mm by 600 mm (2-foot by
2-foot) ceiling framing
Experience has shown that a staggered diffuser layout in a uniform pattern adapts most easily to future changes in wall configurations
HVAC Slot Diffusers Placed on grid line  
  • The location of stairs within buildings should encourage their use, in lieu of elevators, to the fullest extent feasible. This will reinforce the recognition of sustainable energy conservation.
  • Electrical Closets must be stacked vertically and should be located so that they are no more than 45m (150 feet) from any occupied space. Shallow, secondary closets off permanent corridors may be used for receptacle panelboards where the distance between the riser and the farthest workstation exceeds 45 000 mm (150 feet) and a separate riser is not warranted. See section Space Planning, Building Support Spaces, Mechanical and Electrical Rooms of this chapter for minimum size requirements.
  • Communications Closets shall meet the requirements of EIA/TIA Standard 569: Commercial Building Standard For Telecommunications Pathways And Spaces (and related bulletins). Communications closets must be provided on each floor, with additional closet for each 930 m2 (10,000 square feet). Closets must be stacked vertically and must be placed so that wiring runs do not exceed 90 m (300 feet). Closets must tie into vertical telecommunications backbones. See section Space Planning, Building Support Spaces, Mechanical and Electrical Rooms of this chapter for minimum size requirements.

Back to Top

Building Circulation
Federal buildings must have clear circulation systems.

Utility system backbone pathways should be routed in circulation spines providing service access to utilities without disrupting other tenant agencies.

Planning Grid
Planning grids shall be used to integrate building interiors to allow more future serviceability, particularly for buildings that will experience extensive reconfiguration through their life span. A building design shall follow the prescribed planning grid dimension unless the designer can show long term efficiencies using another dimension. Following a standard dimension will allow GSA to maintain standard replacement parts to service the building.

Some structural bay sizes can adversely affect interior parking layout. The 6100 mm by 6100 mm (20-foot by 20-foot) bay is too narrow for a two-way driveway aisle. Some of the larger bays cannot be efficiently adapted to parking layouts. Transfer beams or inclined columns would have to be used to adjust the column spacing. If a major parking facility must be integrated with the office structure, the 9100 mm by 9100 mm (30-foot by 30-foot) bay is recommended.

Technology Infrastructure
A total integration of all building systems will provide for current operations as well as for future changes. A technology infrastructure should be planned in each building to accommodate power systems including normal, emergency and uninterrupted power, mechanical systems and controls, fire detection and suppression systems, security systems, video and television systems, communications systems, including voice and data, lighting controls, plumbing services, and special utility services, such as gas or exhaust systems. It is not intended to provide infinite amounts of space for these systems, but to recognize their dimensional characteristics and the ability to service system components. The infrastructure must provide adequate spare capacity and integrate the utility entrance facilities, equipment rooms, backbone pathways, horizontal distribution pathways and workstation outlets for each system. In part, floor-to-floor heights are determined by the depth of space required for the technology infrastructure, including structural, mechanical, electrical and communications systems.

Four key concepts must be followed in providing technology infrastructure in federal buildings.

  • Equipment rooms and closets should be located together on each floor.
  • All walls of equipment rooms and closets should be stacked vertically using the same plan configuration from floor to floor to accommodate vertical risers for backbone systems. When more than one closet is required on each floor, they shall be interconnected by a minimum of two 100 mm (8 inch) conduit passageways.
  • Accessible flexible horizontal pathways must be provided from the closets on each floor to the workstation outlets. These pathways may be through underfloor ducts, cellular floor systems, access floor systems, or overhead cable trays and wire ways. Horizontal pathways must provide at least three separate channels for separation of power and different communications systems.
  • Excess capacity must be provided in each system for future expansion of services.
  • The data/telecommunications closet must be adequately sized to accommodate multiple vendor equipment and for the ease of maintenance of the equipment.

