Walk Before You Run: Confirm What You Have Today to Better Plan for Tomorrow

Many area development plan (ADP) projects may skip a critical first step that could help ensure success. Before asking a single question or conducting a charrette, consider if your planning project would benefit from a facility utilization survey (FUS) and/or requirements analysis (RA).

Just as architects must consider what materials will create solid structural bases, planners need to build firm foundations before starting their plans. Recent projects for which Woolpert performed FUS/RA prior to crafting the ADP uncovered true mission requirements and strategies for repurposing existing assets.

FUS and RA results provide accurate pictures of current conditions that enable stakeholders and planners to compare today’s reality with mission requirements to better plan for tomorrow.

Consider these recent projects and how conducting a FUS or RA enabled the project’s success:

  • The 355thCivil Engineering Squadron (355 CES) at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., knew that the 563rd Rescue Group (563d RQG, Active Duty) and 943rd Rescue Group (943d RQG, Reserve) were growing, well-supported organizations that could tax buildable space. Fully understanding current RQG space use in existing facilities leveled the playing field and enabled the 355 CES to plan for important future needs.
  • At Scott AFB, Ill., the Higher Headquarters Area Development Plan began with a FUS of 18 facilities across the installation. The FUS showed where 6,000 personnel were assigned, the condition of those facilities and how effectively space was being used when compared to Air Force facility requirements. The resulting ADP identified significant demolition, reuse and new construction opportunities that align with Scott AFB’s development goals.
  • The 21st Special Tactics Squadron’s mission at Fort Bragg, N.C., was rapidly evolving with new initiatives and sophisticated mission set, manning and equipment changes, all significantly impacting facility requirements. A FUS of the squadron’s 15 Pope Army Airfield buildings provided a detailed analysis and served as the framework for an ADP to reduce the facility footprint while increasing efficiencies, effectiveness, morale, and command and control.

These examples provide different educational lessons for planners on space utilization and how FUS results can help shape ADP requirements for unique mission needs.

For each project, the FUS showed an accurate assessment of the current situation and what was already available. The RA established an accurate method, based on multiple sources, for determining how changing requirements may affect unit needs.

Chad Hartley

Chad Hartley is a LEED® AP ND Certified Planner who has surveyed more than 15 million square feet of federal facility space and completed projects at more than 50 Department of Defense installations.