6.1 General Approach
Electrical and communications systems in GSA buildings provide the infrastructure for an efficient work environment for the occupants. These systems must support the many types of equipment used in a modern office setting in a reliable fashion.
There are three characteristics that distinguish GSA buildings: long life span, changing occupancy needs, and the use of a life cycle cost approach to account for total project cost.
GSA owns and operates its buildings much longer than the private sector. Consequently, a higher level of durability is required for all systems, as is the ability to replace equipment during the life of the building.
During the life span of a typical federal building, many minor and major alterations are necessary as the missions of government agencies change. The flexibility to adjust to alterations easily must be designed into the building systems from the outset. Electrical and communications systems should provide ample capacity for increased load concentrations in the future and allow modifications to be made in one area without causing major disruptions in other areas of the facility.
It is GSA’s goal to build facilities equipped with the latest advances in office technology and communication. This intent should be extended to include the future evolution of automated office and telecommunications equipment as well. Making this concept a reality requires a comprehensive design for engineering systems that goes beyond the requirements of the immediate building program. It also requires a higher level of integration between architecture and engineering systems than one would usually expect in an office building.
The trend toward intelligent buildings is gaining momentum in the federal sector. The government recognizes that communications needs and technology are growing at an increasingly rapid pace. Work stations are becoming more powerful, requiring faster and easier access to more information. GSA must install the wiring and interfaces to support these requirements. It should be noted that the design of all communications systems is the responsibility of GSA’s Federal Technology Service (FTS).
A computer-based building automation system (BAS) that monitors and automatically controls lighting, heating, ventilating and air conditioning is critical to the efficient operation of the modern federal office building. GSA encourages integration of building automation systems generally. Exceptions are the fire alarm and security systems, which shall function as stand-alone systems with a monitoring only interface to the BAS.
Architects and engineers should always make environmentally responsible choices regarding new building materials and the disposal of discarded products. Recycled material use needs to be maximized to the fullest extent practical within the project requirements. Architects and engineers should consider integrating renewable energy technologies such as photovoltaics and other solar applications, geothermal heat and wind into building systems.
Security is an important consideration in electrical engineering systems design. Refer to Chapter 8: Security Design for detailed criteria related to this matter.
Consult Chapter 4.1: Installation Standards of the Fine Arts Program Desk Guide for additional information.
Submission Requirements. Every project will have unique characteristics and requirements for submission and review. These shall be developed by the GSA project manager. The general submission requirements for each phase of project development are described in Appendix A.
Atrium, Sandra Day O’Connor
U.S. Courthouse, Phoenix, AZ