IACC Universal Criteria
PRIORITY OF BUSINESS
A minimum of 60% (based on net area) of meeting space in the conference center is dedicated, single-purpose conference space.
- No less than 60% of all meeting space (including multi-function space, but excluding dining rooms) must be used primarily for conferences and rarely, if ever, “turned over” for other types of events.
- “Dedicated, single-purpose conference space” means (a) space which has been designed to serve conferences (see criteria under Conference Room Design), and (b) space which is used primarily for conference business.
Separate Meeting Rooms
Dedicated conference rooms are separated from living and leisure areas.
- Although a center may have some “meeting suites” on guest room floors, the bulk of conference space should be elsewhere.
Meeting Room Availability
Conference rooms available to clients on a 24-hour basis for storage of materials.
- This criterion does not imply that clients must be given unlimited access to conference facilities at all times. For instance, day centers may close completely at night. The intent, then, is for all conference centers to allow clients with meetings that span more than a single day to secure materials in assigned room(s) overnight.
Ancillary Facility Name
The name of an ancillary conference center (where the conference center approved by IACC is part of a larger hospitality complex, resort or convention hotel) clearly identifies the conference center and differentiates the conference center from the remainder of the complex (e.g., the Executive Meeting Center at the Raintree Hotel, not the Raintree Hotel and Conference Center).
Definition: an “ancillary” center is a readily identifiable conference center which is usually on a separate floor, in a wing, or on the grounds of a larger hospitality complex, such as a resort or convention hotel.
This criterion is intended to reduce marketplace confusion about the conference center product affiliated with IACC membership. To this end, IACC also restricts the use of its name and logo by ancillary facilities. (Contact the IACC office to obtain a copy of the relevant document.)
A minimum of 60% of total revenue from guest rooms, meeting space, food & beverage, audio/visual and conference services is conference related. (If conference center is non-residential or ancillary to a resort or convention hotel, 70% of total sales of the conference center is generated from conferences).
- The percentage of conference-derived revenue is a measure of a facility’s dedication to the conference center concept.
- IACC-member centers often exceed the conference revenue requirement.
- IACC recommends – but does not require – that centers package all conference business.
According to the Universal Criteria, every IACC-member conference center must offer and promote a package plan that includes conference rooms, guest rooms, three meals, continuous refreshment service, conference services, basic A/V and an LCD projector in at least the main meeting room. (Non-residential package includes conference rooms, lunch, continuous refreshment service, conference services, basic A/V and an LCD projector in at least the main meeting room.)
IACC recommends that members package all conference business.
Conference center offers and promotes a package plan which includes conference rooms, guest rooms, three meals, continuous refreshment service, conference services and basic A/V. (Non-residential package includes conference rooms, lunch, continuous refreshment service, conference services and basic A/V.)
- The center must offer and promote a package plan.
- Details of the package must appear in writing, either in collateral materials and/or sales correspondence.
- The spirit of this criterion is not intended to be exclusionary. Some urban centers, for example, do not include dinner in the standard package plan and this is acceptable, assuming they can structure a plan that includes dinner at the request of the client.
- Offering an assortment of packages is also acceptable, if one of them is all-inclusive.
Average group size — 75 people or less.
- Average group size is one obvious point of differentiation between conference centers and convention facilities.
- In addition, IACC believes that specializing in smaller meetings can lead to greater consistency and higher quality in the meeting product.
CONFERENCE ROOM DESIGN
Conference center has sufficient inventory so that at least 60% of all meeting space within the conference center can be set up using ergonomically designed chairs that meet all the following specifications:
- # Chairs have arms.
- # Chairs swivel and tilt synchronously.
- # Chairs allow height adjustment.
- # Chairs have a rounded or waterfall edge on the front of the seat pan.
- # Chairs have a minimum width of 18 inches.
- # Chairs have a depth of 16-17 inches for chairs with non-adjustable seat pans.
- # Chair seat height falls within the range of 15-1/2 to 20-1/2 inches.
- # Chair seats and inside backs are fully upholstered or constructed of Pellicle or like material.
- # Chair arms and outside backs are fully upholstered or constructed of ABS molded plastic, Pellicle or Pellicle-like material.
- # Chair bases have five-prong design with casters. IACC permits the use of any high-grade ergonomic chair that meets all the requirements above.
According to the Universal Criteria, every IACC-member conference center must have sufficient inventory so that at least 60% of all meeting space within the conference center can be set up using ergonomically designed chairs that swivel and tilt and that meet certain other standards as outlined in the criterion. IACC also recommends that members keep the following standards in mind when purchasing new conference chairs:
- The reclining action of the chair should not lift users’ feet off the floor.
- Chair should provide lumbar support between 6-10 inches off the seat pan.
- Backrest height should ideally be 17 inches (but no less than 12½ inches).
- Backrest width should be at least 14 inches.
- The height of armrests should be between 8 and 10 inches, or adjustable within this range.
- Distance between armrests should be at least 18 inches.
- Seat pan angle should be within the range of 0 degrees horizontal to 4 degrees rearward.
Conference center has sufficient inventory so that at least 60% of all meeting space within the conference center can be set up using tables that meet all the following specifications:
- # Tables are at least 24 inches wide.
