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Standards, Policies & Guidelines

The Division of Technical Resources (DTR) is an International Standards Organization (ISO) 9001:2008 certified division within the NIH Office of Research Facilities (ORF) that provides technical support to the ORF and various NIH institutes through numerous services, which include
  • Providing consultation, comprehensive design reviews, oversight, and quality assurance of design and construction documents for NIH intramural and extramural biosafety level (BSL-) 2, 3, and 4 biomedical and animal research facilities and numerous NIH grant projects.
  • Ensuring that NIH facility design and construction projects, as well as the Bethesda campus central utility plant (CUP), cogeneration plant, and the central utility distribution systems conform to applicable regulations, codes, standards, policies, and guidelines.
  • Developing and maintaining the NIH Design Requirements Manual (DRM), which provides detailed design requirements and guidance for biomedical and animal research facilities in the United States.
  • Developing  standard operating procedures and guidance for processes for which the DTR is responsible.
  • Providing technical training in compliance with the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) standards.
  • Conducting scientific studies and research to resolve technical issues of an unusual scope and difficulty to advance emerging scientific technologies used in the design of federal biomedical research facilities. In many cases, the results of the studies conducted by the DTR have been adopted as national and international standards for biomedical laboratories and healthcare facilities.
  • Providing consultative services, oversight, and technical support for the operation, maintenance, monitoring, and quality assurance of the Bethesda CUP, cogeneration plant, and central utility distribution systems to ensure that utilities are delivered safely, efficiently, and optimally.

The DTR is comprised of the Office of the Director, five branches, and two sections:

The DTR Office of the Director (OD) oversees the development and management of innovative and emerging scientific technology projects that are of an unusual scope and difficulty, which are used in the design of federal biomedical research and healthcare facilities. The OD conducts feasibility studies, comprehensive analyses, and leads investigations of an unusual scope and difficulty; ensures compliance with ISO 9001:2008 certification standards and guidelines; oversees the development and implementation of performance assessment and management control systems to ensure that operations for which it is responsible conform to applicable regulations, codes, standards, policies, and guidelines; develops policies that the ORF oversees; provides appropriate source and site utility distribution analyses to comply with short- and long-term facility planning requirements; operates the Bethesda campus CUP and utility distribution systems (except electrical distribution) in accordance with the State of Maryland environmental standards; manages utility contracts and purchases, and validates steam and electrical bills for the Bethesda Campus in the interest of maintaining the public trust.
The Standards and Policy Branch (SPB) develops and maintains ORF policies, standard operating procedures (SOPs), technical position papers, and national and international standards for NIH facilities’ design, construction, commissioning, bio-containment certification and operations, and maintenance programs for new, renovated, and leased facilities in the intramural and extramural design and construction program as well as for select grantees. These are based on best practices and state-of-the-art bio-environmental research conducted at the NIH. The SPB is responsible for maintaining and updating the NIH Design Requirements Manual and writing monthly News to Use and Technical Bulletins that are available on the DTR website. It also conducts studies of complex facility-related engineering problems that impact applications in the NIH Design Requirements Manual. The SPB developed and manages the NIH design review and intake system for all construction documents for intramural projects. As an IACET authorized provider, the SPB provides professional development and IACET continuing education units  (CEUs) by organizing training programs, conferences, and seminars that present new technologies, best practices, and lessons learned in the design and construction of large, complex biomedical research facilities with an emphasis on biodefense, high containment, animal care, security, central utilities, and state-of-the-art developments applicable to the disciplines of facility design, engineering, architecture, and bio-environmental studies. The SPB also manages the ORF technical library by ensuring that the latest codes, standards, and relevant technical publications are available for reference.
The Technical Support Branch (TSB) ensures that NIH facility design and construction conform to applicable regulations, codes and standards, policies, and guidelines through the comprehensive review and oversight of design and construction documents for NIH intramural and extramural BSL-2, BSL-3, and BSL-4 biomedical research and animal research facilities. The TSB provides design review, technical expertise, and consultative services for healthcare facilities, numerous grants, international projects, and over 150 colleges and universities through the established design review process; provides enforcement and active involvement in building commissioning and certification of new and renovated high and maximum biocontainment laboratories; conducts studies of an unusual scope and highly complex and technical nature; and reviews estimating approaches and independent government estimates prepared for projects managed by other ORF divisions. 
The Utilities Engineering Branch (UEB) ensures that the Bethesda campus CUP and central utility distribution systems (except electrical distribution) operate reliably and in accordance with the State of Maryland environmental standards by providing engineering-based expertise, strategies, and oversight of CUP and facility maintenance operations to ensure continuous, efficient, and optimal plant performance. The UEB conducts formal root-cause analyses of non-normal CUP operating conditions and system failures; develops corrective action plans; ensures that the solutions receive timely attention and required funding; oversees design activities, condition assessments, construction, and commissioning activities in the central plant; and conducts and coordinates short- and long-term major buildings and facilities planning analyses and forecasting models to meet facility planning requirements.  The UEB is responsible for developing and overseeing standards of performance for utility operations and maintenance contract work; managing utility contracts and purchasing; validating steam and electrical bills; and developing energy conservation measures for the power plant. The UEB develops technical standard operating procedures and manuals to ensure efficient system operations and energy conservation, and reviews project plans and designs for compatibility with existing systems and consistency with future facility development plans.
The Utilities Generation Branch (UGB) operates the Bethesda campus CUP in accordance with the State of Maryland environmental standards; it has two sections, the COGEN plant section (CPS)  and the utilities maintenance section (UMS). The UGB oversees the physical, mechanical, and electrical maintenance of all CUP systems related to the generation of chilled water, steam, and compressed air, as well as other utility systems pertaining to the central plant.
·        The COGEN Plant Section (CPS) calibrates, operates, and maintains one of the largest U.S. government cogeneration plants, which is also the cleanest cogeneration system in the world. The CPS, through its constant vigilance, enables the NIH to effectively and economically meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The CPS purchases natural gas using financial analyses and  hedging strategies that save the NIH millions annually, and negotiates sophisticated and unique contracts with utility providers. The CPS conducts routine emissions tests; conducts formal root-cause analyses and ensures that the solutions receive timely attention and required funding; creates high-performance solutions to energy inefficiency; conducts risk assessments related to mechanical failures and energy utilization; oversees upgrades to the CUP and associated systems; and procures and oversees the delivery of portable boiler units when required.
 
