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TAD REWRITES “SAND BOOK” OUTLINING DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION CRITERIA FOR CENTCOM

BY OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, Transatlantic Division

The Transatlantic Division (TAD) is the primary provider of engineering services to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), along with numerous other U.S. and foreign customers throughout CENTCOM’s operating area, so it made sense for TAD to assist CENTCOM with a major rewrite of its “Sand Book” – the manual outlining construction guidelines in the Middle East.

“As an engineering organization, our mandate is to build safe facilities for our Soldiers, partners, and allies,” said Gregory Taylor, chief, Engineering and Technical Division. “In delivering safe facilities, we have to determine what building codes and whose rules we follow within this area of operations. U.S. codes and host-nation building codes often conflict. We must also factor in where the construction will take place.”

It’s not a one-size-fits-all adaptation. Take, for instance, electrical code.

“When we are building a facility for use by a U.S. customer, there is a tendency to assume we should automatically apply the U.S. standard of 120 volts and 60 hertz,” Taylor said. “If the facility is being built in the Middle East, where most countries use 220 volts and 50 hertz, the facility should be built to that standard.”

Engineers must weigh many factors when considering a new or modified facility, according to Taylor. “What’s the capability of the local labor force? What materials are needed? What’s available locally? Who will use the facility? How long will the facility be used? If we are performing an engineering assessment on an existing facility and it’s not built to code, what mitigation actions can be taken?”

The engineering standards are rolled up into the “Sand Book” and in a document called the “Contingency Unified Facilities (UFC) Criteria Design Standards and Processes.” Together these documents capture engineering experiences from the past 30 years and are aimed at removing confusion in design and construction, while promoting life, health, and safety for the occupants.

“The ‘Sand Book’ mandates the CENTCOM policy and standards for facility design, planning, and development of permanent and non-permanent facilities, security, sustainment, survivability, and safety,” said Daniel Lyons, TAD lead architect. “It defines what regulations and codes to apply for design and construction, allowing designers and responsible commands to better understand planning, real estate acquisition, construction types, project durations, and general standards for each mission in the CENTCOM area of operations.”

With his 27 years of experience in private-sector architectural and engineering firms, and eight years with USACE, Daniel Lyons was selected to lead the “Sand Book” effort for USACE. The “Sand Book” – the manual outlining construction guidelines in the Middle East – mandates the U.S. Central Command policy and standards for facility design, planning, and development of permanent and non-permanent facilities, security, sustainment, survivability, and safety.
Photo Courtesy of Transatlantic Division 

The Department of Defense initiated the UFC program to unify all technical criteria and standards pertaining to planning, design, construction, and operations and maintenance of real property facilities.

“The program streamlines the military criteria system by eliminating duplication of information, increasing reliance on private sector [worldwide] standards, and creating a more efficient criteria development and publishing process,” Lyons said. “The resulting UFC products are technical publications and guide specifications. Contingency UFCs provide architects, engineers, planners, and construction surveillance personnel with the requirements for the life safety and habitability aspects for facilities construction for U.S. or host-nation use associated with military operations.” n