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Postsecondary Education

NCES 2006-160
May 2006

4.4 Space Use Codes Questions and Answers

1. Question: In the many years between publication of the Facilities Inventory and Classification Manual, 1973 and 1992 revision, and now this revision, space use codes have been changed and others added. Should we incorporate these changes and additions?
  Answer: It is recommended that campuses incorporate these changes and additions to retain the ability to easily respond to federal and state surveys that will likely incorporate these changes into their next surveys, or to easily participate in benchmarking data activities, both within and external to a specific campus. As noted throughout this revised manual, campuses may choose to develop and use their own special space use subcodes as long as these codes can be aggregated upward to the 10 major space use categories of assignable space and the 3 major space use categories of nonassignable space defined in this chapter.
2. Question: How does the coding structure account for such spaces as offices in auxiliary enterprise or hospital facilities? How are office assignments among academic departments differentiated?
  Answer: All offices are coded Office (310). While some institutions have expanded this code to include faculty office, administrative office, clerical office, etc., this practice is discouraged as it mixes two distinct data types—space use and occupant rank. Greater flexibility for planning and utilization studies is achieved by storing the space occupant’s rank in a separate field of data associated with the space’s space use. The ability to report on all office space is easier; and the ability to study space utilization only of faculty offices, for example, is also easily done by reporting on only spaces coded Office (310) and housing an occupant of the rank Faculty. Similarly, the space use categories have been kept free from activity connotations. The use of the functional category structure allows offices used by auxiliary enterprises to be differentiated from offices assigned to instruction. An office with the functional category of general academic instruction could be further classified by academic discipline.
3. Question: Classrooms may be scheduled by a central campus office such as the Registrar or may be assigned to a specific department, which then schedules the classes. How does the coding scheme allow me to differentiate among these rooms to compare the utilization of classrooms scheduled by the Registrar with the utilization of classrooms scheduled by specific departments?
  Answer: Under this manual’s classification system, all classrooms are coded 110. By using the organizational assignment of each classroom, a required field of space data that is different from the space use category, institutions can easily differentiate among classrooms assigned by a Registrar and those assigned by a specific college or department. The organizational assignment for a room scheduled by a central campus office might be Registrar. The assignment for a room scheduled by a specific department or college would be that department or college.
4. Question: How should laboratories used for “departmental research” be coded?
  Answer: If the primary use of the space is as a research/nonclass laboratory, the space use code is Research/Nonclass Laboratory (250).
    (According to the conventions and definitions in NACUBO’s Management Reporting and Accounting for College, departmental research and public service that are not separately budgeted should be included as instruction. The functional category in this case should be instruction. Research/Nonclass Laboratories (250) can have a functional category of either 1.0 (instruction) or 2.0 (research), depending upon whether the laboratory is used for departmental (1.0) or separately budgeted (2.0) research.)
5. Question: How are “departmental libraries” coded?
  Answer: The use of the term departmental libraries is highly discouraged. It creates significant conflict with official (formal) central and branch libraries. Most of the spaces will have the use code Study Room (410).
    These libraries, if they contain catalogued materials, can be optionally classified as a library function within the functional category of academic support. (See appendix B for definitions of functional categories.)
6. Question: How are fraternity and sorority houses classified?
  Answer: Fraternity and sorority houses and rooms that are part of university facilities and not separately organized and controlled are classified as House (970), with the appropriate organizational unit assignment, and can optionally have an auxiliary enterprise functional classification. However, if the fraternities or sororities are not owned or controlled by the university, they should not be included in the inventory.
7. Question: How are heating plants coded?
  Answer: Most of the space in a heating plant is nonassignable and should be classified as Central Utility Plant (Y01) under Mechanical Area (YYY). Conventional assignable space use types, such as Office (310), Office Service (315), Conference Room (350), and the like, are designated as such even though they are located in a central utility plant. All such spaces that are part of heating plant operations should be within the functional category of operation and maintenance of plant.
8. Question: How should receiving areas be classified?
  Answer: Receiving areas, such as Loading Docks (W04), should be treated as circulation space. A receiving area that is also used for central storage should be regarded as assignable area and coded as Central Storage (730). A central or campus-wide shipping and receiving area would be coded Central Service (750).
9. Question: How is spectator seating in an uncovered stadium coded? How is the space underneath the seats classified?
  Answer: An uncovered stadium is, by definition, not a building. Therefore, its permanent seating is not assignable area. However, if any space under the seats meets the definition of a building, the spaces could be coded as Athletic or Physical Education Service (525) or Office (310), for example, depending upon their use.