EIA/TIA Standard 569: Commercial Building Standard For Telecommunications Pathways And Spaces (and related bulletins) provides specific criteria for infrastructure for communication systems. The criteria covers the communication service entrance pathway, entry point, entrance room, equipment room, vertical backbone pathway, communication closets, and horizontal pathways. Horizontal pathways covered by this standard include underfloor duct, access floor, conduit, cable trays and wire ways, ceiling pathways and perimeter pathways.

Horizontal Pathway Systems. Three options exist for delivering power and communications to general office areas: raised access floor, cellular floor duct, and under-floor duct encased in concrete deck. After decades of experience with moves and changes within federal office space, GSA now provides a general life cycle cost study to determine which of these three options should be used. See Chapter 6: Electrical Engineering, Placing Electrical Systems in Buildings, Horizontal Distribution of Power and Communications.

Access Floors. Access floors shall be incorporated into all new construction where office functions will take place. Permanent corridors can be exempted from this requirement.

The vertical zoning of the floor-to-floor space for horizontal utility distribution must be analyzed. In typical office areas, this can be standardized. In special purpose spaces such as courtrooms, meeting rooms, library stacks, or laboratory spaces, the infrastructure must be given detailed consideration before establishing the final floor-to-floor heights.

Floor Air Plenum distribution systems are preferred in office applications with raised floors, eliminating ceiling ductwork and facilitating personal climate control systems. If this technology is considered, then the interstitial floor height shall be adjusted to accommodate the HVAC system.

All underfloor and ceiling areas used for horizontal system distribution must be accessible without requiring repair to interior finishes. To the extent possible, avoid routing pathways over areas where it is difficult to bring in hoist or set up scaffolding, such as fixed seating areas and sloped or terraced floors for stairways.

Back to Top

Space Allocations and Classifications
This section describes the methodology and policies for tabulating space requirements for GSA facilities. It also describes application of GSA policies for providing and charging tenant agencies for space in GSA-owned or -controlled space.

The GSA provides space for federal agencies and charges the agencies a rental rate for the space they utilize. Therefore, GSA tabulates space for both planning purposes and for charging rent. These two purposes require slightly different application of the same space measurement information. For planning purposes, GSA converts agency space requirements, expressed as usable area, to gross building area through the application of building efficiency factors. For rental charges, GSA converts the agency space requirements, expressed as usable area, to rentable area through the application of ratios that are unique to each building. Agencies identify the amount of usable area they require within a building for the GSA and request this space on a Standard Form 81 (SF81).

GSA provides a tenant improvement allowance for finishes and features within its rental charge. The A/E must design within that allowance. The agency may fund any costs over the tenant improvement allowance directly through a Reimbursable Work Authorization (RWA).

The GSA uses formalized standards for establishing the area to be allocated to each tenant agency for the rent charge. GSA has adopted the Standard Method for Measuring Floor Area in Office Buildings ANSI/BOMA Z65.1, current edition, issued by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA). This standard is a national standard approved by the American National Standards Institute. The full standard is available from BOMA International.

Certain systems related to security monitoring and building control may be provided as part of the project by GSA, or, if specially requested, by the tenant agencies, with GSA providing the infrastructure support.

Space Measurement for Rental Purposes
A Summary. The following are terms and calculation formulas extracted from the ANSI/BOMA Z65.1. They are provided to assist the user in understanding GSA’s space accounting. Individuals responsible for performing space measures must utilize the entire Standard Method for Measuring Floor Area published by BOMA.

The ANSI/BOMA Z65.1 standard uses a two-step process to determine rentable area assessed a tenant. The first step allocates common shared space on each floor to the tenants of that floor. The second step allocates common spaces that support the entire building to all tenants within the building. This explains the use of different ratios for each floor.

Basic Rentable Area. Basic rentable area is the usable area occupied by a tenant plus their proportion of the floor common areas. It is calculated by:

Usable Area X Floor R/U Ratio = Basic Rentable Area

Building Common Area. Building common area is usable area allocated to provide services to building tenants but is not included inside a tenant space. Building common areas include lobbies, atrium floor space, concierge areas, security desks located in public areas, conference rooms, lounges or vending areas, food service facilities, health or fitness centers, daycare facilities, locker or shower facilities, mail rooms, fire control rooms, fully enclosed courtyards, and building core and service areas such as mechanical or equipment rooms. Excluded from building common areas are floor common areas, parking spaces and loading dock areas outside the building line.

