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Components of Grade A Specification

Question:

Discuss about the Building Owners and Managers Association.

Grade A building as standardized by Building Owners and managers Association (BOMA) is addressed to buildings having finishes of top quality standard, exceptional accessibility, state of the art systems as well as concrete presence of market. Grade A building has top-notch features like impressive architectural design, interior decorations and innovative design. Grade A buildings are maintained by trustworthy companies having prestigious area of city and goof reputation. The current report provides a brief for investigating regarding constituents of ‘Grade A specification’ examining issues and evaluating international literature/guidance, local practice, criteria for determining ‘Grade A specification’ class with particular reference to electrical and mechanical provision of services. Case studies are also provided to support arguments and recommendations have been provided in the current report.

The aesthetics, age, features and infrastructures usually classify specifications of the buildings. This system of classifying buildings were created for surveyors and agents of real estate for justifying office space price as well as prepare information of market and survey buildings. According to the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), grade A building has finishes of high quality standards, state of the art systems, definitive market presence and top class accessibility. Office spaces that has highest quality standard belong to Grade A office building with updated and advanced features. Grade A office buildings are usually maintained by companies having trustworthy management system and are aesthetically appreciable.

Generally, Grade A office buildings have special construction features like raised floors, lifts, suspended ceilings, air conditioning and other state of the art facilities and features. These offices are highly furnished with marbles, tiles, mahogany finishes and glass lobbies. These office buildings depicts symbol of luxury, elegance and sophistication. Another easy way to determine whether a building is of Grade A specification is by the height of building. Usually Grade A buildings have large dimensions, high ceilings and are usually skyscrapers.

As per guidelines by British council of offices (BCO), a grade A office should have a workplace density of 8 – 13 m2 with around 6 m2 means of escape. Approximately 10 – 12 m2 of core elements are present in such buildings. On floor services constitutes around 8 – 10 m2 of area. Floor plate efficiency of low-rise buildings is around 80 – 85 %. For deep plan, window-to-window depth is of 15 – 21 m and window to core is around 6 – 12 m. In case of shallow plans, window-to-window is around 12 – 15 m and window to core is around 6 – 7.5 m. Floor to ceiling height is around 2.6 – 2.75 m with around 2.45 m refurbishment.  The planning grids is around 1.5 m by 1.5 m with a column grid of 7.5 m, 9 m, 12 m and 15 m. Around 10 m2 of male to female ratio is around 60% by 60% toilet provision. Performance requirements for lift should be about 80% with less than 25 seconds of waiting time and up to 12% handling capacity less than 90 seconds of time for destination. Approximately 150 mm overall raised floors with typical floor refurbishment of 100 mm and trading floors of around 300 – 500 mm is required top classify the building as Grade A office (Bco.org.uk 2017).

Occupancy

2014

Floor plate efficiency

80-85%

Finished floor to underside of ceiling

2.6-2.75m

Planning grid

1.5m x 1.5m

Column grid

7.5m, 9m, 12m and 15m

Lift provisions

Loading of car

80%

Time to reach destination

Less than 90 seconds (Till 15th floors)

Structural loadings

Live

GL and below floors of office

3 kN/m2

Above ground level

2.5 kN/m2

High loading areas

7.5 kN/m2

Dead

Car parking

2.5 kN/m2

Partitions

0.5-1.2 kN/m 2

Plant room

7.5 kN/m2

Loading bays

5-10 kN/m2

Retail space

4 kN/m2

Services, ceilings and floors

0.85 kN/m2

Lighting

2% - 5%

Unified Glare Rating (UGR)

19

Air tightness

Not greater than 3.5 m3/hr/m2

Outdoor air

12-15 l/s per person

External noise intrusion

NR38 (Leq)

Classification of Buildings

Table 1: Grade Aoffice specification as per BCO

(Source:Bco.org.uk 2017)

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) is a professional organization for US and Canada based commercial real estate professionals that provides specification for office. BOMA has defined grade A buildings as the most high quality buildings that are used for competing executive and top class office users with building rents more than average of the area. The buildings have top quality standard finish, systems that are state of the art as well as top notch accessibility, which is extremely efficient as well as presence of a definitive market. Visually attractive facades, attractive finishing.