10. Question: How should chapels be coded?
  Answer: A chapel meets the definition of a devotional facility and should be coded as Assembly (610) along with other devotional facilities. If the chapel is not under university control, it should not be inventoried.
    A chapel can be optionally classified as social and cultural development function within the functional category of student services if under university control. A chapel in a hospital would be optionally classified under the NACUBO function of hospital. See appendix B for definitions of functional categories.
11. Question: How should day care centers be coded?
  Answer: Day care centers may be coded as Demonstration (550) or Day Care (640). Day care rooms used to practice, within an instructional program, the principles of child care or development, or teaching are classified as Demonstration (550). Day Care (640) serves as a central service center for faculty, staff, and students.
    (Demonstration day care centers have a functional classification of instruction, while those facilities coded 640 could have a functional classification of either institutional support or auxiliary enterprise depending upon how the activity is organized.)
12. Question: A room is used for many different space uses. How do I classify it? A room was designed as a laboratory and is now used as an office. Is it classified as a laboratory or an office?
  Answer: Unless space is being prorated within a database that allows for multispace use assignments, or phantom walls are used to delineate the different space uses, the room should be classified according to its primary or predominant space use (based upon either amount of time or amount of space) when the inventory is made. To get a complete picture, campuses may wish to capture both the original designed use in a data field separate from the actual space use. Room intent, design, type, name, or contained equipment does not, therefore, affect the space use coding classification unless it is compatible with actual use.
13. Question: How do I classify clinical space based on functional activity when humans, clients, patients, or subjects are involved? Research, instruction, and patient care may all be occurring simultaneously.
  Answer: The classification is generally driven by who pays. If a sponsored project is underway, the classification will be Research/Nonclass Laboratory (250). If the function is organized health care in medicine, dentistry, optometry, or the like for instructional activity, the classification is Class Laboratory (210) (scheduled laboratory). If the clinic is located within a hospital, it is classified as Treatment/Examination Clinic (850).
14. Question: We have a glass blowing shop on campus that serves many of our scientific departments. How should this space be classified?
  Answer: Special purpose shops (e.g., glass blowing, machining) supporting multiple rooms for scientific instruction and research should be coded as Shop (720).
15. Question: How are interior office hallways coded? Are they assignable or nonassignable space?
  Answer: If they are private circulation areas (restricted, nonpublic access), they are generally classified as assignable Office Service (315), laboratory service (215, 225, 255), Animal Facilities Service (575), etc.
16. Question: What is the difference between a lobby and a lounge?
  Answer: An assignable Lounge (650) differs from a nonassignable Lobby (W05) in placement, use, and intent. A lobby is generally located at a major entrance with openings to hallways on more than one side; and although it may have seating furniture, it is designed more for walking through (or having standing conversations) than for sitting and relaxing.
17. Questions: We have a large room used for the registration process and have had trouble trying to decide how to classify it.
  Answer: The investigator needs to determine the primary use of the space. If the space is only used for registration, it should be coded Meeting Room (680) since it is used by the institution for nonclass meetings.
18. Question: We have water wells that are equipped with motorized pumps and are covered with a shed for protection against the elements. Should these structures be included in the facilities inventory?
  Answer: Separate, minor structures, such as wells, should not be included in the facilities inventory unless they meet all four criteria for buildings. Although the wells are roofed and serviced by a utility exclusive of lighting, we cannot tell if the wells are attached to a permanent foundation and if they are a source of significant maintenance and repair activities. Assuming that these two latter criteria have not been met, the wells should not be included in the facilities inventory. As such, we would recommend that the wells be reported in the institution’s plant asset or equipment inventory system.
19. Question: How should I report an area which is covered, but not enclosed on all four sides, and is used for central campus storage? Is this space assignable?
  Answer: Yes, this covered, unenclosed area would be considered assignable space and would be classified as Central Storage (730).
20. Question: There is a permanent eating area, equipped with tables and chairs, which is located in a covered, unenclosed area of our Student Union Building. Is this space assignable even though the facility only has one wall? Should I count this space as part of the gross area?
  Answer: Yes. By creating a “phantom wall” around the drip line of the area’s cover, you would classify this assignable area as Food Facility (630). This area should also be reported as part of the building’s gross area.
21. Question: At our campus, we have underground pedestrian tunnels and above-ground pedestrian bridges that connect one building to another. How should I account for these areas? Are they assignable? If so, which space use code would I use? How do I report the amount of space as part of the gross area? Does the length of the tunnel or bridge get reported to one building, or should I split the area equally between the two connected buildings?
