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ORF Home > Construction > Renovations


NIH’s existing portfolio in research facilities reaches into the billions of dollars. A primary goal of the Office of Research Facilities is to ensure that existing facilities continue to be efficient and productive places for meeting the challenges of conducting innovative biomedical research. As the nature of research changes, so must research facilities change to meet the needs of the scientific community. The Division of Design and Construction Management (DDCM) responsible for managing renovations of existing space in owned and leased facilities.

Non-maintenance building renovations related to the installation or use of special purpose equipment are performed at the request of the occupant.  Incidental work requiring B&F funding must be approved by the Repair & Improvements (R&I) Board before proceeding.  All work that may be funded by operating funds is charged directly to the appropriate Institute/Center (IC). To initiate the work, the requestor must transmit an electronic Work Request through the IC Administrative Officer to the Construction Desk Page (  An ORF Project Officer will provide the IC Administrative Officer with a cost estimate to do the work.

On this page:

Minor Alterations
Moderate and Extensive Alterations
Alterations in Leased Facilities
To Initiate a Work Request
Checking Work Request and Project Status

Minor Alterations (generally those below $25,000) to laboratory and animal facilities include such changes as bench tops, chalkboards, and electrical outlets, as well as minor partition changes and other similar work.  Renovations or alterations to offices, even though minor, require Buildings and Facilities (B&F) funding.  Work requests received in the Business Support Branch are sent directly to the Small Alterations Team in the Division of Design and Construction Management (DDCM) which performs the work using a private sector contractor. The IC Administrative Officer must submit the Work Request to the Construction Desk Page (

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Moderate and Extensive Renovations range from work such as the relocation of doors and partitions and installation of casework and bench tops to remodeling multiple laboratory modules and more extensive utility modifications. The work is designed by teams within the Division of Design and Construction Management (DDCM) or by a private sector architectural/engineering (A/E) firm, and it is performed by a private sector construction contractor. The time needed to complete the work varies according to the complexity, availability of materials and access to the space. The process for initiating the work is the same as with a minor alteration: A Work Request must be submitted by the IC Administrative Officer to the Construction Desk Page ( Throughout the project, the DDCM Project Officer is the point-of-contact for the IC customer.

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Alterations in Leased Facilities require somewhat different procedures from those used in NIH-owned buildings. There are two contracting mechanisms used in leased buildings. The Supplemental Lease Agreement (SLA) is used for moderate and extensive renovations, and the Pre-Authorized Tenant Work Form (PATW) is used for small jobs that do not require any design and do not impact building structural or mechanical infrastructure in any way. No fee-for-service is charged for PATW work. It may be purchased with a credit card as long as the cost does not exceed $2,500 and other requirements of the PATW are met.

Requests for renovation should go from the IC Administrative Officer to the building’s Facility Manager, who will help determine whether the work requires an SLA or a PATW and will assist with submitting a Work Request to the Construction Desk Page (

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To Initiate A Work Request: An electronic Work Request must come through the IC Administrative Officer to the Construction Desk Page (​

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Checking Work Request and Project Status: The ORF Project Officer is the single point of contact for the IC for information on the status of the Work Request and other aspects of the project. The Project Officer should be contacted concerning desired modifications to the original request, as well as issues concerning the work performance. Upon completion of the job, the individual who submitted the Work Request will be invited to inspect the work with the Project Officer to assure that it has been satisfactorily completed.

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Funding: Funds are requested by the Business Support Branch to support design fees, construction cost and administration fees. Federal regulations govern the types of funding that may be used for different kinds of renovation projects and even for parts of projects. ORF has developed funding guidance to help customers understand the appropriate use of funds for construction and renovation projects.



This page was last updated on Apr 17, 2024