Oakland Federal Building, Oakland, CA
Oakland Federal Building,
Oakland, CA

Back to Top

Building R/U Ratio. Building R/U ratio is the factor used to distribute building common areas to all tenants on a prorated basis. Note that this figure will be constant for the entire building, but could change over time if portions of the ground floor are converted from common areas to store areas.

Building Rentable Area. Building rentable area is the sum of the floor rentable areas. It is also equal to the gross measured area of the building minus vertical penetrations.

Floor Common Area. Floor common area includes toilets/washrooms, janitorial closets, electrical rooms, telephone rooms, mechanical rooms, elevator lobbies, and public corridors that are available primarily for the joint use on that floor. Note that this will vary floor to floor based on public corridor configurations. For single-tenant floors, corridor and lobby spaces may be included in the office or store usable area because they will be for the exclusive use of that floor’s only. On main ground floors, floor common areas would only include corridors created because of store area configuration and telephone, janitor closet and electrical closets added because of the addition of store area on the ground floor.

Floor R/U Ratio. Floor R/U ratio gives the basic rentable area. It is calculated by the following formula:

Floor Rentable Area/Floor Usable Area = Floor R/U Ratio

Note that this ratio will vary from floor to floor based on public corridor configurations.

Floor Rentable Area. Floor rentable area is the gross measured area minus the exterior wall and major vertical penetrations. Floor rentable area is calculated by:

(sum of Office and Store Usable Areas on
the floor) X Floor R/U Ratio = Floor Rentable Area

It is also equal to the sum of the basic rentable areas for that floor. Full floor tenants will be assessed the gross measured area of a floor minus building common spaces as their floor rentable area. Note that because it includes building common area, floor rentable area is not necessarily indicative of space demised for a single tenant’s use.

Floor Usable Area. Floor usable area is the sum of all office, store and building common usable areas. Floor usable area is the floor rentable area minus floor common areas which are available primarily for the joint use of tenants on that floor.

Gross Building Area or Constructed Area. Gross building area or constructed area is the total constructed area of a building. This is the area GSA budgets for construction purposes.

Gross Measured Area. Gross measured area is the total area within the building, minus the exterior wall.

Office Area. Office area is the usable area within the tenant space including internal partitions and half of the demising wall separating the space from other tenants. It is measured to the tenant side finished face of all building common areas.

R/U Ratio. R/U ratio is the factor used to convert usable area to rentable area. It is the product of the Floor R/U ratio and the Building R/U ratio. It is derived by the following formula:

Floor R/U Ratio X Building R/U Ratio = R/U Ratio

It accounts for the allocation of floor common areas and building common areas. Note that it will be different for each floor.

Rentable Area. This is the figure that will be assessed each tenant for their space charges. Rentable area includes the usable area, the prorated share of the floor common area, and the prorated share of the building common areas. It is calculated by the following formula:

Usable Area X R/U Ratio = Rentable Area

It may also be calculated by the following two-step formula: Step 1)

Usable Area X Floor R/U Ratio = Basic Rentable Area

then Step 2)

Basic Rentable Area X Building R/U Ratio = Rentable Area

Store Area. Store area is the usable area of a structure that is directly served by permanent public lobbies or has direct access from outside. BOMA describes these spaces as suitable for retail occupancies. The term store area was developed for main ground levels to allow the public lobby and other building common areas to be prorated to all tenant spaces in the building measured in m2. Most common space on main ground levels normally falls within building common areas rather than floor common areas, so rentable figures for store areas will not normally be significantly impacted by floor common areas.

Usable Area. Usable area is the actual area the agency occupies in a tenant suite measured in square meters. It is the office area, store area or building common area. It is calculated by measuring from the dominant portion of the exterior wall to the outside face of major vertical penetrations. It includes all structural elements, openings for vertical cables, and vertical penetrations built for the private use of the tenant.

