Chapter 13: Considerations for Special Facilities
Court Facilities in Leased Space
Some courts have expanded into leased space that is owned and operated privately or
by the government. Lease space is usually not designed for efficient judicial
operations. For this reason, architects and engineers must determine that the building's
base characteristics (i.e., structure, mechanical systems, exits, etc.) meet Guide
requirements. Departures from Guide standards are permissible if court facilities are
temporarily housed in leased space.
Courtrooms must be designed in accordance with Guide standards set forth in Chapter
4, as well as the following criteria:
Leased space must be assessed to determine whether appropriate courtroom
heights can be achieved in the existing structure. Minimum ceiling height
requirements for courtrooms in leased space is 12 feet (3700 mm).
Built-in furniture should be easily dismantled and reinstalled in permanent or
other leased facilities.
Public traffic created by court functions can require greater noise isolation
between public space, offices, and courtrooms.
In certain circumstances, judges' chambers might be located in leased space. Each
judge's chambers must be designed in accordance with Guide standards set forth in
Chapter 5, as well as the following criteria:
Parking and access to chambers for both judges and visitors must comply
with GSA's security construction criteria. A court security officer must be
present to protect isolated judges.
Toilet facilities must include a toilet within the judge's chambers and private
toilets with key access for the judge's staff.