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WORKPLACE SPACE DESIGN STANDARD

DAO 217-22: SPACE ALLOWANCE AND MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
Number: DAO 217-22
Effective Date: 2016-04-16

SECTION 1.  PURPOSE.

This Directive establishes office workplace sizing processes for the design of office space.  It is the goal of this policy to cover all office space acquired to house the Department’s missions and to bring the workplace design practices in line with government-wide direction.  Its approach reduces planning cost and takes advantage of multiple General Services Administration (GSA) programs that enable the amortization of design, furniture and information technology (IT) procurement costs as well as consolidation construction costs. 

It is to be implemented in conjunction with of DAO 217-21, “Space Allowance and Management Program” to establish a specific office space program of requirements for any type of facility containing offices.  As defined in DAO 217-21, the 170 usable square foot (USF) area consists of office area and support space consisting of file rooms, kitchenettes, conference rooms, huddle rooms, LAN closets, circulation space, and copy and print centers.  This policy defines the area for closed offices and open workstations portion of the space within the overall allowance.  Together with DAO 217-21, it provides organizational units (OU) an overall goal and specific office workplace sizing algorithm, while enabling a great deal of flexibility in tailoring the design of the space to the specific organization. 

SECTION 2.  SCOPE.

.01       Executive Order 13327, dated February 4, 2004, states that it is the policy of the United States to promote the efficient and economical use of America’s real property assets and to assure management accountability for implementing Federal real property management reforms.  Executive branch departments shall recognize the importance of real property resources through increased management attention, the establishment of clear goals and objectives, improved policies and levels of accountability, and other appropriate action.

.02       Presidential Memorandum on “Disposing of Unneeded Federal Real Estate—Increasing Sales Proceeds, Cutting Operating Costs, and Improving Energy Efficiency,” dated June 10, 2010, required that agencies shall take immediate steps to make better use of remaining real property assets as measured by utilization and occupancy rates, annual operating cost, energy efficiency, and sustainability.  Further it required increasing occupancy and thereby utilization rates in current facilities through innovative approaches to space management.

.03       Office of Management and Budget Memorandum to the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, M-12-12, “Promoting Efficient Spending to Support Agency Operations” dated May 11, 2012, requires in Section 3, that the acquisition of new federal building space be offset through consolidations, co-locations, or disposals of property.  Agencies are also directed to make more efficient use of government real estate assets using actions referenced in the President’s June 10, 2010 Memorandum.

.04       Office of Management and Budget National Strategy for the Efficient Use of Real Property, March 25, 2015, states that agencies will identify opportunities to improve space utilization and reduce costs through the analytics applied.  Agencies are responsible for fully implementing government-wide policy and instituting a planning process to identify, budget for, and implement efficiency opportunities, particularly opportunities to dispose of leased office and warehouse space and unneeded assets.  Agencies can leverage their detailed knowledge of mission requirements to identify strategies for utilizing real property most efficiently.

.05       Office of Management and Budget Management Process Memorandum MPM-2015-01, March 2015, provided additional direction for the implementation of M-12-12, including a requirement to issue a policy that specifies a design standard for maximum useable square feet by workstation for use in the design of owned and leased domestic office space, including GSA occupancy agreements, that it occupies.

.06       This directive applies to all Operating Units throughout Department of Commerce to the extent it is incorporated into labor agreements. 

SECTION 3.  POLICY.
Effective and efficient use of office space is a goal of the Department.  The direction and guidance set forth in this policy establishes how the workspace standard is to be developed for each new construction, direct leases and GSA space assignments.

.01       This office workplace space standard requires the use of the six GSA “Typical Work Patterns” as part of the office design process.  It is intended to develop the most efficient and effective work space for individual organizational units in the space.  Utilization of the patterns is being done to facilitate the coordination of GSA sponsored Workplace Engagements that assist in the identification of these work patterns as well as involve staff and bargaining units representatives in the initial scoping decision process.  The amount of space dedicated to closed offices and employee workstations is related to the work patterns and how staff interacts with others.  Additional space to support collaborative, team, and Mobile Work features are included.  The process is required to be followed in new space requests and in renovations to existing space regardless whether it is owned, direct leased, or acquired through GSA.  An example application of the “Typical Work Patterns” is provided in Appendix 1.