·        The Utilities Maintenance Section (UMS) is the hub for calibrating and maintaining all digital controls and monitoring equipment, and works in conjunction with the UEB to review the controls that optimize plant operation to ensure that the boilers match established performance curves. The UMS develops and revises the standard operating procedures for the CUP functions and oversees programming issues and start-up logic of new controls to optimize 24/7 operations. The UMS is responsible for performing preventive, predictive, and corrective maintenance on a scheduled and emergency basis of all CUP systems. 
The Utilities Distribution Branch (UDB) operates the Bethesda campus central utility distribution systems (except electrical distribution) in accordance with the State of Maryland environmental standards. The UDB monitors all distribution systems related to the CUP to ensure that utilities are delivered safely, efficiently, and optimally; provides communications and coordination with outside utility providers; and oversees all maintenance of utility distribution systems related to the power plant. 
  
Studies on which ORF collaborates to improve indoor air quality and save energy in biomedical and animal research facilities.
 
Design policies and guidelines for biomedical and animal research facilities.
 
The NIH Central Utility Plant (CUP) houses five traditional gas and oil-fired boilers that produce steam and twelve chillers that produce chilled water for cooling.  Cogeneration (Cogen), also called Combined Heat and Power (CHP), is the process whereby a single fuel source, such as natural gas, is used to produce both electrical and thermal energy.
 
Conference & Training
 
Design Requirements Manual News to Use Newsletters
 
Facilities Development Manual Sections
 
Fire Protection - Specifications
 
NIH Standard CAD Details
 
Optimizing Data Center Design For The Future
 
Practices and Standards listed below are to be used in renovation projects and to supplement the NIH Design Policy and Guidelines by addressing exceptions applicable to specific existing buildings.
 
Safety Standards & Operating Procedures ( SSOPs)
 
DTR Technical Bulletins
 
Minimum criteria for construction of temporary structures at NIH.
 
DTR White Papers 
 
This page was last updated on Nov 12, 2013