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Posted 4/18/2017

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By Joe Macri
Middle East District

The U.S. Army Center of Standardization for Non-Permanent Facilities held an industry day in Herndon, Virginia, April 12, in order to foster collaboration between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), commercial industry and experts in non-permanent structures used in contingency environments.

The Center, which resides within and is managed by the Middle East District, exists to provide off-the-shelf designs that can be tailored to meet short notice requirements such as an emerging contingency or natural disaster. These facilities can include housing, medical facilities, operations centers and a variety of support buildings.

The focus of the partnering session was to educate the attendees on the requirements of the Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC 1-201-01), criteria for all non-permanent facilities procured by the Department of Defense.

“The kinds of structures we’re discussing are normally built somewhere and then assembled on site. What we’re trying to do is to make sure that companies understand the criteria set forth in the UFC and incorporate that into their designs and construction very early in the process,” said Alan Zytowski, Middle East District Deputy Director of Engineering. “This helps us get ahead of compliance early rather than trying to play catch up later and it helps the companies we work with know how to meet our requirements.”

Tara Paxton, a representative from the Center of Standardization for Non-Permanent Facilities, also emphasized that the intent of the UFC was not to create unnecessary additional regulations but to ensure the well-being of those who would eventually utilize these structures.

“These additional requirements focus on health and safety,” said Paxton, “they provide a set of standards that ensure when these buildings are used, those who live and work in them can know they are safe.”

Those representing industry were able to showcase their latest offerings and appreciated the chance to design and build to the standards before they had to bid on contracts.

“Being former military, I understand the needs they have in the field to get structures in place almost immediately so I do worry that the UFC can make that difficult but I also understand the need for it and appreciate the opportunity presented here to get a better understanding of compliance and how to get ahead of it,” said Tony Martin, the president and CEO of Strategic Solutions Unlimited.

Karen R. Moore, an operational energy manager from U.S. Army Central Command (ARCENT), also emphasized the need to incorporate requirements early in the process.

“I’m looking at it from a slightly different angle than the Corps of Engineers,” said Moore, “but I completely understand that we need to think ahead so that those of us working the requirements are able to anticipate and meet the needs of those with boots on the ground.”

ARCENT is a frequent customer and collaborator with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Approximately 100 industry experts, contractors and DoD personnel registered for the event which lasted a full day and was a mix of presentations, one on one discussion and displays.

The Center of Standardization for Non-Permanent Structures is one of several centers of expertise within USACE and can be utilized by any U.S. government agency.