.02      OUs may implement different standards based upon core mission requirements where core mission, job functions and equipment necessary to perform specific mission requires additional space. OUs are required to provide to the DOC Senior Real Property Officer with documentation that provides the basis for the additional space as required under the Real Property Management Manual and internal controls supporting the National Real Property Strategy.

03        OUs are not required to retrofit existing space to meet the standard specified by this standard.

.04       OUs are required to follow the requirements in DAO 217-21 paragraph 3.09 and apply its process and approach to:

a.         new construction of owned office space;

b.         renovations of owned office space;

c.         new direct leases; and

d.         replacement, succeeding or superseding leases, executed by the agency or by GSA 

.05       Exceptions will be granted by the DOC Senior Real Property Officer on a case-by-case basis where the OU can demonstrate through economic analyses that application of the standard is not cost effective or that the payback period is greater than five years.

SECTION 4.  DEFINITIONS.

.01       Administrative Space:  Consists of primarily open office design with collaboration space.

.02       Circulation:  The area needed to move around inside office and support space.  Workplace circulation within the office is part of the USF.

.03       Circulation Factor:  Is the area of circulation in a facility divided by the USF.

.04       Circulation Multiplier (CM):  Is the net square footage divided by the circulation area.  In the planning process and before a building is selected the CM should be selected based on the amount of circulation area that will be likely given a typical building design and efficiency.  For space planning the circulation multiplier will range from 1.39 to 1.62.  A CM on 1.39 should be used if there is only enclosed offices and support space.  A CM of 1.62 should be used if space is 100 percent open space.  An average CM is 1.5 and would have about 50 percent open space.

.05       Collaboration Space:  Small and medium sized open and closed meeting areas, which are part of space designed to further teaming efforts while controlling noise levels. This is open or closed meeting areas that is conductive to separation of concentrative (quiet) areas from interactive (noisy) through careful attention to managing noise sources through acoustic design, rules of behavior, and sound cancelling technology during implementation.

.06       Desk Sharing Ratio:  Application of a Desk Sharing Ratio or factor is needed when a significant percentage of an office’s staff utilizes scheduled telework.  The Desk Sharing Ratio for the space reflects the number of people that can share a desk based on how often an employee works outside of the office (telework or internally mobile).  For example if a 100 person office has
30 percent of its staff teleworking three days a week, then only 85 workstations would be needed daily.  Sharing accelerates improvement in utilization rates and needs to be considered for new space layouts and any existing space alterations.

.07       Hoteling:  An arrangement where employees use non-dedicated, non-permanent workspaces assigned for use by reservation on an as-needed basis.  Hoteling serves to optimize unused space in an office building by utilizing temporarily vacant cubicles or offices of people teleworking, on leave or travel, and conference rooms, for short periods of time or specific cubicles or areas designated as hotels for teleworkers.  To be fully effective, IT and telephone networks need to enable an employee to reserve a workstation in advance, and then when present, to simply log into their network, and forward calls from their assigned number to the desk phone, laptop, or a cell phone.  

.08       Mission Space:  Confidential communication (lock-up/SCIF) space related to core mission activities.  Includes Administrative Law Judge hearing rooms, law enforcement space needed to support mission locations and typically will require additional security and limited access.

.09       Mobile Work:  Work performed throughout the day while away from the desk, in transit, at another site, or working from home.  Mobile work may consist of work such as site audits, site inspections, investigations, and property management.  It is distinguished from telework in that the work being done by the employee is specific to a target site or location. Mobile work may be combined with telework.

.10       Net Square Feet (NSF): A subset of USF that does not include support space or circulation space within an office.  

.11       Onboard Staff:  The total number of full and part-time employees who are permanently assigned to a facility plus:  the number of resident contractors, the number of seasonal hires, interns, and other temporary staff if they predominantly work in the office and are employed for three months or longer.  Individuals who telework less than five days a week but are permanently assigned to the location are counted.

.12       Operating Unit Head:  The senior person in charge of the operating unit. 

.13       Privacy Personnel:  Those personnel involved in highly confidential task or classified materials, according to their job function and office needs.

.14       Real Property:  Building and structures permanently affixed to the land that are not equipment.