Back to Top

Space Measurement for Planning Purposes
Tenant agencies communicate their space requirements to GSA on the Standard Form 81 (SF81). This form identifies the total area of each space classification required by the agency within an individual building.

Tabulation of space requirements for planning purposes involves four steps:

Step 1 – Tenant agencies must identify the individual room areas they require within a facility or tenant suite.

Step 2 – To calculate the total usable area within an agency’s suite, additional area must be added to the individual room areas to account for internal corridors, partitions, structural members, and planning inefficiencies. Traditionally, GSA has instructed the tenants to include 50 percent of an aisle space directly fronting the individual room area and the partitions enclosing the room area as part of the room area request. GSA then has added to this a factor of 20 percent to convert individual room areas to agency usable area. GSA must report the utilization of space by tenant agencies to the Office of Management and Budget. Target utilization ratios include 3.25 m2 (135 square feet) for primary office space with 20 percent additional space for office support areas. The agency may also calculate the usable area from the individual room areas by directly multiplying the area enclosed in the room by a factor. The following minimum planning factors are recommended. For spaces requiring wider aisles or more than one or two cross-aisles, or in buildings with irregular column grids, curved or stepped external walls or odd-shaped floor plans, higher planning factors are recommended.

Rooms size Factor
Less than 10 m2 (100 sf)
Less than 15 m2 (150 sf)
Less than 50 m2 (500 sf)
Less than 100 m2 (1000 sf)
 
1.4
1.3
1.2
1.1

Step 3 – Classify space according to the GSA space classification standards, and request space from GSA on the SF81. GSA must have a signed SF81 from the tenant agency to process a space request.

Step 4 – GSA divides the sum of the tenant usable space areas to be housed in the building by a building efficiency factor to convert the usable area tabulations to a gross building area. The gross building area is the size of building Congress will fund. Efficiency factors used by GSA for planning purposes include the following:

 

Step 4 Table
Facility Type Planning Factor
Warehouse
Libraries
Office
Courthouse
 
85%
77%
75%
67%

The space classification system is divided into general broad categories with subcategories for specialized spaces. The following are classifications currently used by GSA for planning purposes.

Space Classification

1. Office
 
Total Office
2. Other General Purpose ADP, auditorium, light industrial, structurally changed, lab, conference/training, food service, cafeteria, snack bar, health unit, fitness center, judges chambers, child care
3. General Storage general storage
4. Tenant floor cut TFC
5. Residence & Quarters quarters and residence
6. Outlease Retail  
7. Courtroom judicial hearing rooms, courtrooms
8. Non-Building Charges railroad crossing, antennas, boat dock, land

(square footages associated with this category, if they exist, fall outside the ANSI/BOMA total, and the “Assigned” total)

Conveying Systems
All elevators must be designed to comply with ASME A17.1 and with the UFAS/ADA Accessibility Guidelines.

All occupied areas of a GSA multi-story building or facility must be served by at least one passenger elevator. Areas of future expansion must be anticipated as well as future configuration of existing spaces, to ensure all areas are provided elevator service in the future.

The ASME A17.1 current edition applies to the design of all elevators, lifts and escalators. Additionally, UFAS/ADA Accessibility Guidelines must be complied with for accessibility.

The selection of type and quantity of conveying systems, such as elevators, escalators and wheelchair lifts, must be made in conjunction with a thorough vertical transportation traffic analysis of the facility.

Elevators. If no separate freight or service elevator is provided, one passenger elevator must be designated as a service elevator with pads to protect the interior wall surfaces of the cab. A minimum ceiling height of 2700 mm (9 feet) is required in service elevator cabs. Freight elevators shall have a ceiling height of not less than 3700 mm (12 feet).

In large or high-rise buildings, the number of freight elevators provided for GSA buildings should be determined by the elevator traffic analysis. The use of more than one freight elevator will provide better freight service for the tenants as well as provide redundancy for normal maintenance and during times when repair work is conducted.