- # Tables have a non-reflective, hard writing surface with a high-pressure laminate or hardwood veneer finish.
- # Tables have sufficient length to allow at least 30 inches of space per occupant.
- # Table edges are comprised of high-pressure laminate finish or decorative edge banding material that is constructed of vinyl or wood products.
- # Tables have a reverse “T” style leg mechanism or its equivalent with offset legs that are permanently affixed or that fold, and that do not impinge upon the tables’ occupants.
- # Draped, skirted banquet tables are not acceptable.
- As with chairs, IACC permits the use of any high-grade meeting table that meets all the requirements above.
- IACC recommends – but does not require – the use of modesty panels, particularly on tables in the front row.
- While tables themselves must be criteria-compliant, facilities may employ draping and skirting for non-conference setups, or whenever specifically requested by a client.
Controllable level of lighting (50-70 foot candles at tabletop).
- IACC strongly encourages the use of a combination of fluorescent and incandescent lighting, but the level – not the type – is the only absolute requirement.
- A light meter can physically measure the level, or the architect or interior designer can verify it.
- In practice, the required level of light would permit ease of reading, with neither considerable shadow nor glare on the page.
- In addition, IACC recommends that facilities provide conferees with ready access to lighting controls in all meeting rooms.
Climate-controlled conference rooms; conference rooms built after 1993 should have individual climate controls.
- As with lighting, IACC recommends that facilities provide conferees with ready access to climate controls in all meeting rooms. But, availability of climate controls – not their accessibility – is the absolute requirement.
Wall surfaces suitable for tacking or other mounting of flip chart-type sheets.
- Dedicated meeting rooms should all have at least one wall whose surface is suitable for tacking, taping or mechanical mounting of flip chart sheets.
Acoustical rating for sound transmission through all walls of conference rooms meets or exceeds 55-65 STC (Sound Transmission Class) for all fixed walls and 50-55 STC for all operable walls.
- Sound Transmission Class (STC) is a laboratory measure of the passage of sound through variously constructed walls. The architect or acoustical engineer can verify that walls have been designed to satisfy this requirement.
- There are instruments to measure STC in the field, but lab values and field values seldom correspond precisely.
- Practically speaking, this criterion means that only the loudest of sounds in one room would be audible in adjacent rooms, and even then, the sound would be muffled.
Ambient Sound & Reverb
Ambient sound levels within all conference rooms range from 25-35 NC (Background Noise Criteria) or less, and Reverberation Time (RT) falls between 0.8 and 1.2 seconds at mid-frequencies.
- Both Background Noise Criteria (NC) and Reverberation Time (RT) can be measured by technical instruments.
- Again, the architect or engineer can verify that a space has been designed to satisfy these requirements.
- In practice, the ambient sound – from fluorescent lighting fixtures and the HVAC system, for instance – ought to be no more than the slightest whisper in an otherwise silent environment.
- The practical experience of the stipulated reverberation time would strike the average listener as sounding neither “tinny” nor “mushy”, but warm and clear.
Amplified sound is available for all conference rooms over 1000 square feet.
- As with lighting and climate controls, IACC recommends that facilities provide conferees with ready access to sound system controls wherever they are available, but that is not a requirement.
Telephone & Electric Outlets
Each conference room has one in-room telephone outlet and adequate electrical outlets throughout the room.
- Given the ever-increasing demand for computer technology in the training room, IACC strongly encourages the accessibility of multiple telephone/modem lines and ample power outlets in at least some conference room(s).
Conference rooms have unobstructed interior views.
- The spirit of this criterion is important. While pillars in one or two rooms will not necessarily disqualify a facility (particularly with older construction), the vast majority of dedicated conference rooms should have unobstructed interior views.
CONFERENCE AND BUSINESS SERVICES
Staffed with skilled conference planners who can provide customized services that enable the client to meet the objectives of the meeting.
- This criterion concerns the on-site availability and experience of conference planning staff. Typically, these matters goes hand in hand with planner proficiency.
Conference planners are thoroughly proficient in providing effective meeting room setups, menu and special event planning, A/V equipment and services, and other special needs of the client.
- A determination of staff proficiency should be based upon length and breadth of service, experience levels, and quality of interactions with clients.
Ancillary Conference Services
If conference center is ancillary to a resort or convention hotel, it must have a separate, dedicated conference services department which does not also serve the overall complex.
- Ideally, the conference services department of an ancillary facility is housed in the conference center, although this is not an absolute requirement.
- It is required, however, that there are dedicated conference planning and services staff who serve the conference center exclusively.
A designated conference planner is assigned to each conference group.
- It is not required, or expected, that a conference planner serve only one group at a time, but it is required that each and every group be designated one planner who will work with them.
The conference center offers staffed business services from a central location.
According to the Universal Criteria, every IACC-member conference center must offer staffed business services from a central location. The second Recommended Guideline provides details to guide members in implementing this criterion. Based on conferee needs, business services should operate at least from one-half hour prior to the beginning of the first meeting of the day until one-half hour after the final meeting adjourns. During times when the business services location is closed, guests should be directed to other conference center staff for their business services needs. IACC-member conference centers should provide at least the following business services:
- # Basic office supplies (e.g., paper clips, tacks, pens/pencils, tape, scissors, etc.)