General comments

Class A

General description

Class A buildings are described as the most premium buildings at best locations

Age

Advanced designing methods with updated and current standards, very well maintained with updated security.

Location

Building is generally situated in CBD and identifiable location with convenient access.

Constructive and architecture

Class A buildings use classic design methods especially with concrete and steel structure. Superior interior quality as well as exterior quality finishes is used for curtain walls including elevators and washrooms.

Property management

Top quality management practices are present with enhanced services and security, HVAC, maintenance, quality and environmental management.

Building systems

Class A buildings contain systems meeting industry standards with automated electrical, mechanical, safety and security systems as well as electrical systems. The backup power system is also available in these buildings.

Environment

Class A buildings hold at least one environmental certification such as BOMA 3 or 4 LEED that is responsible for sustainable practices in place.

Services

Call systems that include maximum response time, security, maintenance, tenant coordination and administration as well. Additional services are also present such as fitness centers, conference centers, cafeteria and food courts as well as restaurants, dry cleaning services, ATM and Wi-Fi services.

Table 2: Grade Aoffice specification as per BOMA

(Source: Jll.ie 2017)

Office market performance in Dublin Ireland is approximately 2866787 sq. ft. The vacancy rate being 7.8% and a prime rent of 55-60 Euros per sq. ft., market performance is quite good in Dublin. The stock under construction is around 3099789 sq. ft.

Currently Grade A buildings that are completed and available in Dublin is around 80000 sq. feet with nothing larger than 60000 sq. ft in the city centre. 3.7% of the vacant stock is only available through lease currently.

Specifications of the building is governed by BREEAM standard with building life of 15 years for air handling units, 20 years for chillers, 20 years for boilers, 20 years for pump sets, 15 years for pressurization units. 20 years for humidifiers, 20 years for control panels, 15 years for luminaries, 15 years for chilled beam units and lifts for 20 years are also governed. Office depths for ground to fourth floor is around 13.85m and fifth to sixth floor is around 12.4m. The 4th to 6th floor should have a clear floor to ceiling cover of 2900-millimeter cover. Import floor loadings should be around 2.5 kilo Newton per meter square. Raised floor building service suspended ceiling loading should be around 0.85-kilo Newton per meter square glazing in doors and windows should be double glazed sealed clear glass. U value should be as per building regulations.

The basis of a small overloading will be around 25 Watt per meter square. The basis of gain of heat for lighting will be a maximum of 12 watt per meter square. Electrical Engineering Services will also be a basis for the design of the following elements with office mechanical lighting of 10 watt per meter square, general lighting of 1 watt per meter square. Small power for mechanical services engineering should be in watt per meter square and mechanical services for general should be around 60 watt per meter square. The lifts should be consuming 5 watt per meter square in a little space of 151 per meter square. Fire alarm system should be design as per BS standard 589 types 2.9 with open call analogue system that is addressed. It should be manageable form a ground floor central control panel through interface. The security system should be accessed via proximity sensor card that covers main entrances and floors of property owner areas. Intruder alarm is present in each floor and a video intercom system on maintaining a communication between grounds for reception individual. Lighting levels in the plant should be around 200 lux and lighting to the office area should be around 350 lux. Maintained in average with the open plan the overall uniformity ratio of around 0.8 at the defined task area or at desk height should be incorporated. Simple systems of automated lighting should be provided in accordance with BREEM, ADL and CRCEES (Jll.ie 2017).

