US Army Corps of Engineers, US Dept. of the Army—Standard Elements for 4-Star Headquarters Buildings




approximately 875,000 sq.ft.

The Challenge:

To develop space and furniture standards for the redevelopment of the four new US Army headquarters buildings by determining required levels of serviceability, developing the ideal building geometry to enhance effective use of space and obtaining exceptions to criteria.

The Solution:

Meredith Thatcher was responsible for researching and developing the standard space modules of the performance profile used to construct four new 4-star headquarters buildings for 5,400 occupants. She researched and developed proposed/changed standards, facilitated Army personnel review engagement meetings and incorporated the results into the final documentation

Meredith worked with the occupant organizations (customers of the US Army Corps of Engineers) in the following ways:

  • Conducted a preliminary site tour, required mapping and introductory briefings
  • Conducted individual interviews of a sample of each category of office manager, supervisor and worker. Interviews were conducted in each person’s office or workstation, and involved measurement, mapping and photographing of each person’s office or workstation and its furnishings. Each interviewee completed an extensive individual questionnaire about that person’s work, working method, and the functionality of the workstation and furnishings. Each interviewee reviewed the completed questionnaire during the interview and had opportunities to ask questions
  • Captured and analyzed the resulting data
  • Contributed to out-briefings at the completion of each site visit
  • Presented at the first and second joint forum upon completion of site visits to confirm the validity of data collected, manage the expectations and impact of changing standards, and gather further input from multiple facility executives
  • Prepared content for the draft and final report of findings and recommendations

The main deliverables included:

  • Creating a set of standards for a category of facilities in which each occupant organization has a different mission, mix of staff, population count, set of customers, and ways of working
  • Ascertaining and resolving the reasons why previous attempts to build such facilities, and the facilities currently occupied by these 4-Star Headquarters, are known to be unsatisfactory, poorly planned and incorrectly sized
  • Assisting the USACE to better predict and manage costs of construction and furnishings
  • Developing standard space modules for Generals, private offices for supervisors, all standard open office space modules, video conference and meeting rooms, and budget estimates for furnishings
  • Incorporating new technology, security and video teleconferencing to the desk top requirements into the standards and generic planning
  • Determining the exceptions to the criteria set by other components of USACE and other authorities in the Department of the Army
  • Supporting the development of Building Loss Features and rules to minimize them
  • Accomplishing all of the above in a fraction of the time typically taken for such standardization work

The following results were achieved:

  • Successfully created standard modules for open workstations (one size!) and an enclosed office—functional requirements, 2D plan, 3D visual, mandatory and optional elements, budget estimate and implementation strategies
  • Researched and ensured that at least three furniture manufacturers could meet each requirement within the range of procurement limitations. Developed guidelines for furniture acquisition
  • Identified, documented and wrote the exceptions to the criteria for senior management sign-off
  • Successfully created standard modules for conference rooms including incorporating technology, security and extensive video teleconferencing infrastructure requirements
  • Created set of rules and geometry limits for floorplate design to maximum the use of area for client use and reduce inefficient planning—all to remain with 162 exterior gross square feet per person
  • Supported the creation of Building Loss Features and Rules identifying the actual and effective loss of space based on architectural design features, which has since become an ASTM standard

Created the communication instrument to broadcast the new standards