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Transmittal Notice

  1. Explanation of Material Transmitted:  This policy manual rescinds previous issuance of NIH Manual 26101-25-2, Personal Property Management Guide (PPMG).  The updated PPMG is revised to mirror the Property Management Lifecycle consisting of five phases: Order, Receive, Issue, Manage and Disposal.  This chapter outlines the Property Management Lifecycle and introduces the roles and responsibilities of individuals and departments involved in property management at NIH.  
  2. Filing Instructions:

Remove:  Manual Issuance 26101-25-2 dated 5/31/00

Insert:  Manual Issuance 26101-25-2 dated 11/28/18

PLEASE NOTE:  For information on:

This policy manual outlines the policies and procedures for the management of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) accountable property.  NIH is committed to using its accountable property resources in a manner that optimizes its benefit to the Government, cost-effectively supports mission requirements, and complies with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Federal policies and regulations.  This policy manual provides overarching guidance to organizations and staff throughout NIH, recognizing that the policies may be implemented differently across the NIH Institutes and Centers (IC).

The policy manual is organized to mirror the NIH Property Management Lifecycle and incorporates best practices from NIH ICs.  The NIH Property Management Lifecycle consists of five phases: Order, Receive, Issue, Manage, and Disposal.

  1. Order - the practice of procuring property for use at the NIH.

  2. Receive - the practice of physically receiving property and the formal acceptance of the property in the NIH Business System (NBS).

  3. Issue - the practice of tagging (decaling) accountable property and transferring it to the accountable user.

  4. Manage - the practice of maintaining the inventory of accountable property, including tracking its current location and accountable user, and the care of the property until it is transferred to another accountable user or turned-in as excess property.

  5. Disposal - the practice of transferring property no longer required by the IC that managed and used the property, as excess to the Property Reutilization and Disposal Section (PRDS) for reutilization, trade-in or exchange, transfer to another Government agency or reported as surplus.

This policy manual is applicable to Government-owned personal property, accountable and non-accountable property.  

  1. Accountable property - property with an acquisition value of $5,000 or more, or flagged as a sensitive item, that is recorded and tracked in the NIH Property System.

  2. Non-accountable property - property that does not meet the criteria for accountable property and is not considered a sensitive item.

Federal law requires the Comptroller General to prescribe the accounting principles, standards, and requirements for the head of each executive agency to observe.  31 United States Code (U.S.C.) 3512(e) requires that the accounting system of each agency shall include monetary property accounting records.  31 U.S.C. 902 requires that administrative controls of each executive agency shall be established to provide reasonable assurances that funds, property, and other assets are protected against waste, loss, unauthorized use, or misappropriation.  The Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-576), 31 U.S.C. 902, requires that certain activities within HHS prepare auditable financial statements annually.  These activities include the application of property asset management systems.  The NBS is the designated NIH-wide system for personal property records and inventory management and control.

NIH personnel are responsible for accomplishing a wide range of mission-related tasks using NIH property, and are responsible for the prudent management and careful stewardship of resources.  NIH employees shall not use or authorize the use of Government property for other than official and intended purposes. 

Material in this manual is based upon existing laws, executive orders, and Federal regulations related to the management, control and accounting of property.  The Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (FPAS), as amended, (Pub. L. 106-580, Section 202(b)) and 40 U.S.C. 524(a), Duties of Executive Agencies, state: "Each executive agency shall (1) maintain adequate inventory controls and accountability systems for property under its control, (2) continuously survey property under its control to determine which is excess property, and promptly report such property to the administrator, (3) promptly report excess property to the Administrator of General Services, (4) perform the care and handling of such excess property, and (5) transfer or dispose of such property as promptly as possible in accordance with authority appointed and regulations prescribed by the Administrator".

