Photo of Federal Center South, located near Seattle.

PBS Announces New, Performance-based Facilities Standards


PBS’s inventory is impressive in part because of the rigorous standards we impose for new construction and for major repair and alteration (R&A) projects. They are set out in the PBS Office of Design and Construction’s (ODC) “Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service”—affectionately known as the “P100” (named for the original document tracking number).

Federal Center South, located near Seattle, features sustainably technologies like a rainwater collection system and energy efficient HVAC system.

Federal Center South, located near Seattle, features sustainable technologies like a rainwater collection system and energy efficient HVAC system.

I am pleased to announce that ODC has issued a new version of P100—one that focuses on outcomes, or performance. P100 has traditionally prescribed the means to achieve a specified outcome. In the new, performance-based P100, PBS defines the required end and leaves it to our professional partners to determine the best way to achieve it. For example, the old P100 required that the HVAC system in all federal buildings use variable air volume (VAV) technology. The new P100 specifies the target performance for an HVAC system—as measured in terms of temperature, humidity, energy efficiency, ventilation and other variables—and leaves it to the designer to decide which technology best achieves that outcome.

The new P100 is more flexible in other ways as well. Whereas the old version specified just the minimum acceptable standard, the new P100 specifies four acceptable performance levels, or tiers: a mandatory minimum tier (termed the “baseline”) and three tiers that correspond to increasingly higher levels of performance. This multi-tiered approach provides clear, standardized high-performance benchmarks across our portfolio, and allows a project manager to optimize desired results given a project’s own unique circumstances. A project manager can “combine tiers” on an individual project. For example, for a building in a sunny but mild climate, the designer might choose a baseline (minimum) standard for insulation but opt for tier 3 f or windows so as to limit solar heat gain.

PBS’s project managers are now incorporating our new performance-based P100 into all new construction and major R&A projects.

The P100 is available, in electronic format only, at and at the Whole Building Design Guide website at For more information, contact Martin Weiland at, or 202-219-0634.

Last Reviewed: 2018-03-12