Glossary of Planning and Design Terms
Acoustical Panel: A systems furniture panel with acoustical properties to absorb sound within the panel structure providing a higher Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating for the overall workspace.
Access Flooring: (also Raised floor or Raised access computer floor) An elevated structural floor above a solid substrate (often a concrete slab) to create a hidden void for the passage of mechanical, electrical services, and air flow. Raised floors are widely used in modern office buildings, and in specialized areas such as IT data centers and computer rooms. In courthouses it is most commonly used in computer rooms, clerks’ offices and courtrooms and it permits the easy reconfiguration of office and workspaces.
ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act.
Adaptive Re-Use: Conversion of a building into a use other than that for which it was designed, such as changing an office building into a courthouse.
Adjacency Requirements: Programming information concerning optimal functional proximity of various personnel groups and equipment areas. This information is a major element of the criteria used in space planning.
A/E: Architecture & Engineering
Architect: An individual, partnership, corporation or other legal entity licensed to practice the profession of architecture.
Architectural Program: Identifying individual spaces to be designed by name, function, size, and relationship to other component spaces. A document that defines in tabular, narrative, and graphic form the size, functional relationships, budget, and mission of a building. The program can be developed independent of the architectural design process and is used by the owner to define the scope of the project and subsequently by the architect to define the spatial and functional requirements.
ASHRAE: American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
Building Backbone: The part of a communications network that carries the majority of traffic throughout the building from the entry room to cross connections on each floor.
Barrier-Free Design: Building and site design which is accessible to all people, regardless of age and abilities.
Bay: A vertical division of a façade or a structure division of a building, marked by column spacing, roof compartments, windows or similar measures. In a courthouse it usually refers to the spacing available for courtrooms.
Block Diagram: Initial form of space allocation in which the spatial requirements determined in the programming phase are shown. This diagram shows, in correct proportion, departments and their proposed locations within the courthouse.
Blocking:Architectural term for the process of laying out major spaces on a single floor.
Bond Anticipation Note (BAN): A short-term interest-bearing security issued in advance of a larger, future bond issue issued by corporations and governments, such as local municipalities wishing to generate funds for upcoming projects. The bond anticipation notes are used as short-term financing, with the expectation that the proceeds of the larger, future bond issue will cover the anticipation notes.
Building Envelope: The volume of space in a building or courthouse, usually defined by dimensional requirements such as setback, stepback, permitted maximum height, and maximum permitted lot coverage.
Building Gross Square Feet (BGSF): Building gross area, includes the total of all departmental areas, such as courtrooms, chambers, etc. with an additional factor to account for major public circulation between departments, elevators stairwells, mechanical and electrical spaces not specifically included in the project space program, exterior walls, and any other common spaces not clearly identified as net areas. Building gross area is measured to the exterior surface of permanent outer building walls, and includes all enclosed areas.
Buffer: a strip of land established to provide separation between land uses and typically developed as a landscaped area.
Building grossing factor: In architectural programming, another multiplier is added to the net and departmental gross square footage to account for exterior wall thickness, fire stairs, elevators and lobbies, and mechanical rooms that serve the entire structure, and not exclusively a department or component of the building. The total size of a building is the addition of the net area, the departmental grossing factor, and the building grossing factor.
Closed-circuit Television (CCTV): The use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors.
Certificate of Participation (COP): A type of financing where an investor purchases a share of the lease revenues of a program rather than the bond being secured by those revenues. For example, the revenues generated from a future parking garage.
Change Procedures: A set of steps, or a plan, used to identify and manage the changes during the project life‑cycle, especially changes in project scope.
Conduit: Cables or wires that connect equipment to the source of energy. In a courthouse where technology is constantly changing, the “trays” or “tunnels” that hold the wiring must be easily accessible without serious disruption of the operation.
Cone of Vision: The visual region that relates to a person’s normal vision without his/her peripheral vision. The area of sight or the angle of sight. For a person to see an entire theatre stage, a cone of vision of 60 degrees is generally required. A person would need to sit far enough back to achieve this degree of vision.
Construction Documents: The drawings and specifications that are used to solicit bids for the construction of the facility are called “construction documents” that includes the schematic design, design development, and construction drawings of the facility. These documents are used by the contractor and subcontractors to first estimate the cost of construction and secondly to construct the facility.
Delphi Method: A forecasting method which relies on a panel of experts that answer questionnaires in two or more rounds. After each round, a facilitator provides an anonymous summary of the experts’ forecasts from the previous round as well as the reasons they provided for their judgments. Delphi is based on the principle that forecasts (or decisions) from a structured group of individuals are more accurate than those from unstructured groups.