F. Definitions

  1. Acceptance - defined by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) as the act of an authorized representative of the Government by which the Government, for itself or as agent of another, assumes ownership of existing identified supplies tendered or approves specific services rendered as partial or complete performance of the contract.
  2. Accountability - an obligation imposed by law, administrative order, or regulation upon officials of an agency to render an accounting to another official for funds or property entrusted to him/her, whether agency owned, leased, or acquired by loan from any source through the maintenance of records and submission of prescribed reports.
  3. Accountable Property – property that meets the HHS and NIH criteria for control and recording; has an acquisition value of $5,000 or more, or property flagged as a sensitive item.  Accountable property is identified with an assigned NIH property barcode decal identification number.
  4. Accountable User - the NIH personnel identified and recorded in NBS who is responsible for assigned accountable property.
  5. Acquisition or Procurement - the process of buying what the Government needs, as economically as possible, and in compliance with legal and administrative requirements.
  6. Board of Survey (BOS) - a panel consisting of three or more members or a Survey Officer to review the Report of Survey investigations of loss, damage or destruction of Government property.  The Board of Survey makes recommendations of disposition for financial liability for such property and removal of item(s) from the official property records.
  7. Cannibalization - the removal of components or parts from Government property to be used as repair/replacement parts of another property item.  Cannibalization is strictly prohibited unless approved in advance.
  8. Capital Property - a subset of property with a unit acquisition cost of $25,000 or more, including accessories; is complete in itself and does not lose its identity when in use.  Capital property is identified in all property accounting records.
  9. Cataloging - the process of updating and maintaining property assets within the NIH Property System.  The catalog provides a listing of assets by manufacturer and model currently or formerly accounted for by NIH.  Cataloging includes the classification of property as accountable, sensitive or non-sensitive.
  10. Classifying - the process of determining whether the property is accountable, and sensitive or non-sensitive.  Property classification promotes government-wide uniformity, and is used to standardize the description of property throughout NIH.  Federal Supply Classification (FSC) and Object Class Code (OCC) are used to classify property as what it is, not by a manufacturer's description of the item.
  11. Common Accounting Number (CAN) - a uniform accounting number that identifies an organization and associated accounting transactions for NIH ICs.  A CAN specifies an appropriation and allowance to be charged for the cost of the property.
  12. Condition Codes - codes used to describe the existing condition of property for disposal:
    1. New Condition (1) - new or unused condition, can be used immediately without modifications or repairs.
    2. Useable Condition (4) - used property which shows some wear, can be used without significant repair.
    3. Repairable Condition (7) - property is unusable in its current condition, but can be economically repaired.
    4. Salvage Condition (X) - property with some value in excess of its basic material content, but repair or rehabilitation is impractical and/or economical.  Repairs would exceed 65 percent of the original acquisition cost.
    5. Scrap Condition (S) – property with no value except for its basic material content; can be recycled.
  13. Conditional Gift - a gift in which the donor imposes some condition or restriction on the use of the gift or as a condition to be met in order to obtain the gift.  NIH is not authorized to expend conditional gift funds to support functions not encompassed within the terms of the conditions of the gift.  IC Directors/Deputy Directors are responsible for accepting gifts within their statutory or delegated authority.
  14. Custodial Codes (CC) - numerical codes that identify the NIH IC responsible for the management of a specific property asset as documented in the property record.
  15. Decal - a self-adhesive barcoded tag to identify accountable property as NIH property.  The decal serves as a physical identification of Government property and the unique control number to identify the item in the NBS property record.
  16. Decal Worksheet - a skeleton record created in the NBS Property System containing information transferred from acquisitions during the receiving process for property items awaiting a decal.  The decal worksheet identifies key elements including the decal number, the serial number, and the manufacturer of the item.
  17. Decontamination - the process to make equipment safe by physically removing hazardous substances.
