News | 5.4.2016

Selecting Criteria for VA Outpatient Clinic Design

Pahrump VA Outpatient Clinic Design
Pahrump, Nevada, VA Outpatient Clinic

The Veterans Health Administration care facilities provide services to more than 8.3 million* Veterans each year.  Our engineers have had the privilege of working with various Structural Engineers, Architects and Owners to provide protection for over thirty of these facilities, across the United States.  Whether large facilities or small outpatient clinics, each is designed according to the specific criteria laid out in the Solicitation for Offers (SFO).

Large, new-build Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Outpatient Clinics are typically governed by the VA Physical Security Design Manuals. However, we have noticed a recent trend in small VA Outpatient Clinics in leased spaces for which the General Services Agency (GSA) Interagency Security Committee (ISC) criteria corresponding to a low level of protection for a Facility Security Level II (FSL II) are required.  These criteria necessitate a letter by a qualified blast consultant to certify that the project meets basic requirements. The two most common requirements are:

  1. The use of an acceptable fragment retention film or glazing system on the windows in order to reduce the glass fragmentation hazard in the event of an explosion.
  1. The use of construction materials which have inherent ductility and which are better able to respond to load reversals.

To better understand the criteria and impact that could have on your next VA new construction or renovation, please give Aldo McKay, PE, PMP a call.

Image of the small VA Outpatient Clinic at Pahrump, Nevada, courtesy of Neenan Archistruction at

*From the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics.