Reclaiming Buildings - Renovation Factors

Nov. 15, 2001
Strategies for Change
Occupancy Density per Floor

Limiting Factors:
Floor loading/structural limits: The building must be able to bear the weight of any structural changes, as well as the occupancy load.
Floor-to-floor heights: Interior ceiling heights of 9.5 feet are optimum for lighting, acoustics, and thermal control. Floor-to-floor heights, minus the required ceiling plenum, determine interior ceiling heights.
Column density: Column grids determine the flexibility of the space. For interior planning, columns are obstructions that can create unusable, wasted space.
Egress limits: Current codes for safety, such as adequate exits in the event of a fire, must be met.
Elevator capacitance: In buildings of more than three stories, elevators must be able to accommodate people and equipment without lengthy delays.

HVAC Infrastructure Indices

HVAC: Zones should be small enough, with ample thermostats and diffuser density, to provide thermal comfort and air quality. Assess typical cooling load costs or BTU costs per square feet. Assess distance from core to window wall to evaluate lengths of runs.
Diffuser density: Smaller zones for heating and cooling diffusers increase thermal comfort.
Ventilation capacitance: Standards for air exchange rates must be met.

Network Infrastructure Indices

Electrical power capacitance: Adequate service for current use, from HVAC and elevators to lighting and computers, must be available. Evaluate current and future needs to determine the watts and outlets required per square foot.
Network support: Telecommunications systems require significant vertical and horizontal channels for cabling; the structure and space must accommodate the anticipated volume and change rate. Will the plenum be required for cabling? If so, is there adequate space for anticipated volumes? For growth? For change?
Density of data, power, and voice outlets: Access to services must be available to accommodate increasing and changing needs. Evaluate current and future needs to determine the telecommunications outlets required per square foot.
UPS support: What degree of protection will be required?
Data cabling: What is the required speed of data transfer per workstation? What phone system will be specified? How will cabling support these requirements?

Lighting Infrastructure Indices

Light fixture density: The type and density of fixture should match the functions in the workplace.
Lighting quality: Individual task lighting should maintain consistent footcandles on worksurfaces without glare, according to Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) standards.
Lighting zone size: Smaller zones, with more controllers, enhance the quality of light for the maximum number of workers. Assess typical lighting load cost or wattage costs per square feet.
Daylight: Evaluate the percentage of rentable square feet within 20 feet of a window.
Control: Assess the degree of user control over light levels via off/on switches and dimmers. Consider occupancy sensors for energy savings.

Facility Management Indices

Costs: Assess the amount spent per year as percentage of current plant value.
Ratio: Evaluate the number of full-time exempt (FTE) workers to square feet.
Change: Assess anticipated churn rate of FTE workers.

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