.15       Renovation:  The changing or altering of an existing space; including reconfiguration, or modification in the space layout via new construction of new furniture.  Major renovations include significant of complete reconfiguration or restacking of office space.

.16       Rentable Square Feet (RSF):  Is a combination of USF and building common space.  Typically 15-25 percent more space than USF.

.17       Resident Contractors:  Contract employees that are utilizing workstations within Federal space.  Excludes janitorial staff, construction workers, movers, security guards, and all other contractors who do not work from a desk and are not typically considered "office workers."

.18       Restack:  The re-design and fit-out of existing office space to allow for an increased number of occupants.

.19       Shared Desk:  A workstation allocated to more than one user in conjunction with telework so that only one user is present in the space on any day.

.20       Shared Office:  Two or more employees in a single closed office.

.21       Special Purpose Space:  Special purpose space located in space that is primarily office, such as loading docks, laboratories, refrigerated rooms, light industrial space, etc., that is included in space requirements, should be minimized to include only the area needed to support the specific mission and supported with adequate justification.

.22       Telework:  Work performed at home or as an alternate worksite, in conjunction with agreement detailing aspects of time, place, and days allowed.  Telework is a subset of Mobile Work.

.23       Usable Square Feet:  Is the area the agency occupies in an office suite.  It is the office area, workstation area, conference rooms, kitchenettes, server closest, storage rooms, and circulation within the office suite area.  It is calculated by measuring from the dominant portion of the exterior wall to the outside face of major vertical (demising) partitions.  It includes all structural elements (columns), openings for vertical cables, and vertical penetrations built for the private use of the tenant.

.24       Utilization Rate:  Is the total amount of usable square feet in office and office support space divided by the total numbers of onboard staff.

.25       Workstation:  An office, cubicle, or open workspace where employees or contractors work, counted by individual seat. (See table below for allowable ranges)

Workstation Standard Range

Net Square Footage Range

Closed Offices – OU Head and Direct Reports

Headquarters 240 NSF Regional 180 NSF

Closed Offices – Senior Supervisory

70-100 NSF

Open Office Workstations

36-64 NSF

Touchdown Benching (Hoteling)

24 NSF

Resident Contractors

24 NSF

.26       Work Style Pattern:  The six work style patters are related to the amount of time typically spent at a desk, communicating with others and out of the office (meetings or travel).  It is to be based on activities over a typical work month and collected by surveying staff.

Pattern Name

Acronym

Description

Workstation Size

Desk
Bound Interactive

DBI

Spends over 75% of day at their desk; while at their desk, communication with others more than 50% of the time. 

48-64 NSF

Desk
Bound Concentrative

DBC

Spends over 75% of the day at their desk; while at their desk, working individually more than 50% of the time.

48-64 NSF

Internally Mobile Interactive

IMI

Spends less than 75% of the day at their desk and less than 25% out of the office; while at their desk, communicating with others more than 50% of the time.

36-48 NSF

Internally Mobile Concentrative

IMC

Spends less than75% of the day at their desk and less than 25% out of the office; while at their desk, working individually more than 50% of the time.

36-48 NSF

Externally Mobile Interactive

EMI

Spends more than 25% out of the office; while at their desk, communicating with others more than 50% of the time

24-36 NSF

Externally Mobile Concentrative

EMC

Spends more than 25% of the day out of the office; while at their desk, working individually more than 50% of the time.

24-36 NSF

SECTION 5.  WORK STYLE PATTERNS.

.01   It is Departmental policy to utilize the well-researched and tested GSA six work style patterns types.   It is a space planning approach that relates employee function to space layout, seeks flexibility in space usage, and maximizes the utility of the space to support the mission.  It is a more sustainable, flexible and affordable approach than just assigning a fixed amount of space based on the grade of employees.  Identifying work patterns as part of the workplace space design is critical to managing requirements and avoiding costs for unnecessary space. 

.02       OU workplace space design is to be developed through a neutral party of design professionals which are experienced in the GSA six work style pattern concepts.  GSA offers a workplace engagement program that use design firms familiar in use of work patterns to size work and collaboration space. This program can assist OUs in engaging their workforce and determining a workplace space standard for a new space or renovations while minimizing cost and time needed to acquire support.

