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National Cemetery Administration

Administration/Maintenance Complex - Narrative

The Administration/Maintenance Complex houses the offices, work spaces and personnel area for cemetery support staff who are involved in direct and indirect services to veterans, their families and other cemetery visitors. Visitor contact at the Administration/Maintenance Complex is minimal. When required, the building should have fire detection and security systems. It should be constructed of durable building materials and have finishes that require little maintenance.


There are basic functional aspects that are common to all national cemetery administration/maintenance facilities. Each national cemetery is a part of a greater whole and exists to provide the same services to veterans and their families. Regional and geographic uniqueness should be recognized in the design of cemetery structures with regard to climate, materials, etc.

Flexibility is an important consideration in the design of the Administration/ Maintenance Complex. Changing workload can require additional, or reconfigured administrative space. Changes in personnel (average stay of cemetery directors is three years) may also generate changes in office layout. The design should permit adaptation to changing needs at minimal cost, without large scale remodeling. The design and siting of administration space should allow for future expansion primarily in the general office area.


The administration and maintenance operations are to be viewed as a complex, and situated to encourage interaction between the two. They may be physically attached or located close to each other on the site in a way that facilitates the necessary interaction. Total integration of the building with the site is important to keep the building from being a focus or feature of the cemetery. Although the administration building is not a place of regular visitor contact, maintenance activities that take place at the building must be sheltered from public view.

A desirable location for the complex is central to the site. Locate the maintenance areas, so that they are not readily visible to the public. Site the complex optimally for functional operations, separate from the Public Information Center and interment areas. Utilizing the terrain and landscape in the design should lessen the visual impact of this facility on the cemetery.

Space Planning Criteria

Space planning criteria for National Cemetery administration and maintenance buildings are addressed in VA Handbook 7610, Chapters 701 and 703. It provides the net square footage recommended to meet the needs of a VA national cemetery building. The scope of work for a particular project will contain the building program, based on the cemetery workload staffing and the space planning criteria.

Administration Room Relationships

Visitors enter the building through the front door and are greeted in the office adjacent to the general office. Areas that are open to the public include the director's office, the General Office and the Multipurpose Room. A unisex toilet to serve the Administrative staff will also serve the infrequent public use. The Operations Center is the hub of the office, containing shared office equipment and files. The staff and volunteers enter the administration building through the back door, or employee entrance, adjacent to the employee parking lot. The lunchroom should be isolated from public view and can serve as the connector for Administration and Maintenance wings. Refer to Section 3, Room Relationship Diagrams, for an example of recommended adjacencies.


Public parking at the Administration/Maintenance complex should include a parking pull-off, parallel to the road to accommodate an average of three cars for cemetery visitors.

Employee parking should be in a lot obscured from public view, for cemetery employees, official cemetery vehicles, visiting staff and vendor vehicles. Locate the access drive to the parking lot beyond the public entrance to the building and outside the secured Maintenance Yard. Provide only pedestrian access from the parking lot to the Maintenance Yard. Approximately 3 percent of employee parking spaces shall be accessible to the physically disabled.

The size of the parking lot should accommodate all employees, plus one to three cemetery vehicles, one volunteer, one vendor, one visiting staff and seven honor guard vehicles. The siting of the parking lot must allow for future expansion.


The Administration/Maintenance complex includes the building that houses the personnel areas for the cemetery maintenance staff, the workshops, vehicle and equipment maintenance areas, storage areas, and the maintenance yard, which contains maintenance activities that occur out-of-doors. Limited space may be made available for volunteers engaged in honor guard activities and some equipment parking at the cemetery. Portions of the maintenance facility may be compartmentalized for use by contractors. Contractor access to this space should not require passing through VA controlled space, or vice versa. Both the building and the yard shall be physically secured. The entire complex should have fire detection and security systems. The building should have durable materials and finishes that require little maintenance. The design and siting of the building should allow for future expansion, primarily in the personnel and equipment storage areas. The Administration/Maintenance Complex should have a separate secured vehicular access from the public road if possible.

Maintenance Yard

The development of the Maintenance Yard should provide for storage and movement of equipment, supplies, graveliners, and headstones that are kept outdoors, and above-ground fuel tanks and pumps. The size of the yard must accommodate the unloading of a delivery from a tractor-trailer truck.

Electric Power

Each workstation in the cemetery requires a four-flex power outlet, with two of the outlets on a dedicated circuit for computer equipment. Normal office equipment will be concentrated in the Operations Center and also distributed throughout the General Office.


Each workstation requires two network cables and one voice line terminators in a triplex phone jack. The computer system will have a hub in each building and computers will be networked.


The type and number of HVAC systems shall depend on the configuration and size of the cemetery building. Evaluate a gas and/or oil system for all facilities. If gas or oil is not available, evaluate a factory fabricated self-contained, direct expansion (DX) cooling unit with electric resistance heat or an air-to-air heat pump (for locations with a minimum 2 degrees Celsius (35 degrees Fahrenheit) winter outdoor temperature. Depending upon the available space and building layout, the unit shall be a single piece or a split system configuration. For relatively larger facilities, evaluate the use of a hot water heating system (with natural gas and/or No. 2 oil as the fuel) and a chilled water cooling system (with air-cooled chillers).

Provide a dedicated heating and ventilating unit for the vehicle maintenance section of the maintenance facility to supply at least eight air changes per hour. A corresponding exhaust system shall also be provided for exhausting all air to the outdoors.

Design the smoke control for the HVAC systems in accordance with NFPA 90A to effect system shutdown in the event of smoke detention. Smoke detectors shall be mounted in the main supply ducts and upon smoke detection shall stop the supply air fan and sound an alarm.

Drainage/Oil/Water Separator

The requirements for drainage/oil/water separator vary greatly from state to state. Systems will be designed in accordance with the authorities having jurisdiction.

Fuel Tanks and Pumps

NCA uses above ground fuel storage tanks and dispensing system. A divided tank is required, one tank for unleaded and one for diesel fuel, with mounting pad and electrical service for the pumps. These are available on Federal Supply Schedule for purchase and installation by the contractor.

Vehicle Wash Area

Provide floor drains and hose bibs at the wash rack, as appropriate, so that dirt and mud can be washed off vehicles and equipment after use. NCA prefers to use self-contained washwater recycling systems. These are available on Federal Supply Schedule for purchase and installation by the contractor.

Pesticide Storage and Mixing/Loading Area

Design a storage and mixing area in accordance with authorities having jurisdiction (EPA, state, etc.). At a minimum, storage areas will have chemical resistant coated surfaces and secondary containment area. Also, provide dust and explosion proof lighting, positive ventilation, appropriate signage and an eye wash/emergency shower.