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ORF Home > Technical Resources > DTR - Who We Are

DTR - Who We Are


Division of Technical Resources (DTR) Office of the Director (OD)

  • Leads the conduct of Scientific Bioenvironmental 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. The results of these studies have often been adopted as national and international standards for biomedical laboratories and healthcare facilities.
  • Manages and operates the Bethesda Campus Central Utility Plant (CUP), the Cogeneration Plant and the NIH Utility Distribution System (except electrical distribution) in accordance with the State of Maryland environmental standards to ensure that utilities are delivered safely and efficiently. 
  • Manages utility and energy contracts and purchases, and validates steam and electricity bills for the Bethesda Campus in the interest of maintaining the public trust.
  • Leads advanced computational analysis and mathematical models to improve biomedical environments; develops energy forecasting models to reduce energy consumption while improving indoor air quality in biomedical laboratories, animal research and health care facilities; and employs numerical modeling and trend analysis strategies to facilitate purchasing decisions that maximize cost savings using an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) in conjunction with Holt-Winter triple exponential smoothing that takes into account seasonal and trend changes.

DTR Technical Support Branc(TS​B)

  • Provides technical expertise and consultation, comprehensive design reviews, quality assurance and oversight for design and construction documents for NIH intramural and extramural (e.g., grantees, international projects, and over 150 colleges and universities) BSL-2, BSL-3, and BSL-4 biomedical research facilities, Picture of a hall way.animal research facilities, aseptic production facilities, healthcare facilities, data centers, the NIH Central Utility Plant (CUP), and Cogeneration (COGEN) Plant through the established and systematic design review process that ensures that NIH facility design and construction conform to applicable regulations, codes and standards, policies, and guidelines.
  • Conducts studies of an unusual scope and highly complex and technical nature for emerging technologies and trends that are applied to the design of NIH facilities through the NIH Design Requirements Manual (DRM) and other codes and standards.
  • Oversees conduct of root cause analysis and implementation of corrective actions related to design and construction of NIH facilities.
  • Provides enforcement and active involvement in building commissioning and certification of new and renovated high and maximum biocontainment laboratories.

TSB Facilities Compliance and Inspection Section (FCIS)

​The Facilities Compliance and Inspection Section (FCIS) is responsible for providing quality assurance oversight of the design, construction, commissioning, validation, turnover, maintenance and of NIH Aseptic Processing Facilities (APF) that produce therapeutic, diagnostic and research products for human use, inclusive of pharmaceuticals, radiopharmaceuticals, and biologics. Additionally, FCIS:​

  • Picture of a lab with equipment in it.Is responsible for quality assurance oversight of the planning, design, construction, commissioning, validation, turnover, operations, and maintenance (total life cycle) of NIH mission-critical facilities, specifically the Aseptic Processing Facility (APF) program which consists of facilities and support spaces and systems which produce therapeutic, diagnostic, and research pharmaceuticals, radiopharmaceuticals, and biologics for human use.
  • Ensures that APF facilities are maintained in a state of control, compliant with regulation and current industry best practices to minimize risk of harm to patients, staff, and the environment, while promoting patient health and the advancement of biomedical research.
  • Provides continuous monitoring of critical environmental parameters, analysis, and reporting via Critical Facility Monitoring Center (CFMC) daily reports, and data access via various dashboards and web portal on the health status of each facility.
  • Provides quality assurance oversight of the Division of Facility Operations and Maintenance (DFOM) support of the APF portfolio, including deviation management, workplan review, internal audits, etc.
  • Manages and facilitates a Change Management Board (CMB) for the APF program which assures all facility changes are reviewed for impact on regulatory, engineering, and operations, including the incorporation of any mitigations deemed appropriate to reduce the risk of performing these activities.

DTR Standards and Policy Branch (SP​B)

  • Develops and maintains ORF policies and national and international standards for NIH facilities' Picture of the DRM Coverdesign, construction, commissioning, biocontainment 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.
  • Develops and maintains the NIH Design Requirements Manual (DRM), which provides detailed design requirements and guidance for complex biomedical and animal research facilities in the United States.
  • Manages and maintains the DTR Permit Review Application site, through which construction documents are reviewed for compliance with the  DRM as well as other applicable codes, standards and NIH requirements. Permit Review Flow Chart.
  • Develops Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), standards and guidelines for NIH facility design and construction.
  • Develops technical publications such as News to Use and NIH Technical Bulletins to assist design professionals in providing the highest quality facilities. These are distributed electronically to over 11,000 readers.
    Picture of the News to Use
  • Conducts studies of complex facility-related engineering problems that impact applications in the NIH DRM.
  • Manages the NIH design review and intake system for all construction documents for intramural projects.
  • Manages the ORF Technical Library containing the latest codes, standards, and relevant technical publications.
  • Maintains and manages International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) certification for technical and professional continuing education in ORF. 
Picture of IACET Logo

