How to Plan a Building?
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.
Table 3-1 System Placement in Planning Grid
||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
|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
|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
|Ceiling Systems||Align, or offset by 300 mm (1 foot) or 50 percent in both
|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.|
Pendant Mounted Lights
|HVAC Diffusers & Return
|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.
|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)|
All elevators must be designed to comply with ASME A17.1 and with the UFAS/ADA Accessibility Guidelines.