Demolition: Dismantling or razing of all or part of an existing building.
Departmental Gross Square Feet (DGSF): Departmental area – also called "usable area"– is measured in departmental gross square feet, including all net areas and a factor to account for interior wall thicknesses, corridors and pathways within a department, columns and other structural elements, and inefficiencies created by shaft spaces that penetrate through the floors within departmental areas, and the like. This value represents the total area that is typically used when calculating the area on a floor that a specific unit, such as judicial chambers or clerk’s office, would require.
Departmental Grossing Factor: The departmental grossing factor is a percentage of the net area of a component of the facility that is added to the net space. This percentage or multiplier accounts for the non-assignable space associated with a component of the building. For example, the Clerk’s area could include workstations, files, and public counters, all of which can be defined in terms of net square footage. The non-assignable areas, such as corridors leading to the work stations, are included in the departmental grossing factor.
Design Guidelines: Criteria established to guide development toward a desired level of quality through the design of the physical environment, and which are applied on a discretionary basis relative to the context of development.
Engineer: An individual, partnership, corporation or other legal entity licensed to practice the profession of engineering.
Fast Track Construction: Construction process which allows construction to begin before the design is completed. The engineers and architects stay one step ahead of the builder, condensing the time required to complete the project.
Fenestration: The arrangement of windows in a building.
Finish: The visual characteristics including color, texture and reflectivity of materials.
Fixture: An appliance or device attached to the facade (e.g., awning, sign, lighting fixture, conduit, or security gate).
Floor Plan: A the horizontal arrangement of one level of the building that typically indicates walls, doors and dimensions. A scaled drawing showing the various levels of a building, that indicates the location of rooms, interior walls, and staircases and elevators.
Footprint Size/ Building Footprint: The area of the ground floor of a building that consumes site area. The term “footprint” refers only to the amount of the site that the building occupies at the ground level, and not the entire square footage of the structure.
Glazing: A part of a wall or window made of glass.
Grant Anticipatory Note: A bond issued by a governing body that is secured by future expected funding, such as from Federal funding or grants. Governing bodies issue grant anticipatory notes to provide immediate cash to keep projects ontime in anticipation of future funding being received.
HVAC: Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
IES: Illuminating Engineering Society of North America
Improvement: Any building, structure, place, work of art, or other object constituting a physical betterment of real property, or any part of such betterment.
Kiosk: Free-standing structure that can be located within the lobby of courthouses; outside the facility; and/or at remote locations that permit a citizen to electronically access information regarding a case; pay fines; and transmit documents to the Court are becoming more popular as a means of increasing accessibility and convenience to the court without creating increased foot traffic within the courthouse.
Landscape improvement: A physical betterment of real property or any part thereof, consisting of natural or artificial landscaping, including but not limited to grade, terrace, body of water, stream, rock, hedge, plant, shrub, mature tree, path, walkway, road, plaza, wall, fence, step, fountain, or sculpture.
Mass: The combination of the three dimensions of length, height, and depth which give a building its overall shape; a building is often composed of many masses, hence the term massing, which is often used to describe the form or shape of structures.
Marquee: Part of the informational signage of the courthouse, usually located in the main lobby. The display can be electronic or utilize traditional methods to display courtroom assignments, directions, and announcements.
Master plan (or facility master plan): A master plan is a phase of the pre design process that compares several different options of achieving the project’s objectives, in order to permit the owner or governing body to decide which strategy to pursue.
Microfiche: A technique for storing multiple pages of a document on a single sheet of photographic film.
Microfilm: The processed photographic film kept for later retrieval and viewing.
Micrographics: A generic term that encompasses microfiche, microfilm, rolled film, aperture cards, and similar technologies of storing images of documents.
Millwork: Built-in counters, shelving, cabinetry, wall or ceiling paneling, moldings, etc. usually found in courtrooms and clerks’ office, that is typically fabricated off-site and made of wood and/or similar materials.
Mixed Use: A development or area comprised of mixed land uses either in the same building or in separate buildings on either the same lot or on separate lots or, at a larger scale, in nodes. In courthouse projects it might refer to the inclusion of non-court functions as part of the project, either on the same site or within the building.
Modification: Any work to an existing improvement or landscape improvement other than (a) ordinary maintenance or repair; or (b) any Addition.
Net Square Feet (NSF): Net area – also called "programmable area" or "net assignable space" – is measured in net square feet (NSF). Net area describes the actual working area of an office, workstation, or support space, excluding permanent structural or architectural elements and internal circulation.
