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Postsecondary Education

NCES 2006-160
May 2006

3.2.5 Circulation Area

(See figure 3-5 below)

  1. Definition. The sum of all areas on all floors of a building required for physical access to some subdivision of space, whether physically bounded by partitions or not.
  2. Basis for Measurement. Circulation Area is computed by physically measuring or scaling measurements from the inside faces of surfaces that form the boundaries of the designated areas. Exclude areas having less than a 3-foot clear ceiling height unless the criteria of a separate structure are met.
  3. Description. Included should be fire towers, elevator lobbies, tunnels, bridges, and each floor’s footprint of elevator shafts, escalators, and stairways. Also included are public corridors or walkways, whether walled or not, provided they are either within the outside face lines of the buildings to the extent of the roof drip line or, if covered, to the extent of their cover’s drip line. Receiving areas, such as loading docks, should be treated as circulation space. Any part of a loading dock that is not covered is to be excluded from both Circulation Area and gross area.
  4. Limitations. Deductions should not be made for necessary building columns and minor projections. These small areas are excluded as they represent an insignificant percentage of the total area of an average-sized space. Capturing their area would be unduly burdensome relative to the very small contribution they would make toward precision. When determining corridor areas, only spaces required for public access should be included. Restricted access private circulation aisles used only for circulation within an organizational unit’s suite of rooms, auditoria, or other working areas should not be included. A loading dock, or portions thereof, that is also used for central storage should be regarded as assignable area and coded as Central Storage (730).

Figure 3-5. Circulation Area of a building by floor

Figure 3-5. Circulation Area of a building by floor

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