I2SL Workshop: The New Edition of the NIH Design Requirements Manual

From the preface of the 2016 edition of the Design Requirements Manual:

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Design Requirements Manual (DRM) establishes policy, design requirements, standards and technical criteria for use in planning NIH owned, leased, operated and funded buildings and facilities. The DRM is the only detailed design requirements and guidance document of its kind.

The NIH's Division of Technical Resources (DTR) issued the second edition of the DRM in late 2016, the first major update since 2008. The DRM represents a large body of knowledge gathered from many sources within the NIH including facilities, scientific and veterinary staff from the 27 NIH Institutes and Centers, other Federal agencies such as the CDC and FDA, and numerous experts from the private sector. The 2016 DRM edition constitutes a major restructuring and reorganization, representing the collected contributions of over 200 professionals from industry, academia and government, numerous drafts and over 3,000 peer review comments.

This course will provide an overview of the DRM, focusing on changes and updates in the 2016 edition. Subject matter experts (Lab Planner/Architect and Engineers) from DTR will discuss Planning, Architectural, Structural, Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical design criteria for NIH biomedical and animal research facilities, and facilities funded by the NIH or which use the DRM as a guidance document.

The course will also discuss common challenges in the design, construction and operation of the biomedical and animal research facilities. In class exercises will be provided to ensure that the attendees get a clear idea about the design criteria. The course will benefit Engineers, Architects and Bio-safety professionals involved in the design, construction and operation of these specialized research facilities.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify key biomedical and animal research lab planning concepts.
  • Understand the contents, organization and use of the DRM.
  • Identify salient updates and changes in the 2016 DRM update.
  • Explain principal features of biocontainment.
  • Apply best practices of research facility design.

Course instructors will provide material for interactive exercises.


Alamelu Ramesh is Deputy Director of the Division of Technical Resources (DTR) in the Office of research Facilities at NIH. She is a registered Professional Engineer and a LEED Accredited Professional. Prior to joining NIH Alamelu worked in the private sector where she was responsible for electrical engineering designs of various types of facilities.

Scott Taylor is the Chief of the Technical Support Branch (TSB) in the Office of research Facilities at NIH. He is a licensed Professional Engineer, LEED Accredited Professional and a Certified Energy Manager. Prior to joining NIH Scott worked in the private sector where he was responsible for mechanical engineering designs of various types of facilities.

Steve Breslin is the Chief of the Standards and Policy Branch (SPB) and the Senior Architect for the Division of Technical Resources in the Office of research Facilities at NIH. Steven is a registered architect, professional engineer and LEED accredited professional. Prior to joining NIH Steve was a Principal with a leading international architectural firm, and planned and designed science and education facilities for major universities and institutions in the US and around the world.


Back to Training and Education