Office space requirements for government employees

Written by jenny landis-steward
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Office space requirements for government employees
This conference room evokes a sense of history and elegant functionality. (meeting room image by Oleg Kulakov from

For federal government employees, workspace is no longer related to the size of their paychecks. The Government Services Administration (GSA) recommends following the best industry standards used in designing for efficient useful workspaces. Employees may also need space for parking, child care, and food service. Historic spaces can provide public viewing and retail operations in addition to workspace.

Cubicles and . . .

After gathering information from sources ranging from call centres to software design firms, GSA determined the average private sector workspace was 230 square feet per employee. While an employee's cubicle may only measure about 50-60 square feet, the rest of the space is allocated for storage, file rooms, copier and fax areas, work and meeting rooms, and the corridotrs connecting the cubicles. The U.S. State Department has developed its own criteria (especially for work in other countries), which call for a maximum of 153 square feet per person.

Office space requirements for government employees
The employee workstation cubicle is only part of the total space allocation. (Empty Office Cubical image by TekinT from

Design and Construction Excellence

GSA requires its buildings be "exceptionally well built" while keeping workplace productivity and workplace integration among the top goals architects and engineers should strive for in their design plans. This means that space must be used in a way that allows workers to be most efficient. Buildings must also conserve energy and be adaptable to ever-changing work conditions. Space and funding must also be provided for the display of art.

Office space requirements for government employees
The Capitol Building in Washington DC provides space for legislative officials and for public art. (the capitol building in washington d.c. image by Gary from

Environmental Management

GSA requires that offices pay attention to environmental safety in its workplaces. Asbestos, radon, and lead in water and paint must be eliminated in new construction. In the case of historic buildings, inspectors must identify the presence of such health hazards and make necessary modifications or renovations. When asbestos remains in the building, cleaning and maintenance personnel need specific training to avoid disturbing it. Routine inspections insure that the asbestos is not entering the air stream. If lead is found after water testing, a lead abatement expert must renovate the plumbing. In historic buildings where lead paint is used, regular inspections must take place to make sure the paint is not peeling or cracking. When painting becomes necessary, lead abatement experts are in charge of sanding, and the surface is repainted with leadfree paint. GSA follows the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines regarding radon: air quality is tested and must follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) criteria. Buildings near underground hazardous waste areas must follow permit procedures before any cibstruction or renovation.

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