Net Area: The net area of a room is the square footage within the walls that enclose the space. Net area does not include the wall thickness or the corridors that lead to the room or space. Architects design spaces to the net area, with an allowance for the square footage to accommodate the non-assignable areas such as wall thickness, stairwells, and mechanical shafts.
Occupiable Space: A room, or enclosure and accessory installations thereof, which are intended for human occupancy or habitation, also generally referred to as net area.
P3 Projects - Public Private Partnership
Packaged Equipment - self-contained air or water conditioning system
Preservation: providing for the continued use of deteriorated old and historic buildings, sites and structure through such means as restoration, rehabilitation and adaptive re-use.
Public Art: Site specific artwork created to enhance and animate publicly accessible spaces through artistic interpretations that range from individual sculpture to integrated architectural and landscape features and treatments.
Publicly Accessible Spaces: Buildings, streets and exterior areas, which may be privately-owned, but to which the public has access.
Public Private Partnerships (PPP or P3 projects): A government service or private business venture which is funded and operated through a partnership of government and one or more private sector entities. These are generally design-build-finance projects where a private entity or business such as a contractor proposes to design, build, and finance the project for the government under an arrangement where the governmental entity agrees to lease purchase the facility over time.
Raceway: Enclosed conduit that forms a physical pathway for electrical wiring.
Raised Floor Access: Also called Access Flooring.
Renovation: Modernization of an old or historic structure which unlike restoration may not be consistent with the original design.
Restoration: Accurately recovering the form and details of a building and site as it appeared at a particular period of time by means of the removal of later work or by the replacement of missing earlier work.
Revenue Bonds: A type of municipal bond that is issued to finance utility or facility projects, such as electrical plants, water systems, sewer systems that is repaid from the revenues derived from the project. A bond is an interest-bearing or discounted debt security that is issued by a government or corporation in order to raise funds for capital projects.
Sally Port: Secure enclosure for the delivery of prisoners. Usually large enough to accommodate one or two prisoner transport vehicles.
Scale: The sense of proportion or apparent size of a building or building element as crated by the placement and size of the building in its setting; scale usually applies to how the sense is perceived in relation to the size of a human being and refers to the apparent size, not actual size, since it is always viewed in relationship to another building or element.
Seismic Conditions: A seismic condition is an assessment of the potential for an earthquake. In the preparation of construction documents, the architect is required by building codes to consider the particular seismic zone within which the building will be located and certify that the structure is designed properly to withstand the intensity of the earthquake.
Signage: Any lettering, signs, or logos in general, used to direct users or provide information in the courthouse.
Site Plan: A drawing of the footprint of the building and immediate adjacent buildings indicating the location of the proposed work. It is a drawing that shows accurately with dimensions the boundaries of the site and the location of all buildings, structures, natural features, uses and principal site design features proposed for a parcel of land.
Stacking: The vertical organization of a building - what elements go on what floor and how the floors are organized.
STC: Sound Transmission Class. Rating of how well a building partition minimizes airborne sound. The higher the STC rating, the more privacy is provided in the adjoining space.
Stepback: A setback of the upper floors of a building which is greater than the setback of the lower floors.
Setback: The horizontal distance from the property line to the face of a building or from natural features to a building.
Tax Anticipation Note (TAN): A short-term debt security issued by a state or local government to finance an immediate project that will be repaid with future tax collections. Used to borrow money, typically for one year or less and at a low interest rate, in order to finance a capital expenditure such as the construction of a road or school. The government then uses the following year's tax revenue to repay the TANs.
Universal Grids: Technology is changing rapidly in many spaces within the courthouse. The use of “universal grids” is a method of installing cabling either beneath the floor or in the ceiling that can be easily altered to accommodate new equipment or the replacement of outdated cabling systems.
Utilities: Facilities for gas, electricity, telephone, cable television, water and waste water, including overhead and underground power and telephone lines, all fire hydrants, water mains, storm and sanitary sewers.
Vehicular Sally Port: The enclosed or open, but fenced, structure for securing vehicles while inmates are being transferred into a booking or court holding area.
Voir Dire: Questioning of prospective jurors by a judge and attorneys in court. The process of selecting the jury panel.
Wayfinding: The information available to people which they need to find their way around the city and can be verbal, graphic, architectural and spatial.
Wide Area Network (WAN): Refers to the connection of several LANs together, usually by leased telephone lines, although satellite links are used as well.
Workstation: A table or desk with a three-sided partition surround, usually made for individual work. However, workstations are highly customizable, and are often used to reduce noise and provide privacy to individual employees working in a single room.