Indian Affairs | Office of Facilities Management and Construction
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Division of Facilities Management and Construction (DFMC)

Division of Facilities Management and Construction reports to the Director of the Office of Facilities, Property and Safety Management.

The Division of Facilities Management and Construction is a growing, dynamic organization which is in the midst of improving upon the ways in which the Indian Affairs (IA) meets its stewardship responsibilities to plan, design, build, operate, and maintain Bureau-funded Indian Education, Law Enforcement, and Administration facilities.

The headquarters Division is located in Albuquerque, N.M. Professional staffs consist of engineers, architects, facility managers, and support personnel who provide expertise in all facets of the construction and facility fields. Our staffs recognize that facilities represent capital investments by the Bureau in the health and safety of our students and staff. We also realize that properly maintained facilities are critical to the effective performance of the Bureau's missions and to the provision of government services to Indian tribes and individuals.
DFMC Mission

"The mission of the Division of Facilities Management and Construction is to ensure the efficient and effective stewardship of resources for new construction, renovation, and maintenance of Bureau-funded facilities."

Key Program Services

• Architectural Planning, Design, Construction
• Inspection, Historical Preservation, Archeological Compliance
• New and Replacement Construction
• Facilities Improvement and Repair
• Engineering Services: Electrical, Mechanical, Structural, Seismic, Value, Civil, Energy,        
   Environmental, Safety, Sanitary
• Acquisition Services
• Property Management Services
• Telecommunication: Data, Voice, Radio, and Microwave

The Facilities Management and Construction Center was established under Congressional mandate in 1977; at that time it was placed under the direction of the Department's Division of Construction Management (OCM) and then renamed the Office of Facilities Management and Construction (OFMC) in 1997. In 2012 OFMC transferred the Facilities Program operational and execution functions back to BIA, and the organization was renamed the Division of Facilities Management and Construction (DFMC).


Program Descriptions

Replacement Schools

The Replacement School Construction program provides for the replacement of total or major portions of existing facilities in those instances where rehabilitation, upgrade, or repair of the existing facilities is not economically feasible or because of student capacity needs, required functional changes, and costs.

The Replacement School Construction program constructs and equips facilities for the more than 50,000 Indian students that attend 185 Bureau-owned schools. The Program's funding utilizes a Bureau-published Education Facilities Replacement Construction Priority List, which sets the list of schools most needing replacement.

Facilities Improvement and Repair (FI&R)

The Bureau's Facilities Improvement and Repairs (FI&R) program is focused towards eliminating critical health and safety hazards in Bureau education facilities. The FI&R program seeks to maximize the use of existing educational facilities and reduce the costs of repair, operation, and maintenance by repairing, rehabilitating or replacing educational facilities in lieu of complete new construction. This is accomplished when economically justified, including the renovation, improvement, demolition and addition of facilities.

Funds appropriated for FI&R are used to improve, repair, renovate, and demolish highest priority items in the backlog of deficiencies to provide safe, functional, economical, and energy efficient facilities in support of education.

Minor Improvements and Repair (MI&R)

The MI&R program provides guidance and administration of funds for immediate and quick fix items for facilities safety and operations, which without remedial action would impact the integrity of the facility.

The MI&R program identifies deficiencies, which cannot wait on a FI&R project, and urgency requires that remedial action take place as soon as possible. The budgetary parameters for each MI&R backlog item is a minimum of $1,000 per item and a maximum of $25,000 per item. For backlog items greater than $250,000 work is considered under the Education or Non-Education MI&R program.

Operations and Maintenance (O&M)

The Operations and Maintenance Program (O&M) is the accomplishment of day-to-day functions that keep the Bureau's facilities useful to the maximum extent possible for the benefit of the Indian community. Safety is a primary consideration, and a major objective of the O&M program is to keep facilities, including equipment, in safe operating condition. O&M duties are typically performed by BIA facilities staff, however, for P.L. 93-638 contracts and grants, O&M is performed by contract or grant staff. BIA facilities staff needs to oversee and cooperate with contracts and grants O&M staff to ensure safe facilities.

The Structural Fire Protection Program (SFPP)

The Structural Fire Protection Program is striving to establish an adequate and functional fire suppression program. This is being accomplished by the upgrade, replacement or installation of fire protection systems (smoke detectors and sprinklers) in facilities and establishing operational fire departments.Four million (4,000,000) square feet of facilities have been identified for fire protection system retrofit. Identified are the fire training and equipment needs for firefighters with the standardization of equipment.

Special emphasis is placed on boarding schools, for the retrofit of fire alarm or suppression systems. The future plans are to reevaluate priorities of facilities initially identified for installation of fire protection systems and to continue to budget for the purchase of new fire trucks, equipment and provide continuous firefighter training.

The Seismic Program

A seismic inventory of the Bureau owned and leased buildings was collected, along with estimated costs of mitigating unacceptable seismic risks in that inventory. The inventory and cost information also was used to develop reliable information for a new public policy. The Interagency Committee on Seismic Safety in Construction (ICSSC) has issued guidance on how to develop the inventory and cost estimate for the thirty Federal departments and agencies with an interest in seismic safety, which participates in the ICSSC.

The Bureau's inventory and cost estimate has been submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which issued a "comprehensive report on how to achieve an adequate level of seismic safety in federally owned and leased buildings in an economically feasible manner."Other additional documentation submitted included the building database containing 7000 records.

