Primary Entrances

  1. Emphasize the primary entrance in the overall building design with a projecting or recessed covering for weather protection following Installation Facilities Standards (IFS) for Facility Group designations.
  2. Provide vestibules at entries in Groups 1, 2 and 3 unless used infrequently or serving unconditioned space following ASHRAE 90.1.
  3. Fully integrate all elements including the design of handicap ramps in the overall design of the primary entrance in an organized uncluttered appearance.
  4. Install paved transitional spaces sized for the building function and occupancy.
  5. Install appropriate lighting and site furniture following AT and IFS.
  6. Protect entrances in cold climates from falling ice and snow.
  7. Provide porte cocheres or covered drop-offs when justified for lodging and medical facilities; do not use for prestige or architectural accents.

Create the primary entrance as a focal point and distinguish it from other entrances corresponding to the Facility Group designation following the Facilities Hierarchy guidance in the Overview of this AFCFS. Design and construct entrances to provide a functional thermal barrier between interiors and exteriors to reduce heat loss or gain (depending on the season), to conserve energy, and to provide protection from the elements.

Select durable materials and weather-resistant details that do not show wear during their life span. Provide climate-responsive shading consistent with shading provided for walls.

Create a hierarchy of primary, secondary and service entrances that provides consistent design yet uses greater detailing on the primary entrance.


Cost-effectively integrate passive building components such as thermal mass walls and exterior shading devices prior to the design of active mechanical systems for vestibules. Design entrances and vestibules to enhance and preserve indoor environmental quality and to promote thermal comfort, moisture control and daylighting.

Properly orient building entrances in response to the local climate. Avoid north-facing entrances in cold climates. Material specifications for entrances should consider recycled content, environmentally preferable products and biologically based products.


In areas subject to extreme heat or extreme cold life-cycle cost-effectively supplement building entrances with vestibules to minimize heat gain or heat loss and to reduce energy use.

UFC 1-200-01 General Building Requirements

UFC 1-200-02 High Performance and Sustainable Building Requirements

UFC 3-101-01 Architecture

UFC 4-010-01 DoD Minimum Antiterrorism Standards for Buildings

UFC 4-610-01 Administration Facilities

US Air Force Family Housing Design Guide for Planning, Programming, Design and Construction