U.S. Courts Design Guide
process. Concurrent with the evaluation of existing facilities, the court identifies
current and future caseload statistics and staffing requirements. The criteria in the
Guide are combined with these data to develop the court's initial space needs
statement. Accurate data and justifiable assumptions are essential to ensure maximum
cost-effectiveness. The resulting long-range facility plan assesses the court's
immediate and long-term (5-, 10-, 20-, and 30-year) facility requirements and must be
approved by both the chief judge of the district and the circuit judicial council. Long-
range plans are used by the judiciary to identify, justify, and prioritize projects that
become part of the judiciary's five-year plan of court construction projects. The five-
year plan is a national prioritized list of proposed court construction projects.
The detailed programming, design, and construction of federal courthouses is the
responsibility of GSA. GSA initiates projects requested in the judiciary's five-year
plan. GSA's development process begins with a long-range/community plan that
identifies the federal government's facility resources and requirements in a given
geographic area. The plan identifies other agencies that may use space in a
courthouse for long-term or interim occupancy. The design of facilities for the
long-range needs of the courts and overall project budgets will be greatly influenced by
these decisions. Projects are reviewed by GSA's Courthouse Management Group
(CMG), whose prime responsibility is the development and application of specific
strategies to keep federal courthouse projects on schedule and within budget. The
CMG was created to help transfer the lessons learned on completed projects to all
GSA regional offices.
Next, GSA retains the services of a consulting architect or planner to produce a
Prospectus Development Study (PDS). The PDS is a programming document that
further defines the project scope and budget. It uses the court's long-range plan and
the AOUSC's AnyCourt program as a base for development. The AnyCourt program
produces detailed estimates of square feet for each court function, based on the long-
range plan and supplemental information provided by the court.
The PDS addresses site acquisition, design and construction, building systems and
tenant support services, as well as related design issues such as security, court
electronic systems, telecommunications, and funding. The PDS contains a project
implementation strategy, including project scheduling, cost-control measures, and
The initial project budget is based entirely on information developed in the PDS.
Because subsequent changes are difficult and more expensive to make as a project
progresses, each court must help ensure that its PDS is accurate and complete.