  18. Determining Authority - the designated official(s) for the Office of the Director (OD) and for each IC responsible for making final determinations on Board of Survey recommendations.  (NIH Delegation of Authority, Property: Personal No.2, Board of Survey Determination)
  19. Direct Donation (Unconditional Gift) - a donation in which the donor does not impose some condition or restriction on the use of the donation or as a condition to be met in order to obtain the donation.  When a donor limits a donation to a particular IC or other NIH component, or to support research on a specific disease or activity without further specification as to its purpose or manner of use, the donation is considered unconditional and may be used to carry out the mission of the recipient IC or relating to research into that specific disease or activity.  IC Directors/Deputy Directors are responsible for accepting unconditional donations within their statutory or delegated authority.
  20. Discrepancy Report - an NBS generated report that details any conflicting information discovered during the inventory process (e.g., models, manufacturers, serial numbers, room numbers) that is not considered a shortage or overage.
  21. Disposal - the practice of transferring property no longer required by the IC that managed and used the property, as excess to the Property Reutilization and Disposal Section (PRDS) for reutilization, trade-in or exchange, transfer to another Government agency or reported as surplus.
  22. Domestic Donation - the process of dispersing surplus property that Federal agencies cannot reutilize, to qualified domestic recipients through the Federal Donation Program.
  23. Domestic Loan - the redistribution of property assets in which NIH provides property to a domestic borrower under specific terms and conditions, and the domestic borrower agrees to return the property at a designated point in time.
  24. Excess Property - any property under the control of a Federal agency that has come to the end of its useful life or is no longer needed by the organization.
  25. Extended Acceptance - when a received and inspected item requires installation or testing prior to final acceptance.
  26. Fabricated Property - property that is built, manufactured, and finally assembled or fabricated for NIH activities.
  27. Final Event - an NBS transaction used to retire a property record.
  28. Foreign Donation - the process of dispersing excess property that Federal agencies cannot reutilize, to qualified foreign recipients through the Federal donation process.  Foreign donations are limited donations of excess property to foreign entities (individuals and organizations) as permitted by Federal regulations and Pub. L. 93-353.  Donations are only permitted when they will clearly benefit the health of the United States public, and new property cannot be purchased for foreign donation purposes.  Foreign donations cannot be foreign aid (i.e., a gift to help a lab/institution/hospital/humanitarian institution with limited funds) or the like. NIH does not have the authority to provide any foreign aid to other countries.
  29. Foreign Loan - the redistribution of property assets, in which NIH provides property to a foreign borrower under specific terms and conditions, and the foreign borrower agrees to return the property in a designated point in time.  Foreign loans are limited loans of excess property to foreign entities (individuals and organizations) as permitted by Federal regulations and Pub. L. 93-353.  Loans are only permitted when they will clearly benefit the health of the United States public, and new property cannot be purchased for foreign loan purposes. Foreign loans cannot be foreign aid (i.e., a gift to help a lab/institution/hospital/humanitarian institution with limited funds) or the like. NIH does not have the authority to provide any foreign aid to other countries.
  30. Gaithersburg Distribution Center (GDC) - the NIH warehouse facility where Property Reutilization and Disposal Section (PRDS) operations is located to receive, store and process excess property for disposal.
  31. Gift - a gratuitous transfer of property ownership without any limitations or restrictions.  For purposes of the HHS statutes authorizing acceptance of gifts, a grant to NIH may qualify as a conditional gift.  In ordinary usage, "grant" means "gift", usually for a particular purpose.
  32. Inspection - the process to examine and test delivered item(s) to determine that the item(s) received is the item(s) ordered.  Inspection includes, but is not limited to, verifying quantity, inspecting for damage or breakage.  
  33. Inventory (Noun) - a list of property assets on hand.
  34. Inventory (Verb) - the act of listing and physically counting property assets.  The physical inventory includes the identification and reconciliation of any differences in the physical counts and listings.
  35. Issue - the practice of tagging (decaling) accountable property and transferring it to the accountable user.
  36. NIH Business System (NBS) - the NIH enterprise-wide financial and administrative computer system used to support the NIH scientific mission.  NBS is an integrated centralized accounting system which interfaces with the NIH property management module that serves as the authoritative record of accountable property.
