The General Services Administration is taking a new tack in the latest version of its mandatory design standard for new construction and major renovations managed by its Public Buildings Service (PBS).

For the first time, the updated version of the "Facilities Standard for the PBS," or P-100, is a performance-based, rather than a solely prescriptive, standard, GSA officials say.

P-100, released on March 14, establishes design standards and criteria for new buildings, alterations and work in historic structures for PBS. It contains policy and technical criteria to be used in the programming, design, documentation and construction of PBS buildings.

Martin Weiland, a GSA engineer and an architect of the standard, says the updated P-100 allows GSA "to identify what you really want to do in the end without stating the way you are going to get there." He says the flexibility will enable designers to take advantage of the latest future technologies, rather than requiring them to use technologies current when the standard was published.