DTR has been approved once again as an (IACET) Accredited Provider. ​IACET is an internationally-recognized organization dedicated to setting the highest possible standards for continuing education and training. The ANSI/IACET Standard is the backbone of leading educational programs worldwide, and IACET Accredited Providers are the only organizations approved to offer IACET Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

In order to earn Accredited Provider status, DTR completed a rigorous application process in 2010, which included a review by an IACET site visitor, and successfully demonstrated adherence to the ANSI/IACET 1-2007 Standard regarding the design, development, administration, and evaluation of its programs. The program has since maintained its Accredited Provider status by submitting a comprehensive reaccreditation application once every five years; as of the most recent reaccreditation, the DTR Training Program is compliant with the current ANSI/IACET 1-2018 Standard.

​​​DTR Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Application Branch (DSAIAB)

  • ​​Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Application Branch (DSAIAB), formerly known as Utilities Engineering Branch (UEB), is a branch within the Division of Technical Resources (DTR). 
  • DSAIAB data platform collects over 350 million daily data points and performs approximately 1 million advanced calculations per day to assist DTR's decision-making processes. In addition, DSAIAB assists NIH's Aseptic Facilities and NIH's Central Utility Plant (CUP), which is one of the largest and most technologically advanced utility plants in the U.S. 
  • DSAIAB employs artificial neural networks, gradient-boosted models, Bayesian​ optimization, and other machine learning/artificial intelligence-based optimization software packages to generate over 175,000 data points per day for approximately 12,500 constrained variables, which are used to optimize operations.
  • DSAIAB implements a Data Governance framework, a strategy that incorporates and defines data management practices for the entire life cycle of data and provides the structure for managing the availability, consistency, trustworthiness, usability, integrity, and security of all data in its enterprise.

 NIH Central Utility Plant (CUP)

Picture of the  Central Utility Plant Operations Data
Picture of the front of the NIH Power Plant

  • Ensures that the Bethesda campus CUP and central utility distribution system (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;
  • Conducts formal root-cause analyses of non-normal CUP operating conditions and system failures;
  • Develops corrective action plans and ensures that the solutions receive timely attention and required funding;
  • Oversees design activities, condition assessments, construction, and commissioning activities in the central plant;
  • Conducts and coordinates short- and long-term major buildings and facilities planning analyses and forecasting models to meet facility planning requirements;
  • Develops and oversees standards of performance for utility operations and maintenance contract work;
  • Manages utility contracts and purchasing;
  • Validates steam and electrical bills; 
  • Develops energy conservation measures for the power plant;
  • Develops technical SOPs 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.

Utilities Generation Branch (UGB)

  • Operates the Bethesda campus CUP in accordance with the State of Maryland environmental standards. 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. UGB has two sections: the COGEN Plant Section (CPS) and the Utilities Maintenance Section (UMS).


  • COGEN Plant Section (CPS)
Picture of the Human Machine Interface for the cogenPicture of the New Cogen Turbine
  • Calibrates, operates, and maintains one of the largest U.S. government cogeneration plants, which is also one of the cleanest cogeneration systems in the world. The CPS, through its constant vigilance, enables the NIH to effectively and economically meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The CPS purchases natural gas using financial analyses and hedging strategies that save the NIH millions of dollars 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.

Utilities Maintenance Section (UMS)

Picture of a man calibrating and maintaining digital controls and monitoring equipment

            • UMS is the hub for calibrating and maintaining all digital controls and monitoring equipment; and works in conjunction with the DSAIAB​ 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.



 Utilities Distribution Branch (UDB)

Picture of a hole dug in the ground exposing a water pipe that is spraying water

    • Coordinating with Building Unit personnel to ensure buildings are shut down safely for maintenance purposes.
    • Monitoring utility construction projects to ensure that projects meet design and functional needs.
    • Responding to utility emergencies and restoring services as quickly as possible.
    • Long-term planning for utility related projects that will replace aging infrastructure.
    • Coordinating with the Master Planning Department on future growth needs of the NIH campus to ensure adequate utility services.
    • Providing drawing review for projects that affect utility distribution or for new connections to the distribution system.


 Utilities Systems Design and Technical Services Branch (USDTSB)

  • Provides architectural, engineering and construction management services required for planning, designing, acquiring, constructing, altering, renovating, improving and repairing utility systems and other types of facility projects, as needed. Provides program and project planning advice and consultation during project formulation stage including the production of project concepts, schedules, estimates and programs of requirements.  USDTSB is also responsible for monitoring and reporting on progress of projects against approved programs of requirements, budgets, and schedules.

  • Responsible for managing projects under its purview to successful completion by implementing project controls and risk management strategies to minimize variance from approved programs of requirements, budgets, and schedules.  Keeps customers from the NIH community fully involved and informed on the project schedules, costs, and progress.
Picture of a water tank being built

This page was last updated on Mar 26, 2024