- # Computer work stations with current software applications
- # Message/fax notification and delivery system
- # Limited personal computer printing services
- # Paper shredder
- # Word processing services
- # Photocopying services
- # Facsimile services
- # Computer printing services
- # Laptop/notebook computer rental
- # Computer diskettes
- # Audio and/or video cassette tapes
- # Internet access
- # Shipping supplies and services, including postage metering and express shipping
- # Name tag and tent card paper stock
Other optional supplies and services:
- # Binding supplies and services
- # Color transparencies
- # Cellular phone rental
- # Digital camera rental
- # Flip chart enlargement/reduction
- # Laser pointer
- # Foam core board and lamination services
- # Signage production and other graphic arts services
- # PC or digital nametag printer
FOOD & BEVERAGE
Separate dining and conference facilities, with at least one dining area available specifically for the convenience of conference groups.
- Although it need not be used exclusively for conference groups, there must be a separate dining room or cafeteria (or – for day centers only –a dining area) available for the convenience of conferees.
Dining facilities designed to accommodate groups on a flexible meeting schedule (at convenience of group), at least for breakfast and lunch.
- The conference center must generally provide conference dining (buffet or cafeteria service) during the day, with a la carte dining acceptable for dinner.
- It is also acceptable for the center to provide seated or banquet dining for meals, providing there is some flexibility in when the service begins, in order to allow groups to dine when it is convenient for them.
- In light of criterion number 26 below, IACC assumes that lunch can be served within no more than two seatings of an hour each.
Conference center offers continuous refreshment service outside of meeting rooms unless requested otherwise by the client.
- Ideally, the conference center has refreshment break areas or “kiosks” in which food and beverage are restocked throughout the day.
- Some centers may provide refreshment service almost exclusively inside meeting rooms, presumably because this is what clients request or expect.
- This method is acceptable, providing that (1) food and beverage are restocked at least once during each group’s lunch break, and (2) the center willingly provides service outside meeting rooms whenever a group so requests.
Minimum number of dining seats to accommodate the capacity of the conference facility for lunch in two seatings of one hour each.
- To calculate, first determine the normal capacity of the conference center. The number of seats in the dining room(s) must total at least 50% of that capacity.
A/V in Package
On-site standard A/V included as part of the conference package, typically: overhead projectors, flip charts, 35mm slide projectors, microphones and video playback equipment.
- IACC strongly recommends continuous evaluation and upgrade of A/V equipment to reflect current client demands.
- At least one conference package must include basic A/V and computerized image projection in the main meeting room.
- Some centers use external A/V service contractors and this is acceptable, providing the vendor maintains an inventory of standard equipment on site.
LCD Projector Included
Conference center offers and promotes a package plan that includes an LCD projector in the main meeting room.
- IACC encourages facilities to offer packages that include greater quantities and higher levels of technology and projection equipment, but that is not required.
The first Recommended Guideline concerns the availability of current technology and its inclusion as part of the Complete Meeting Package.
- All IACC conference centers should offer the most up-to-date audio/visual presentation equipment to their clients and continually ensure that it is maintained in “first class” condition.
- All standard presentation equipment required by clients in their main conference room should be included in the Complete Meeting Package. As technology changes, the Complete Meeting Package should be updated to ensure that routinely requested equipment is included in the package.
- Every conference center should facilitate guest use of laptop computers. This includes having printers conveniently available for guest use. Dataports should be available in guest rooms via a second telephone line.
- Member conference centers are encouraged to provide Internet connection in all conference rooms, as well as other designated public areas and guest rooms.
Skilled technicians proficient in providing creative program consultation; equipment setup, operation and instruction; and immediate response to service needs.
- Technicians may be members of the center’s staff, or work for an outside service provider. In any event, they should at least have an office or service area on site.
- As with conference services personnel, the determination of proficiency for a center’s A/V technicians should be based upon length and breadth of service, experience levels, and quality of interactions with clients.
Guestroom Work Area
Guest rooms include adequate work station(s) for the occupant(s), adequate reading/work lighting and comfortable seating.
- Ideally, a room with two beds would have two desks and chairs, but this is not an absolute requirement. At the very least, there must be a table or other hard writing surface, with a separate chair for each occupant.
- In addition, there should also be desk or table lighting which is controllable separately from the overhead lighting.
- As in the training room, demand for access to computer technology is increasing in guest accommodations. Therefore, IACC encourages availability of telephone/modem lines and adequate power outlets in the work/desk area of the guest room; however, this is not a requirement.
Guest rooms are separated from conference and leisure areas to allow maximum privacy and comfort.
- Ideally, the physical location of guest rooms should be separate from conference and leisure areas.
- If intermingled, there must be adequate soundproofing to ensure privacy and comfort in guest rooms.
For professional meetings north of the Mass Pike, contact our sister conference center, Forefront, conveniently located just off Route 128 in Waltham at 781.290.2700 • www.forefrontcenter.com