Space Guidelines

Mason’s University Space Guidelines were developed using information from Section 6.1.1 (Guidelines for Space Planning) of the Virginia Construction and Professional Services Manual (CPSM). The guidelines listed in the CPSM were adapted to align with higher education specific employee/space type categories.  These space guidelines represent the general guidelines that apply for new construction or renovation projects, and represent maximum allowable square feet for each space type category and are used as the basis of design for new facility or renovation projects once a space program for a project is finalized.   It is understood that variations in space size, or space/office type, may be needed to meet project specific programming needs, particularly for renovation projects in which the project program must be housed within an existing building envelope, or for new space assignments within an existing building. Variations from these guidelines must be approved by Space Management for each capital or non-capital/small project.

The space guidelines listed in the below chart represent general space/office type maximum ASF (assignable SF) guidelines per employee category that are used for facilities planning purposes only and do not represent a guaranteed assignment of the type of space for each employee category.  Given limited space resources to meet competing needs, the University may not be able to meet guidelines for space/office type assignments in all new/renovated facilities. Units/departments are encouraged to look at alternate options for meeting new space needs, including shared office arrangements for staff, and faculty as needed, as part of the planning process for new facilities and new space requests.

For new/additional space requests, the unit/department’s current assigned space will be reviewed to suggest ways in which internal reassignments that comply with space guidelines may be able to meet needs prior to development of options for new space assignments that are submitted for review/approval.

University Space Guidelines Table

Office Space Guidelines

As outlined in the Facilities Design Manual (3.2.4 Office Facilities), it’s George Mason University’s objective to use space efficiently, including shared office arrangements when feasible. As noted above, the below chart represents maximum ASF guidelines that are used for new building/renovation project planning/design purposes only and do not represent policies regarding actual space type assignments for any of the employee categories listed. 

Note: The minimum SF for an enclosed private office is 90 SF to assure ADA circulation requirements are met. Maximum assignable square feet (ASF) represents an amount that is applied to spaces within new construction or renovation. Actual ASF will vary for space assignments within existing buildings.

Employee Category Office Type Maximum ASF
President Private Office 350
Vice President Private Office 285
Associate/Assistant Vice President Private Office 180
Provost Private Office 285
Associate/Assistant Provost Private Office 180
Dean Private Office 250
Associate/Assistant Dean Private Office 150
Chair/Director Private Office 150
Associate/Assistant Chair/Director Private Office 140
Instructional Faculty (Full-Time) Private Office 120
Research Faculty (Full-Time)* Private Office 120
Part-Time Instr/Rsch Faculty,Visiting Scholars, Post-Doc Shared Office/Workstation 35
Administrative/Professional Faculty Private Office 120
Graduate Teaching Assistant Shared 35
Graduate Research Assistant* Shared 48
Classified Staff** Workstation/Private Office 64/100
Shops/Maintenance/IT & Operations Support Shared Workstation 20
Part-Time or Wage Staff Workstation/Shared Office 48
Student Employee Workstation 20

*Additional space assigned for research faculty and graduate research assistants is determined by the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) guidelines for ASF per $100,000 of annual research expenditures.

**Classified employees are assigned to workstations or shared enclosed offices. An approved business need is required for private office assignments. Trades/Support Employees are assigned to shared workstations.

Office Support Space Guidelines
Type of Space ASF*
Waiting/Reception Area 250
Storage Room 100
Supply/Mail Room 120
Copy Room (shared-one per floor) 100
Pantry (one shared per floor) varies by program
Conference Room varies by # of seats
Other Service (determined by program) varies by program

*ASF may vary depending upon the program need within a project.