  37. Non-accountable Property - property that has an acquisition value less than $5,000 and is not a sensitive item.  Non-accountable property does not meet the criteria for control and accounting, and is not subject to tracking within NBS; however it may be subject to local control at the IC level.
  38. Non-capital Property - property with an acquisition value that does not meet the capitalization threshold of $25,000 or more.
  39. Object Class Code (OCC) - a 4-character alpha-numeric code prescribed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) used uniformly throughout the Government in submitting budget estimates and reports to OMB and the Congress.  OCCs are used for classifying financial transactions by expenditure type.
  40. Off-Site - any location which does not fall under the definition of on-site.
  41. On-Site - any location where NIH is the owner of the real property or improvements thereto; or any location where NIH is signatory to the lease or has obtained occupancy through another federal agency.  The payment of costs associated with a contractor's or grant recipient's acquisition of real property through lease or purchase does not establish a location as on-site, regardless of whether or not title transfers to NIH under the contract or grant, unless the purpose of the contract is the acquisition of property.  The physical location of NIH property or NIH personnel at an off-site location in no way converts that location to an on-site location for property management purposes.
  42. Overage - property not previously recorded in the NIH Property System, believed to be accountable, is identified and reconciled during the physical inventory.
  43. Partial Receiving - when an order involves receiving multiple parts or deliveries of property and only a portion of the line items have been received.
  44. Personal Custody Property - personal property items issued for the exclusive use of an employee, including all items of accountable property.  The property is normally portable and may be removed from NIH premises on an approved Property Pass or Personal Custody Property Record/Hand Receipt (HHS Form 439).
  45. Personal Property – tangible assets that are not affixed permanently to one location or associated with real property.  Personal property is classified as accountable and non-accountable.
  46. Purchase Card (P-card) - a simplified acquisition method which utilizes a credit card for purchases, designed to reduce procurement lead time and cost, and streamline the payment procedures.
  47. Purchase Order (PO) - an agreement between NIH and a vendor, indicating the types, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services the vendor will provide to NIH.
  48. Property Pass - a documented authorization that allows NIH personnel to remove accountable property from NIH facilities.  The Property Pass is for accountable property and is valid for up to one year.  NIH police are required to ask for a property pass when they observe anyone removing any property item from NIH buildings or satellite facilities.  
  49. Receive - the practice of acknowledging receipt of inbound property and document processing in NBS.
  50. Repair Pass - a document authorization for a specific NIH asset to be temporarily unavailable for use or physical inventory due to repairs or maintenance. 
  51. Report of Survey (ROS) - an official report that documents the circumstances surrounding the loss, damage, or destruction of Government property.  HHS Form 342 is used to record and present findings of the investigation, documents recommendations of the Board of Survey to approve corrective actions, including financial recovery efforts, and to approve the resulting adjustments to property accountability records.
  52. Responsible User - NIH personnel identified as the exclusive user of property issued for their use under the supervision of an accountable user.
  53. Sanitization - the process used to permanently remove information from digital media to prevent information recovery.  Sanitization includes removing all data labels, markings, and activity logs.  The types of devices and media that may contain data include magnetic tapes and disks, optical disk, paper and microforms, computer storage devices (including hard drives and memory), network equipment, copiers and fax machines, and mobile devices such as smart phones and personal digital assistants (PDA).
  54. Sensitive Property - personal property that has a demonstrated susceptibility to loss, misuse, theft or requires special handling.  Despite the lower value, these items must be controlled in the same manner as accountable items, and must be decaled and carried on the accountable property records in NBS.  NIH has designated certain property, valued lower than the current accountability threshold, as sensitive when one or more of the following criteria apply:
    1. There have been demonstrated and repeated instances of loss
    2. There is a possible threat to public health or safety
    3. The item has a strong potential for improper use or resale
    4. The item may store personally identifiable information (PII)
    5. The item requires tracking and inventory due to environmental impact

