JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
Engineers and architects from across the Department of Defense met virtually Oct. 20 to discuss policy updates to help build more resilient and code compliant facilities to meet mandatory DOD facility criteria.
During this year’s Discipline Working Group Training Workshop, a team of Air Force Civil Engineer Center Facility Engineering, Operations, and Planning and Integration Directorates subject matter experts came together with their counterparts from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Navy Facilities Engineering Command, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Air Force’s Office of the Civil Engineer to collaborate with peers and discuss policy updates. Representatives from the National Institute of Building Sciences and IHS Markit also attended and offered a broad base of engineering data.
The DWGs shape DOD policy for facility builds as well as maintenance and renovation. Air Force participation in the DWGs ensures service-unique requirements are considered during criteria development. That includes technical guidance, new technology, regulations, safety, sustainability and environmental compliance.
Hosted by AFCEC, this year’s virtual, one-day event focused on the Unified Facilities Criteria program health and funding.
AFCEC, together with USACE and NAVFAC, is responsible for the administration of the criteria program.
“The criteria outlined in the UFC and unified facilities guide specification documents are essential to Air Force installations planning,” said Dr. Tim Sullivan, chief of the technical services division. “They are developed to establish, implement and provide enforceable standards for structural design, mechanical, electrical, fire protection or environmental compliance to name a few.
“The criteria are mandatory to use for all DOD construction efforts because they provide technical building requirements for design, construction and maintenance of facilities,” Sullivan said.
This year the DWG workshop specifically addressed updates made to the DOD Standard Practice, “Unified Facilities Criteria, Facilities Criteria and Unified Facilities Guide Specifications” and the Unified Facilities Criteria DOD Building Code.
“The critical updates we made better align roles and responsibilities in construction between DOD criteria and industry standards,” Sullivan said. “We sought to clarify the role of the ‘building official,’ which is essentially the inspector who ensures constructed facilities meet code.” Sullivan said he’s hopeful the clarifications will help avoid a lot of confusion experienced in the past.
The Air Force relies on AFCEC’s Facility Engineering Directorate to help provide mission-ready infrastructure, a key part of the service’s ability to build on lethality, and air and space superiority. The directorate’s technical services division ensures construction efforts Air Force-wide are in accordance with DOD directives.