Indoor Environmental Quality Guidelines

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I.12 Encourage Healthful Physical Activity

Provide spatial conditions conducive to incidental physical activity. Movement (like walking) between workplace destinations helps maintain cardiovascular fitness, mental alertness, and encourages synergistic staff interactions that improve morale and well-being.

Recommended Performance Criteria

  1. Provide an 'open' or 'enhanced' stair design that is visible and/or easy to locate connecting the main (entry level) floor with at least the next two floors above it and the first floor beneath it. This encourages and enables building occupants to safely and conveniently use the stairs to travel between floors in their daily building circulation.
  2. Encourage staff to walk to routinely used building service centers and interior destinations through design of circulation path and its amenities. Features that encourage physical activity include:
    • Separation of restrooms and service centers (like mailrooms and refreshment dispensers and break rooms) from work areas
    • Enhanced daylight and views along a circulation path
    • Different routes to popular interior destinations
    • Interior circulation paths that allow round trips without reversal of direction.
  3. Interior circulation paths with adjoining meeting niches and nooks that encourage spontaneous staff interaction along the path lengths.
  4. Amenities that encourage casual and continuous use of stairs include: position of stairs in floor plan, openness of stairway to surrounding interior views, provision of rest and incidental meeting nooks along stairway length, reversal or curving of stairway to facilitate expanded user view of stair traffic, proper stairway riser/tread ratios, surfacing, and grab handle meeting HFES (not minimum building code) design recommendations.

Related MSBG Documents

Supplemental Resources

  • Bechtel, Robert B. & Churchman, Azra, (Eds.) (2002) Handbook of Environmental Psychology. John Wiley & Sons, NY.
  • Boff, K. & Lincoln, J. (Eds.) (1988) Engineering Data Compendium: Human Perception and Performance. Harry G. Armstrong Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory, Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio.
  • Pauls, J. L. (1982) "Recommendations for Improving the safety of Stairs", Building Practice Note No. 35, June, Division of Building Research, National Research Council Canada, Ottawa.
  • Pauls, J. "What Can We Do to Improve Stair Safety?" (1984) Building Standards, May-June, pp 9-12, 42-43; July-August, pp 13-16, p. 42.
  • ______(1984) Southern Building, April-May, pp. 14-20; June-July 1984, pp. 22-28; (1984) The Building Official and Code Administrator. May-June, pp.30-36; July-August, pp. 10-15.
  • Pauls, J. (1991) "Cost of Injuries in the United States and the Role of Building Safety." The Building Official and Code Administrator, Jan/Feb, pp. 19, 31-35;
  • ______ (1991) Building Standards, July/Aug, pp. 18-22, 24;
  • ______(1991) Southern Building, July/Aug, pp. 6, 8-10, 12, 51; etc
  • Pauls, Jake. (1992) "What Should Inspectors Look for Regarding Safe Stair Construction?." Building Official and Code Administrator, July/August, pp. 32-39.
  • NASA (1995) Man-System Integration Standards. Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX.
  • Salvendy, Gavriel (Ed.) (1987) Handbook of Human Factors. John Wiley & Sons, NY.
  • Watson, Donald. Crosbie, Michael. Crosbie, Michael J. & Callender, Michael H. (1997.) Time-Saver Standards for Architectural Design Data. McGraw-Hill, NY.
  • Woodson, W. E, Tillman, P. & Tillman, B. (1992) Human Factors Design Handbook, 2nd Edition. McGraw-Hill, NY.

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