(Refer to 26101-25-03, PPMG - Manage Phase, Appendix C, Sensitive Items List.

  1. Serviceable or Functional Property - excess property in operable condition that can be redeployed to another NIH organization, reused by another Federal agency or donated.
  2. Shortage - accountable property that was previously recorded in NBS, but cannot be located during the physical inventory.
  3. Trade-In - the process of substituting one property for another; to provide a vendor a like item and applying an agreed value for the like item toward the purchase price of a new item.  A trade-in requires PMB approval.
  4. Transfer - the process of reassigning property between custodial codes and/or locations.
  5. Unserviceable or Non-functional Property - excess property that is inoperable and deemed recyclable.
  6. Warranty Replacement (Exchange) - an action to replace malfunctioning property that cannot otherwise be repaired or maintained, and is still under warranty. A warranty replacement (exchange) requires PMB Approval.
  7. Wiping - the process of sanitizing though the use of software or hardware products to overwrite storage space on the media.  This process may include overwriting not only the logical storage location of a file (e.g., file allocation table), but also may include all addressable locations.

G. Roles and Responsibilities

The Office of Logistics and Acquisition Operations (OLAO) is the NIH premier central services organization for personal property, logistics and acquisition services.  OLAO oversees the acquisition and property management functions through the Office of Acquisitions (OA) and the Division of Logistics Services (DLS).  

The Property Management Branch (PMB), DLS provides policy guidance and property management support to the NIH.  The Personal Property Section, PMB serves as liaison to the NIH ICs to coordinate the annual inventory process and the Property Reutilization and Disposal Section, PMB facilitates the turn-in and disposal of excess property for NIH.

1. Office of Acquisition (OA)

The Office of Acquisition is responsible for developing and promulgating acquisition and procurement policies, and overseeing the procurement of NIH personal property.  For additional information on specific Acquisition Offices, visit:

2. Division of Logistics Services (DLS)

DLS is responsible for the oversight of central logistics services; personal property, supply, and transportation management services for the NIH.

3. Property Management Branch (PMB)

PMB is responsible for developing property policies and overseeing the management of NIH personal property.

4. Personal Property Section (PPS)

PPS is responsible for providing liaison services to the NIH property community; provides property management and inventory support to ICs.

5. Property Reutilization and Disposal Section (PRDS)

PRDS is responsible for coordinating the reutilization and proper disposal of excess property.

6. Gaithersburg Distribution Center (GDC)

GDC is the warehouse facility where PRDS operations are located to receive, store and process NIH excess property for disposal.

7. NIH Office of the Director (OD) and organizational leadership

The OD and each IC may develop additional internal property management controls for acquiring and tracking property applicable to their operations.  The OD and each IC are responsible for the proper acquisition and maintenance of personal property, and for providing guidance to property users on specific policies and procedures.

8. Approving Official

The Approving Official is the authorized agent responsible for reviewing and approving purchase requests for acquiring goods or services to ensure the appropriate use of appropriations and timely payment is made for purchases.

9. Purchasing Agent

The Purchasing Agent is a representative of the organization authorized to assist in the selection and purchase of goods and services by gathering and screening information about products, prices, and suppliers.

10. Receiving Official

The Receiving Official is a representative of the organization responsible for acknowledging receipt of inbound goods and services.  The receiving process is one of the most critical tasks performed in the property management process to assure custody of property is assigned and accurate property records are established in a timely manner.

11. Property Management Officer (PMO)

The individual responsible for directing an effective personal property system, including; property accountability, inventory, utilization and reutilization, declaration of excess property and disposal for the organization.  The NIH PMO is delegated to the Chief, Property Management Branch, Division of Logistics Services.  PMO responsibilities are further delegated to the OD Executive Officer and the IC Executive Officers of their respective organizations.  (NIH Delegation of Authority, Property: Personal No. 03, Property Management Officer)

12. Property Accountability Officer (PAO)

The PAO is responsible for the management, recording, accounting, and reporting of property within their assigned organization.  The PAO is appointed by the Executive Officer (EO) to maintain the viability of the property accounting system within their organization.  PAO responsibilities may not be further delegated, and works closely with appointed Property Custodial Officers (PCO) within their organizations.

