Skip Navigation
Postsecondary Education

NCES 2006-160
May 2006

4.2.6 Local Options for Additional Codes

The room use codes do not attempt to meet the varied local institutional needs for tracking or defining space by physical design or characteristics, contained special equipment, specific person or organizational unit assignment, control authority, or discipline orientation. For example, no distinctions are made between the following:

  • Centrally controlled versus departmentally controlled classrooms. (This could be handled via a report on classrooms sorted by their organizational assignment.)
  • Offices for research staff versus offices for instructors. (This could be handled via a report on offices sorted by the rank of the person(s) assigned to the offices.)
  • Study rooms with special study equipment or tools versus study rooms containing only tables and chairs. (This could be handled via a report on study rooms sorted by the type of equipment assigned to those rooms.)
  • Locker rooms serving a gym versus locker rooms serving a shop. (This could be handled by creating an expanded subcategory Locker Room under Athletic or Physical Education Service (525) and under Shop Service (725).)
  • Private Rest Rooms serving an office or Storage Rooms serving the same office. (Private Rest Rooms could be coded either under Office Service (315) or tracked separately by creating an expanded subcategory Private Rest Room under Office Service (315). Storage Rooms could be coded also under Office Service (315) or tracked separately by creating another subcategory Private Storage under Office Service (315).)
  • Specialized rooms associated with clinics, for example, waiting areas, laboratories, observation booth/rooms, surgery (nonhospital), special equipment (e.g., x-ray). (These could be handled as expanded subcategories of support space for the appropriate primary activity area.)

In general, institutions should consider making such distinctions by “extending” the support space coding structure with interval or suffixed codes (e.g., modify Study Room (410) by adding a code 413 or 410M to track study rooms equipped with computers that are used as study tools). These additional codes can be easily aggregated into the 410 code as needed. For institutions without an equipment inventory, a globally assigned suffix (e.g., “M”) may even be used to flag every room containing one or more microcomputers. As noted in the fourth and fifth examples above, locker rooms and private rest rooms, which are service areas with special physical characteristics, may just as easily be earmarked by selected, additional codes according to particular needs. (See section 5.3, optional data Elements.)

The space use coding structure is intended to identify only the specific architectural use of an individual space at the time of the inventory (e.g., Office, Laboratory, Classroom, etc., as described in this chapter.) Space use coding is not to be used to track other conditions or circumstances about a space. Such other data should be recorded as optional data about a space. (See section 5.3, optional data Elements.) Calling upon separately stored required and optional space data in any report assures the accessibility of any combination of data needed for reporting and analyses.

For those institutions that have developed space use codes that tie to or include meanings within any of these separate classification systems, it is recommended that they develop and maintain a method of mapping or crosswalking to the core space use codes presented in table 4-2. This recommendation, in the interest of standardization for interinstitutional comparisons and surveys, applies also to those institutions that have implemented coding extensions or completely alternate coding systems for classification by space use.