Chapter 13: Considerations for Special Facilities
Existing or retrofit heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
frequently produce unacceptable noise due to inadequate maintenance,
improper duct treatment, or inappropriate equipment sizing.
considerations, resulting in unacceptable reverberation times or inadequate
Outdated sound systems can hamper acoustical quality.
For the above conditions, redesigning the space and replacing mechanical and
electrical equipment is often the best solution.
Like courtrooms, judiciary-related office areas sometimes must be redesigned to
overcome acoustically-deficient HVAC systems and room finishes. In addition,
modern workloads, expanded personnel, and additional office equipment often result in
increased noise. For example, equipment containing a cooling fan can compromise
speech intelligibility. To reduce noise, increased acoustical isolation is necessary
between public spaces and offices.
Mechanical-electrical systems often have shortcomings in older court facilities. These
shortcomings include the following:
Little or no provision has been made for after-hours use of the facility.
The older the building, the less likely that provisions for expansion and/or
Fan systems cover large areas in older facilities and ducts may be noisier
close to the fan.
In some older facilities, the outside air intake is inadequate to supply
sufficient outside air to comply with modern HVAC design standards.
Control systems in older facilities are generally pneumatic rather than digital.
The lighting system is generally inadequate.
Electrical services are often inadequate. The quality and reliability of
electrical service depends upon the location of the courthouse, the local utility
company, and the condition of existing transformers and switch gear.
Electric circuit distribution capabilities are generally inadequate.
In older facilities, little consideration was given to upgrading the electrical