13. Property Custodial Officer (PCO)

The PCO is responsible for the maintenance of personal property records within their assigned area and must be aware of all changes to personal property occurring in their custodial accounts.  PCOs are appointed by the EO to serve as the initial point of contact to property users, supervisors and managers, and shall maintain a working knowledge of property management policies and regulations.

14. Property Users

Property Users are any NIH personnel assigned exclusive use of Government property that are responsible for the care and protection of Government property as an obligation inherent to all personnel employed at NIH.  This responsibility is set forth in the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, 5 C.F.R. Section 2635.101(b)(9).  Property management responsibilities apply to all permanent, temporary and contract personnel, personnel in fellowship positions, volunteers, and visiting scientists when Government property is made available for the performance of their official duties or training.  

H. Records Retention and Disposal

All records pertaining to this chapter must be retained and disposed of under the authority of NIH Manual 1743, "Keeping and Destroying Records," Appendix 1, "NIH Records Control Schedules" (as amended). These records must be maintained in accordance with current NIH Records Management and Federal guidelines. Contact your IC Records Liaison or the NIH Records Officer for additional information.

I. Internal Controls

  1. Office Responsible for Reviewing Internal Controls Relative to this Chapter: Property Management Branch (PMB), Division of Logistics Services (DLS), Office of Logistics and Acquisitions Operations (OLAO).
  2. Frequency of Review (In years): A physical inventory of accountable assets is conducted for each IC on an annual basis.  On-going reviews of ICs are conducted on a rotating basis, at least annually.
  3. Method of Review: Annual physical inventories and special inventories coupled with reviews of property records, systems, selected transactions and practices are used to determine procedural compliance with the requirements of this manual.
  4. Type of Review:  The Staff Assistance Visit (SAV) Program is established as a formal review session between PMB Inventory Management Specialists and the IC PAOs to enhance communication and assess the efficiency and effectiveness of property management policies and procedures throughout NIH.  The SAV is scheduled annually; however reviews may vary in frequency and scope, or may be directed at specific circumstances or problem areas. Regulatory infractions or deficiencies identified require IC response of corrective actions taken.  ICs must also conduct Report of Survey investigations and Board of Survey reviews to resolve incidents of loss, damage or destruction of Government property.
  5. Review Reports are sent to: Deputy Director for Management (DDM); Director, Office of Acquisition and Logistics Management (OALM); and the appropriate IC Executive Officer.

Appendix A: Forms

  1. HHS Form 342, Report of Survey,
  2. HHS Form 439, Personal Custody Property Record/Hand Receipt,
  3. NIH Form 1514, Property Utilization Record of Non-Accountable Property Issued,
  4. NIH Form 1872, Request for Trade-in or Exchange of Government-Owned Property,
  5. NIH Form 1884-1, Commercial Invoice,
  6. NIH Form 2489-1, Record of Loan/Donation of Personal Property to Foreign Countries,
  7. NIH Form 2489-2, Record of Personal Property Loan to Non-Federal Government Organizations or Individuals,
  8. NIH Form 2489-3, Record of Personal Property Loan to Federal Organizations or Individuals,
  9. NIH Form 2683, Certification that Property is Free from Hazards,
  10. NIH Form 2737-2, Clearance of Personnel for Separation or Transfer,
  11. NIH Form 2790, Certification: Removal of Data and Software,
  12. NIH Form 2818, Notification of Receipt of Personal Property,
  13. NIH Form 2943, IC Partial Property Return Request
  14. NIH Form 2944, IC Inventory Storage Sheet
  15. NBS Form, Catalog Request,
  16. NBS Form, Custodial Code Request,
  17. NBS Form, Location Request,
  18. NBS Form, User Access Request,
  19. NBS Form, Property Record Modification and/or Retag,
  20. SF 122, Transfer Order – Excess Property,

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