Where equipment penthouses are provided, service elevators should provide access to that level.

There may be Security or specific purpose elevators to transport designated groups of people such as judges, cabinet members or prisoners.

Lockout should be provided for all floors served by passenger and freight elevators. Key locks, card readers or coded key pads, integral with the elevator control panel, must be provided to override lockout. A non-proprietary elevator control system should be used. The extent of control should be defined by the GSA Project Manager. See Chapter 8, Security Design.

Trap doors and hoist beams shall be provided at the elevator machine rooms for traction elevators where the machine room is not served by a freight or service elevator for removal of equipment for service and repair.

Elevator Traffic Analysis. The A/E must hire an independent consultant to perform objective studies on the number and type of elevators needed at the facility. The traffic analysis shall determine the quantity, capacity and speed requirements of elevators. The capacity and speed are the limiting factors used in determining the minimum number of cars that will meet both the average interval and handling capacity criteria.

Separate calculations must be made for passenger and for freight or service (combination of passenger and freight) traffic. If there are parking levels in the building, a separate analysis should be prepared for the shuttle elevators connecting parking levels with the lobby.

The type of building occupancy will determine the probable number of stops used in the traffic analysis calculations. A single-tenant building will require a greater probable number of stops than a multi-tenant building. This is especially true when balanced two-way traffic is considered because the incidence of inter-floor traffic is much greater in a single-tenant building.

The anticipated elevator population shall be calculated based on the occupiable floor area of the building and a factor of 14 m2 (150 ft2) per person. It shall be assumed that 8 to 10 percent of the resulting population would not require elevator service during the peak periods. If the building design requires two or more elevator banks, the population calculation results shall be apportioned by functional layout of the building. These divisions shall then be assigned to the appropriate elevator banks. For this purpose an “elevator bank” is defined as a group of adjacent or opposite elevators that function under a common operational system.

The criteria by which the traffic analysis calculations should be judged are “average interval” and “handling capacity.”

Average interval is defined as the calculated time between departures of elevators from the main lobby during the a.m. up-peak period. Calculated intervals during the uppeak period should not exceed 30 seconds for a typical elevator bank.

Handling capacity is defined as the number of persons the elevator system must move in any given 5-minute period of up-peak traffic used to measure average interval. GSA buildings shall always be designed for a 16 percent handling capacity, even if the building is designed as a multi-tenant facility.

Elevator Capacities. Capacities of 1590 kg to 1810 kg (3,500 to 4,000 pounds) shall be used for passenger elevators. Elevator cab sizes shall be in accordance with the standards established by the National Elevator Industries, Inc. (NEII). Elevator cabs shall be designed to reflect the architectural character of the building design.

Escalators. Escalators may be installed as supplements to elevators when vertical transportation is required for a large unpredictable volume of public traffic. GSA prefers to use escalators only where absolutely necessary because of high maintenance costs. They should be used where the first floor is not large enough to contain the high public traffic so that the interval for elevators can be calculated with accuracy.

Escalators should be located to be visible from the building entry and convenient to the areas they serve.

Back to Top

Table 3-2 Criteria for Design of Escalators
Nominal Escalator Width
 
Capacity in Persons Per Hour Capacity in Persons Per 5 Mins.
820 mm (32 in.) 3,000 250
1200 mm (48 in.) 4,000 400

Fire Protection
See Chapter 2: Site Planning and Landscape Design and Chapter 7: Fire Protection Engineering for additional requirements.

Seismic Design
Seismic design is discussed in detail in Chapter 4: Structural Engineering.

Design Issues Affecting Security
Specific criteria for site and building security are described in detail in Chapter 8. Some of the planning concepts are stated here because of their importance to building planning, but architects should familiarize themselves with Chapter 8 before developing schematic design concepts.

General Layout. Many future security problems can be prevented by planning a clear, simple circulation system that is easy for staff and visitors to understand. Avoid mazes of hallways and hidden corners. Exterior doors should be readily visible.

