3.8 Alterations in
Other Specialty Areas
Court buildings, border stations, and child care centers
Existing Buildings and
have special requirements for finishes. See the U.S. Courts
Design Guide and Chapter 9: Design Standards for U.S.
Court Facilities for Court spaces. See the U.S. Border
Station Design Guide (PBS-P130), and GSA Child Care
Center Design Guide
(PBS-P140) for finishes for these
The general goal of alteration projects is to meet these
facilities standards for new projects. Renovation designs
must satisfy the immediate occupancy needs and antici-
pate additional future changes. As they are remodeled,
building systems should become more flexible and
adaptable to changing occupancy needs.
Alteration projects are defined at three basic scales: refur-
bishment of an area within a building, such as a floor or a
suite; major renovation of an entire structure; and up-
In the first instance, the aim should be to satisfy the
program requirements within the parameters and con-
straints of the existing systems. The smaller the area in
comparison to the overall building, the fewer changes to
existing systems should be attempted. Components,
equipment and construction should match the existing as
much as possible to facilitate building maintenance.
In the second case, the opportunity exists to approximate
the standards and flexibility of a new building, within the
limits of the existing space and structural capacity.
Where a historic structure is to be altered, special
documents will be provided by GSA to help guide the
design of the alterations. The most important of these is
the Building Preservation Plan (BPP) which identifies
zones of architectural importance, specific character-
defining elements that should be preserved, and standards
to be employed. Refer to pages 1-14 for The Secretary of
the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines
for Historic Preservation. For some buildings a Historic
Historic stair, Ariel Rios, Washington, D.C.
Alterations in Existing Buildings and Historic Structures
Revised March 2005 PBS-P100