NECESSARY SHORT-TERM ACTIONS
Recommendation 4.1: The currently identified $1.3 billion in the Backlog of Maintenance and Repair (BMAR) should be funded in two tranches. First, fund the entire long-term infrastructure improvements totaling approximately $700 million over a specific time period (e.g., 5 years) so that a comprehensive plan can be undertaken to support the ongoing research activities and begin preparation and support for any future Master Plan improvements. (The full title is “2013 Comprehensive Master Plan—Bethesda Campus.”) Second, the remaining $600 million needs to be considered for each building in light of its future as defined in the approved Master Plan.
Recommendation 5.2: NIH should utilize the changes in the Building and Facilities prioritization model to complete an analysis of projects to modify or replace Building 12, the Building 14/28 complex, and various active or planned projects to renovate or replace portions of Building 10 occupied by the Clinical Center. If the analysis supports a high priority for these projects, then NIH should continue with efforts to move forward as quickly as possible with these projects.
REVISE EXPENDITURE PLANNING PROCESSES AND PRACTICES
Recommendation 4.2: The Buildings and Facilities account, or other account, should have an annual dedicated investment amount—determined by considering the amount of Backlog of Maintenance and Repair (BMAR), building condition index, and historical levels of spending—for reduction or elimination of BMAR that can be used only for this purpose.
Recommendation 4.3: NIH should adopt and implement a Deferred Maintenance and Repair program focused on building and utility system condition data that will minimize or eliminate
specific failures that are disruptive to mission accomplishment and to reduce Backlog of Maintenance and Repair while attaining the building Condition Index (CI) target stated in the Master Plan. The methods that the committee recommends for capital planning prioritization—that is, incorporating CI and mission dependency—can be adapted for this purpose.
IMPROVE CAPITAL PLANNING TOOLS AND METHODS
Recommendation 5.1: NIH should revise its Building and Facilities (B&F) prioritization model so that a significant portion of the 1,000-point scoring system (no less than one-third of the total points) includes the Condition Index and Mission Dependency Index as objective parameters. Using this revised model, NIH should reassess all current projects in the 5-year B&F plan. The balance of the $1.3 billion of funding (i.e., $600 million) should be prioritized based on this assessment. This assessment could also be used to determine the annual required funding set aside.
Recommendation 7.1: NIH should study the non-NIH federal research programs described in this report, among others, and incorporate or adopt, where appropriate, functionally similar assessment, prioritization, and funding strategies for the purpose of better meeting facilities and infrastructure investment needs.
TREAT THE CAMPUS AND ITS ACTIVITIES AS AN INTERRELATED AND INTEGRATED SYSTEM
Recommendation 6.1: NIH should integrate its research strategic plan with its capital facility asset management plans, with explicit prioritization aimed at relating the long-term research strategy to the long-term campus Master Plan. This integration should include a rigorous and detailed 10-year plan for reduction of its Backlog of Maintenance and Repair that is embedded within the institution’s major capital improvement plan (currently the Buildings and Facilities/Nonrecurring Expenses Fund-funded 5-year plan). These plans should undergo annual review, redevelopment as needed based on review, and adoption at the highest levels of NIH.
SOLICIT INPUT FROM EXPERTS EXTERNAL TO NIH
Recommendation 5.3: NIH should seek out the federal agencies referenced in this report, along with other similar agencies, to determine if there are best practices that it can utilize. NIH should consider regular (e.g., quarterly) engagements with these agencies to review its Capital Asset Management Program, as well as how the engagement of key individuals from the institutes and centers (at all levels of the organization who are impacted by the program) and the private sector could enhance the success of NIH projects.
Recommendation 6.2: NIH should establish a formal external interdisciplinary peer review panel to provide ongoing review of NIH capital assets, the annual project plan, the 5-year plan, the master plan, and the integrated research strategic plan and master plan, including enhancing interactions and collaboration among Intramural Research Program research personnel and partners.
Recommendation 6.3: NIH should establish processes and a system that ensure third-party, expert peer review of all adopted Office of Research Facilities preplanning programs of requirements and total project capital cost models.
Recommendation 7.3: NIH should convene an annual capital facilities planning workshop or similar forum with other federal agencies and academic research institutions for the purpose of assessing NIH capital asset management program processes and identifying improvements, including the ongoing development of a capital financial resource sustainability plan. The proceedings of this workshop and any recommendations should be distributed to the institutes and centers and central administrative leaders, among others, and be used to inform Intramural Research Program budget development. There should be broad participation in the workshop, including by principal investigators, junior faculty, and research laboratory staff; capital and operating budget staff; information technology leaders; capital planning staff; campus infrastructure operations staff and maintenance leaders; and representatives from other federal agencies and academic research institutions.
Recommendation 7.2: NIH should implement a capital facilities planning governance structure, functionally similar to that utilized by other scientific agencies noted in this report, aimed at facilitating an integrated, transparent, and inclusive capital asset planning decision making process. This governance structure should facilitate tracking the agency’s progress toward achieving its strategic and programmatic objectives.
Recommendation 7.4: To verify the presence of subject-matter expertise within its core administrative leadership, NIH should review and consider whether its organizational structure ensures that its Bethesda Campus scientific research and capital assets management strategies and plans are aligned. In doing so, NIH should consider how other federal agencies with research missions have accomplished this end by assigning a senior organizational leader with such responsibilities and empowering that person with commensurate authority.
Recommendation 8.1: NIH should explicitly prioritize the initiatives specified within the NIH-wide Strategic (Research) Plan and the 2013 Bethesda Campus Master Plan (or its successor), which emphasize the importance of enhancing interactions and collaboration among Intramural Research Program research personnel and partners through shared space and facilities, and the need for flexible and adaptable facilities to accommodate such collaborations and rapidly changing research program needs. This should apply to existing facilities as well as new facilities, and through further enhancement of key strategic shared core assets such as Biowulf and the Clinical Center.
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