International Codes help GSA achieve lasting value
As the builder of the nation’s civilian federal buildings, the General Services Administration (GSA) designs and constructs environmentally responsible facilities in which to conduct government business safely and serve the public effectively. Federal buildings must reach beyond their function to embrace the public at large and create a sense of community and trust. Through collaborative partnerships, the GSA seeks to adhere to sound construction practice and use materials, methods and equipment of proven dependability. Buildings must be economical to build, operate and maintain, and should be accessible to the handicapped.
Nationally recognized codes and standards
The Public Buildings Amendments Act of 1988 requires each building constructed or altered by the GSA or any other federal agency to adhere to a nationally recognized model building codes. To implement the statute, GSA has adopted the technical requirements of the nationally recognized International Codes published by the International Code Council: the International Building, Fire, Mechanical, Plumbing, Property Maintenance, Fuel Gas, Private Sewage Disposal, Zoning, Wildland-Urban Interface, Energy Conservation, Existing Building, and Residential Codes, as well as the International Green Construction Code. The technical requirements of these codes are supplemented by mandates of federal laws and executive orders, as well as GSA and other federal agency criteria. The latest edition of these codes, in effect at the time of design, must be used throughout the design and construction of the project. Exceptions to this include where the GSA has adopted the technical egress requirements of the National Fire Protection Association’s Life Safety Code (NFPA 101), in lieu of the technical egress requirements of the International Building Code, and the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70).
State and local codes
The GSA recognizes that the national building codes are typically the foundation of state and local building codes. Although buildings built on federal property are exempt from state and local building codes, it is GSA’s policy to comply with state and local building codes to the maximum extent practicable.
Facilities standards (P100) overview
The International Code requirements discussed above are spelled out in the Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service (P100), last republished in July 2018, which establishes design standards and performance criteria for new buildings, repairs and alterations, and modernizations for the GSA Public Buildings Service. It is a mandatory building standard — not a guideline, textbook, handbook, training manual or substitute for the technical competence expected of a design or construction professional — and contains policy and technical criteria to be used in the programming, design and documentation of GSA facilities and buildings. It also applies to lease construction with government option to purchase buildings.