The Telecommunications Program

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration requires that all Federal Government radio systems be converted to narrowband by Jan. 1, 2005. The number of discrete channels available for assignment will basically double due to the transition. This will allow more radio systems to be put into operation and reduce chances of interference, such as from foreign radio systems. Narrowband conversion efforts began with the Navajo and Southwest regions. The Bureau is focusing on these two regions since they have telecommunications specialists who are already well along in the conversion process, required of Federal agencies. The conversion effort will be extensive since the BIA has a significant inventory of mobile radios, portable radios, fixed-base stations, remote control stations, communications centers, commercial power repeaters and solar power repeaters that require conversion.

Many of the radio tower repeaters are shared with other Federal and Tribal agencies for law enforcement, forestry, fire protection, facilities management and education. Interestingly, the Bureau will likely seek a waiver from the Department of the Interior for narrowband UHF frequency radios since many of these portable units are only operated in limited range locations such as school campuses. It is estimated that some 20 percent of the Navajo Region radio frequency applications fit this criteria. Since most of the remaining 10 Regions have yet to begin conversion to narrowband, a review team analyzed all these remaining Regions to validate inventory and coordinate with law enforcement efforts. It is anticipated that the subsequent conversion process will parallel BIA Law Enforcement's conversion schedule.

The Environmental Program

These funds will be used to address critical environmental issues affecting educational facilities, supporting the Bureau's long-term goal of improving the safety and functionality of facilities for clients. Environmental issues that will be addressed are those that pose a direct threat to the safety of the facility users; correcting them is crucial.

Crucial issues include: performing required asbestos re-inspections of schools under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) and conducting asbestos abatements in those cases where students may be exposed to friable asbestos; continuing underground storage tank remediation of soil and groundwater for sites where USTs were removed to meet the EPA 1998 UST closure deadline; upgrading or replacing leaking heating oil tanks; conducting soil and groundwater remediation where needed; upgrading or replacing above ground storage tanks and developing spill prevention plans; conducting lead-based paint testing and abatement projects, particularly at educational facilities attended by younger children whose development is most affected by exposure to lead; and, performing water and waste water treatment system upgrades to ensure that users of these facilities have safe water to drink and are not exposed to sewage discharges.

Other efforts required include replacing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) containing fluorescent light ballasts that are in critical danger of leaking PCBs into the occupied spaces of educational buildings and removing other hazardous wastes from schools. In addition, funds will be used for required environmental corrective actions at education facilities that are identified by the Bureau's environmental auditing program. All of these corrective actions are required by EPA statute or regulation or are necessary to protect the health of school children, educational employees, and visitors to educational facilities.

The Roof Repair/Replacement Program

Funds provided are used to address and reduce the backlog of roofing deficiencies in various Bureau education facilities. Buildings must be re-roofed on a periodic basis. Leaks in roofs can cause structural damage to building roof support members, which could result in roof failure and subsequent injury to building occupants. Insulation above ceilings or directly under the roof membrane can become wet and result in a growth of mold and mildew resulting in poor air quality, or ?sick building syndrome, affecting the health of occupants. Wet insulation also contributes to lowering the insulation value, which in turn could cause energy costs to increase. Providing roofing repairs and replacement will allow the Bureau to protect its capital investments and allow education program functions to continue uninterrupted. Projects are placed in priority order to arrest deterioration, protect Government property and prevent adverse effects on the programs housed in these facilities. Factors such as location, size, existing condition, and roof material types affect costs of roof repairs and replacement.

The Employee Housing Program

Indian Affairs maintains employee housing consisting of Single Family Houses, duplex, triplex, and apartment units. The majority are in poor condition with an average age of 69 years requiring costly repairs and maintenance. These housing units are typically located in remote areas where private-sector housing are not available.  Housing is provided to key employees such as principals, teachers, facility managers, security officers, and other staff as determined by the program.

Funds are used to concentrate on projects that abate life threatening deficiencies and those items that are beyond the scope of normal maintenance. The program focuses on improvement projects, which will prevent occurrences of future deficiencies. For example, funds may be used to upgrade existing systems to prevent electrical shock, fire, explosions, carbon monoxide poisoning or asphyxiation. Upgrades to egress and electrical warning systems ensure the safe and timely exit of occupants when danger exists. Other improvements under the program include the upgrade of sanitary facilities to prevent the occurrence and spread of disease. Structural repairs prevent falls and collapse of support systems such as floors, steps and decks.

Condition surveys will continue to update deferred maintenance backlog deficiency listings, which are used to prioritize all abatement, improvement and replacement projects. In addition, environmental inspections address critical occurrences of lead-based paint that may endanger a child's life, and continue to assess the potential risk of unregulated heating fuel tanks to potable water aquifers.

The Emergency Repair Program

This Bureau program makes funds available for immediate repair/correction of deficiencies that meet emergency criteria at education facilities. Emergency repair and correction of deficiencies prevent injury and allow continuation of daily program operations. Funds are provided on an as-needed basis. Emergency repair needs result from unforeseen deficiencies, which require immediate corrective action to allow continued day-to-day operation of programs. The projects are completed through Bureau force account or emergency contracts. Examples of emergency repair include: repair or replacement of mechanical and utility system components; correction of imminent hazardous safety conditions; damage caused by fire; acts of nature (i.e., tornadoes, floods, snow, ice, lightening); and vandalism.

The Demolition Program

This program develops plans and executes demolition or transfer of space no longer needed for education programs. These facilities have been determined to be excessive to program needs and are not economically feasible for renovation to an acceptable level of life/safety code compliance for their intended program use. These vacant facilities pose health and safety problems and demolition or transfer of the facilities is determined to be in the best interest of the Federal Government. Tribal request for ownership and transfer of these vacant facilities require the Bureau to remove all hazardous building materials such as asbestos and lead-base paint prior to transfer. If the removal of hazardous material is not cost effective, or the Tribe declines ownership, then the facilities will be scheduled for demolition by the Bureau.