.03       OUs must survey their staff to identify which positions require focus, which ones need to collaborate regularly or are part of team that meets regularly in small groups and use this information to establish a predominant work style pattern to individual group’s or branch’s.  Information on the six typical patterns, as well as a sample survey and methodologies to convert the survey into pattern type classification is available at the GSA Workplace Solutions Library http://www.gsa.gov/HTML_WSL/Pages/Work_Patterns_Main.html.

SECTION 6.  COLLABORATIVE SPACE SHARING RATIOS.

.01       The amount of Collaborative Space incorporated into a workplace space design is based on ratios of space per a specific number of people.  Through design and testing by GSA and many other agencies, the following ratios have been developed.  They are to be used to determine the number and type (open or closed) for each of the three sizes (two, four, and six persons) of the six work styles.  The utilization of this space needs to be reviewed and surveyed for the first 24 months to determine extent of use and adjust ratios for subsequent projects.  The use of demountable walls to create collaborative space is recommended since it enables adjustment of number and location of these spaces based on the results of reviews and surveys. 

Closed Meeting Room

One room for # of people

Open Meeting Area

One area for # of people

2 Person
DBC
DBI
IMC
IMI
EMC
EMI

42 NSF each
- 1:16
- 1:12
- 1:12
- 1:08
- 1:24
- 1:24

2 Person
DBC
DBI
IMC
IMI
EMC
EMI

at workstations
for all styles

4 Person
DBC
DBI
IMC
IMI
EMC
EMI

90 NSF each
- 1:24
- 1:16
- 1:12
- 1:24
- 1:30
- 1:24

4 Person
DBC
DBI
IMC
IMI
EMC
EMI

-60 NSF each
- not needed
- not needed
- 1:12
- 1:16
- not needed
- not needed

6 Person
DBC
DBI
IMC
IMI
EMC
EMI

150 NSF each
- 1:40
- 1:40
- 1:12
- 1:32
- 1:40
- 1:40

6 Person
DBC
DBI
IMC
IMI
EMC
EMI

90 NSF each
- not needed
- 1:40
- 1:12
- 1:24
- not needed
- not needed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SECTION 7.  RESPONSIBILITIES.

.01       The Office of Facilities and Environmental Quality is responsible for:

a.         Development, implementation and oversight of this policy;

b.         Reviewing office space requirements for all new acquisitions, renovations, restacking, and succeeding leases for compliance with policies;

c.         Establishment of the space standard, guidelines and procedures for HCHB which incorporates the requirements of DAO 217-21 and this directive; and

d.         Establishment of HCHB renovation project design requirements.

.02       Heads of OUs are responsible for development of internal implementing procedures for this directive.  This includes assignment of responsibilities for:

a.         Setting of office workplaces requirements for individual buildings for new acquisitions, renovations, restacking, and succeeding leases;

b.         Certification of office and Mission Space project requirements;

c.         Determining cost effectiveness of utilization rate improvements;

d.         Reporting a-c documentation to Office of Facilities and Environmental Quality when developed.

.03       Heads of OUs are responsible for planning and programming of office space utilization improvement projects over a rolling five-year period and where cost effective, seeking resources through the budget process.

SECTION 8.  REPORTS.

The Director, Office of Facilities and Environmental Quality will be provided with a copy of all workplace analyses quarterly, as well as any cost effectiveness analyses to justify not improving the utilization rate of existing office space through renovation of owned space or in succeeding, or superseding leases. 

SECTION 9.  IMPLEMENTATION GUIDANCE.

As OU implement this directive they will involve applicable bargaining unit representatives in workplace space scoping decision process prior to start of acquisition.  This includes:

a.         Determination of work styles of staff;

b.         Selection of workstation size from range corresponding with work style;

c.         Revisiting of collaborative space after it has been in use for 24 months to determine if effective; and

d.         Determination of special purpose space needs.

Appendix 1

Signed By:Director for Facilities and Environmental Quality

Approved By:Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration

Office of Primary Interest: Office of Facilities and Environmental Quality

 

Questions and Comments

Send Questions or Comments on the Commerce Directives Management program to Directives@doc.gov.

Office of Privacy and Open Government
Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

 

Page last updated:May 12, 2016