The federal government’s standards for its new construction projects now simply require outcomes instead of dictating the means to achieve them.
The Public Buildings Service, part of the General Services Administration, issued the overhauled standards March 14, 2014. As the document notes, adherence is mandatory. “It is not a guideline, textbook, handbook, training manual, nor substitute for technical competence,” it says.
An example of the increased flexibility is the HVAC system requirement, which previously had to be a type of system called variable air volume. Now, new construction must meet standards for energy efficiency, ventilation and humidity, but any system that satisfies the requirements is acceptable.
Additionally, rather than just setting minimum standards for building features, the PBS has added three tiers of performance that buildings can achieve, each more desirable than the last.
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