Planning for Future Security Provisions. All federal buildings shall be planned to allow for future controlled access, both to the entire building and to individual floors.

Site Design. Building entrances shall be designed to make it impossible for cars to drive up and into the lobby. Planters can be provided as barriers; bollards are also acceptable if well integrated with the design of the building entrance. Barriers to vehicle access should be visually punctuated and as unobtrusive as possible to pedestrians. Consideration should be given to incorporating security features that allow for flexible use of the site. If addressed skillfully, planters, trees, or sculpted bollards can be employed to provide amenities while meeting vehicle barrier requirements. High blank wall should be avoided; lower walls with sitting edges are preferable.

Building Entrances. GSA buildings should have one main entrance for staff, visitors and the public. In large buildings a second entrance may be designated for employees only. Buildings may have additional doors used for egress or access to service areas. These doors should not be used as entrances. Original primary entrances at historic buildings should be retained as such. Closure of ceremonial entrances and redirecting public access to below grade and other secondary entrances for security or accessibility purposes is discouraged.Wherever possible, access for the disabled to historic buildings should be provided at, or nearby original ceremonial entrances. See Chapter 8 for access controls and intrusion detection systems.

Building Lobby. The building lobby shall always be designed to permit subdivision into a secure and a nonsecure area. The two areas could potentially be divided by turnstiles, metal detectors or other devices used to control access to secure areas. There shall be space on the secure side for a control desk and an area where bags can be checked. Mechanical ductwork, piping and main electrical conduit runs should not extend from one area to the other. In building entrance lobbies, vending machines, automatic tellers, bulletin boards, and other tenant support services should be located in ancillary space outside of entrance lobbies or consolidated in a retail tenant service core. Equipment that must be installed in lobbies should be of a low profile variety and consolidated with other equipment to minimize bulk. See the section Space Planning, Public Spaces, Entrance Lobby and Atria of this chapter.

U.S. Courthouse, Boston, MA
U.S. Courthouse, Boston, MA

Lobby Security Equipment. The A/E shall incorporate nonprescription screening devices into the lobby entrance design. In historic building entrance lobbies, where feasible, security processing equipment should be located in an ancillary space. Equipment that must be installed in historic lobbies should be of a low profile variety, consolidated with other equipment to minimize bulk, and placed carefully to avoid altering the original spatial configuration of the lobby. See First Impressions Program.

Courts and Plazas. The most important consideration in designing exterior plazas and public spaces is the future potential use of those spaces. Potential uses should include shared and alternate uses.

The team should discuss with potential users how they would like to use the space, in order to incorporate appropriate amenities, relate outdoor areas to inside uses (e.g., like dining facilities), accommodate traffic to and from the building, and provide for regular programmed use of the spaces and special events, as appropriate. Consideration should be given to different areas of a public plaza which would be appropriate for different types and intensities of public activity. Potential users of the space would include not only the building tenants, but also persons in neighboring properties as well as organizations, such as performing arts or vending organizations, that might assist GSA in bringing activities into the space. The treatment of seating, shade, water, art, bollards, and the space’s flexibility are important to supporting appropriate uses.

Plazas should be designed with electrical outlets, and other simple infrastructure, to support future flexibility and a wide range of uses.

Retail Shops. Generally, retail shops should be located on the non-secure side of the lobby. Exceptions could exist where commercial establishments serve the building population only. Some buildings may have multiple levels of retail around an atrium. In that case, the security checkpoint should be located at the elevator lobby. Designers should coordinate opportunities for retail with the Retail Tenant Services Center of Expertise as well as the Center for Urban Development.

Elevators. See Building Planning, Conveying Systems section of this chapter and Chapter 8. Elevator control panels must have lockout provisions for all floors (passenger and freight).

Mechanical and Electrical Spaces. Access to mechanical and electrical spaces should be from the inside of the building, located on the secure side of the (potential) security point in the building lobby.

Back to Top


facilities standards,p100,pbs,buildings,architecture,engineering,design,construction,building,planning,principles