Guidelines for Grade A Office Buildings

Mechanical services provided consists of the imposed floor loadings should be approximately of 2.5 kN/m2, demountable partitions supernumerary to the above loadings are 1 kN/m2.  The raised floors, services of buildings with suspended ceiling loads are around 0.85 kN/m2.  The curtain wall system consists of opaque as well as clear glazing to the main entrances as well as feature stairs. The flat rain screens panels of rear of the stair cores and main cores are included as well as perforated metal screenings are louvers towards the plant roof. The aluminum window systems need to be coated with thermally broken frames of polyester power coating. The total insulation U value is according to the current regulations of building. Glazing is of double glazed type and lifts provided consists of 2 x 12 person lifts that serves basement to sixth floor and ground to sixth floor. The stainless steel coverings of the door consist of 900 mm wide openings framing system. There needs to be a 100mm overall raised system of flooring of medium grade for providing nominal zone of approximately 70mm clear void through use of 600 x 600 mm encapsulated panel with system of adjustable steel pedestal. The ceiling metal tile system needs to be around 150 and 330 micro perforated. External conditions of the dry bulb summer to be around 290C, wet bulb summer to be around 190C, dry bulb winter to be around -40C and wet bulb winter to be around -50C. The heating systems needs to be conditioned according to constant active multi service chilled beams volume that is suspended directly to the soffit for giving clear minimum ceiling height of 2650 mm AFFL cooling and heating demand through air sensors that is located at occupied space.

The three-park place of Dublin Ireland is a Grade A building used for office purpose. The building is ideal as office location as it helps in maintaining a proper work life balance. The concert venues, galleries, museums, colleges, universities and museums are in close proximity of the building. It has a substructure specification that includes ground floor slab of 320-millimeter thickness reinforced concrete floor slabs. The structural flat slab in situ concrete thickness is 324 mm. External walls have a high quality double glazed proprietary system of curtain walling having a silicone external frameless joint as well as pacified glass insulated spandrel panels for elevations to hatch street.

Three-park place in Dublin has met the specifications and criteria of being a Grade A office building as it has highly efficient as well as flexible floor plates. The reception is impressive and has double height. It is targeted by LEED platinum and the reception, toilet, shower facilities and lobby is finished as per highest corporate standard. The building has excellent shower and bike facilities, natural lighting for floor, standby generators, efficient LED PIR lighting, raised access floors, 4 pipe air conditioning systems with blank thermal storage bank is present with a total occupancy density of 1.7 m2. There are six high-speed 17 passenger lifts with efficient rainwater harvesting system. The raised access floor has a void of around 200mm. The total suspended ceiling has a void of 400 mm. The total floor to ceiling height is around 2.83 m.   

Conclusion

It can be concluded that Grade A office buildings maintain quality standards of buildings that provides the user with comfort as well as energy efficiency. Further it is also seen that Grade A office buildings have excellent mechanical as well as electrical properties. Advanced designing methods with updated and current standards, very well maintained with updated security is used in grade A office buildings. Class A buildings also use classic design methods especially with concrete and steel structure. Superior interior quality as well as exterior quality finishes is used for curtain walls including elevators and washrooms. Office market performance in Dublin Ireland is approximately 2866787 sq. ft with a vacancy rate being 7.8% and a prime rent of 55-60 Euro per sq. ft, grade A office buildings have a strong hold in Dublin, Ireland. Electrical Engineering Services is based for the design of the following elements with office mechanical lighting of around 10 watt per meter square and general lighting of 1 watt per meter square.

It is recommended that Grade A office buildings should comply with BREEM standards and energy efficiency. Further, the electrical equipments should also be ensured to be energy efficient. The office buildings should also incorporate renewal of office wastes and keep recycling process available. Sustainability within the building should be maintained suing lean approach and further improvements of the building should also be incorporated such as introduction of cloud based IOT within different building components like video intercom and CCTV cameras.

References

Bco.org.uk, 2017, British Council of Offices [online], Available at: https://www.bco.org.uk/ [Accessed 25 Apr. 2017]

Jll.ie, 2017, 2016 Dublin Office Market Outlook [online], Available at: https://www.jll.ie/ireland/en-ie/Research/JLL%20Dublin%20Office%20Market%20Review%20and%20Outlook%202016.pdf?fb56ea68-273e-43f7-b8b1-62d6178406c1 [Accessed 25 Apr. 2017]

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