  Answer: Underground pedestrian tunnels and above-ground pedestrian bridges that connect two separate buildings are considered nonassignable circulation area and classified as Bridge/Tunnel (W01). Generally, institutions should include one-half of the tunnel’s or bridge’s gross area and its nonassignable area to each of the two buildings. Alternatively, enclosed connectors that are clearly identified with one building by virtue of style, date of construction, etc., may be included in the gross area and nonassignable area of that structure.
22. Question: We have several houses that were converted into administrative offices. The uppermost usable floor has a vaulted ceiling. The floor to ceiling distance is 4’0” around the perimeter of the exterior rooms. Should the area be calculated from the edge of the kneewall? The ceiling height in the attic is 5’0” and contains HVAC equipment. Should this space be considered a Building Service Area?
  Answer: The area on the uppermost usable floor with a vaulted ceiling should be included in that floor’s gross area. Since assignable area includes any interior space having 3 feet or more of ceiling height, in your case, the assignable area would be measured from the smallest floor to ceiling distance—the 4’0” kneewall of the space. Attic space used for administrative offices should be categorized as Office (310). Attic space containing HVAC equipment should be designated as nonassignable Utility/Mechanical Space (Y04).
23. Question: I have a closet located under a stair that goes all the way to the underside of the stairs. Should I include it in my space inventory?
  Answer: Yes, but only to the point at which there is a minimum 3-foot ceiling height.
24. Question: Should the threshold of a doorway be accounted for as usable space? If so, should it be allocated to the corridor or the room.
  Answer: It is not necessary but may be acceptable in older buildings with very thick walls to divide the threshold area in half with equal allocation to the dividing rooms. Otherwise the cost to calculate the area of every threshold on a campus can far exceed the benefit derived.
25. Question: Many of our buildings have covered, unenclosed porches that are used for building entry. Should this be considered part of the gross square footage?
  Answer: Yes, as both gross area and nonassignable area categorized as Public Corridor (W06). Covered porches, whether enclosed or not, with seating that can be used for rest and relaxation would be classified as Lounge (650). If the porch had access from more than one stairway, the covered area between the stairways would qualify as nonassignable Public Corridor (W06).
26. Question: One of our research buildings has an interstitial space beneath the entire facility. This space houses most of the building systems. The floor to ceiling height is only 4’8”; should this be included in building service area?
  Answer: The space has more that 3 feet of ceiling height and should be included in the gross area of the building. It should also be inventoried as nonassignable Utility/Mechanical Space (Y04) as it houses equipment necessary for the general function of the building.
27. Question: We lease the roof space out to a cellular phone company. It has a cell tower with GPS receivers and transmitters. Should this space be considered assignable?
  Answer: The cell tower and its equipment have no area associated with them since they are pieces of (uncovered) equipment. Space leased out to others is not included in the inventory.
28. Question: We recently remodeled our dining center to provide a “marketplace” food service area that includes food preparation in front of the customers. How should we classify this food preparation space?
  Answer: There are two possible options that your institution could use:
    If you create a phantom wall around each food preparation area, you could classify the food preparation area as Food Facility Service (635) and the remainder of the space as Food Facility (630).
    If your institution does not use phantom walls to aid in the classification of space, code the square footage within the walls of the “marketplace” as Food Facility (630) space, both seating and food service counters. The back room functions, including the kitchen and freezers, would be coded Food Facility Service (635).
29. Question: We have a Campus Conference Center. How do I classify these spaces?
  Answer: There is no unique conference center space classification. Rather the center’s spaces should be classified according to their use. For example, the bedrooms would be classified as Sleep/Study With Toilet or Bath (920) if they had a bathroom within the room. The kitchen would be Food Facility Service (635); the dining area, Food Facility (630); building offices, Office (310); public lounges, Lounge (650); etc. If the Center is open to public use and not solely dedicated to academic programs, then the various “conference rooms” would be classified as Meeting Room (680) not Classroom (110).
30. Question: We have a computer simulator room on Campus, and I don’t understand why it is classified as a Class Laboratory (210).
  Answer: The simulator room is classified as such because the simulator room has a specialized use that focuses on or supports a limited number of educational disciplines. Because of this specialization, it meets the “…the special purpose equipment or a specific room configuration…” portion of the Class Laboratory definition.
31. Question: How should I classify an assembly room that we recently upgraded with the latest electronic capability and now is being used as an electronic classroom when not scheduled for dramatic, musical, and other assembly-intended activities?
  Answer: The predominant use should be the determinant in situations where, over time, the use of a room has changed regardless of any upgrades that may have occurred. For example, an Assembly (610) facility that has been converted to an electronic classroom for either generation or reception of digitally enhanced or delivered instruction should be coded as a Classroom (110) if its major use is scheduled instruction rather than presentations of fine arts or cultural events.