Revised Design Standards for Capital Projects – What’s New

November 15, 2018

Yale University Design Standards, which are used by architects and engineers to build and remodel structures, are vital to building projects on campus.

While these standards are regularly reviewed and revised, a significant update was recently completed by the Facilities Operations and Planning Team for Sustainable Design and revisions are being finalized for Fire Protection and Fire-Alarm requirements. The updated standards reflect industry changes in technology and building-code requirements and lessons learned–which help avoid costly maintenance.

Design professionals refer to these standards or requirements when making decisions during projects as small as retrofitting an office space to designing and constructing a new building. “These updates are a collaborative effort, and a lot of people worked together to get this done,” said Mike Lamore, senior mechanical engineer.

Typically, during project kickoff meetings, these standards (available online and accessible to the public) are shared with the design team. These requirements take into consideration building function, systems, operations and construction. Then throughout the design process, the standards are referenced for appropriate application. “Using these standards can be compared to cooking from a proven recipe as opposed to cooking from scratch—there is a consistency or known expectation when using them,” said Mike Lamore.

As part of the update process, a new Design Standards Committee was formed. This group now meets monthly and is charged with researching, improving, and enforcing design requirements and documenting these requirements in the Design Standards. They review suggestions for updates to the standards submitted by members of the Yale Community from planners to architects to mechanics. “Our goal is to hear from people in the field and make changes so the standards improve and are more streamlined,” said Cathy Jackson, director of planning administration, and committee chair. Next up for the committee: a review of the remaining architectural design requirements to consolidate central and medical processes so there is one standard for both campuses.

Revision Highlights for Design Standards:

Fire protection and fire alarms – security updates

Code changes are often driven by state or federal requirements, the availability of equipment, or technologies that become obsolete. The university is looking to integrate fire alarms with security systems. These updates will be published in November 2018 and can be found on the Facilities website.

HVAC, plumbing, electrical and utilities

In the past two years, sections of HVAC, plumbing, electrical and utilities standards have been updated and are online. The next standards to be updated, include building automation systems and general mechanical and plumbing sections, and are scheduled to be released next spring.

Sustainable design standards—more transparency and LEEDV4 Gold Certification

Sustainable design requirements had not been updated in some time and needed a refresh. Current updates reflect shifts in technology, industry changes, and lessons learned.

Industry wide, there is a big push for product disclosures and more transparency around ingredients in building materials like paint. Yale now mandates that for each project a minimum of 20 products must be used that are made up of or contain ingredients that have been declared “Living Building Challenge Red List” free. Some examples of “red list” materials include: asbestos, lead, and mercury. This new requirement asks what these products are made of.  One product example is paint. Paint is in 99% of the products used for campus-wide projects. “We are now looking for manufacturers who have environmental product disclosures for their products,” said Cathy Jackson, director of planning administration.

New sustainable construction and interior renovation projects – LEEDV4 Gold Certification

All comprehensive scope projects must be LEEDV4 Gold Certified.  Requirements include: outdoor water use reduction, energy performance optimization, rainwater management (95th percentile), indoor water use reduction and enhanced commissioning. All project budgets must now accommodate LEEDV4 requirements.

Standards and Project Life Cycle

Yale Facilities is interested in supporting design standards that are informed by operational practice for the entire life cycle of a building project – planning work, designing projects, implementing through construction, operating, and maintaining the building. All Facilities staff are encouraged to contact Cathy Jackson  and Mike Lamore with suggestions for design standards updates or improvements.

Thanks and new committee:

Big thanks to all those listed below who helped with the standards review and updates.

Fire Protection & Fire Alarm Standards (MEP/FP/FA) Revisions Committee
Design Standards Committee
  • Mike Lamore, Chair
  • Frank Casalaina
  • James Cramond
  • Mitchell Hammer
  • Peter Greenbacker

  • Scott Goeben

  • Anthony Kosior
  • Grey Kupiec
  • Michael Lamore
  • Denise Lue-Lueong
  • Mark Perez
  • Lou Perleoni
  • Samuel Olmstead
  • Jack Tiboni
  • Robert Villani
  • Cathy Jackson, Chair
  • Mark Bednar
  • Jeff Brown
  • Ginger Chapman
  • Robert Daly
  • Keith Fordsman
  • Dev Hawley
  • Anthony Kosior
  • Mark McCloud
  • Carlos Mercado
  • Michael West