With about 275 missions in 190 countries, more than 34 million square-feet of owned and 35 million square-feet of leased property, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has an enormous task. The bureau handles nearly all aspects of design, construction, acquisition and maintenance of the vast majority of the United States’ overseas property, including consulates, embassies, residences, office complexes, support facilities and much more.
In the “Perspectives” feature in the September/October issue of NFPA Journal, OBO project architect Andrew Scott, and fire protection engineer Robert Diggs discuss their jobs and the challenges they face in ensuring the nation’s foreign buildings are safe, secure and functional.
The work takes them from arid deserts to tropical rainforests, from modern urban centers to far flung corners of the earth. Because of the huge range in situations, both political and environmental, engineers and designers at OBO have to maintain high standards for their buildings, while also maintaining a level of flexibility for unique circumstances, Diggs and Scott explain.
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