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                                                        National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
                                                       
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
                                                        Silver Spring, Md. 20910                         OA/W512

                                                        December 8, 1982

TO:                 All Holders of Operations Manual

SUBJECT:     Transmittal Memorandum for Operations Manual Issuance 82-21

1. Material Transmitted:

Weather Service Operations Manual (WSOM), Chapter H-51, Facilities Maintenance Program.

2. Summary:

This chapter defines program responsibilities, relationships within the program, program objectives, and explains the organizational and operating t/ procedures to be followed in the management of the overall Facilities Maintenance Program.

3. Effect on Other Instructions:

None.

Richard E. Hallgren
Director, National Weather Service


Issue Date    Org. Code        NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE    Part    Chap.
12-8-82        OA/W512             Operations Manual                                
H         51

FACILITIES MAINTENANCE PROGRAM

Table of Contents:

1.    Introduction

2.    Maintenance Objective

3.    Facilities Maintenance Policy
        3. l    Facilities-Instrument Interface

4.    Definitions

        4.1    Electronic Equipment
        4.2    Electromechanical and Mechanical Equipment
        4.3    Noninstrumental Equipment
        4.4    Facilities
                4.4.l     Buildings
                4.4.2     Structures
                4.4.3     Improvements
                4.4.4     Utilities

    4.5     Preventive Maintenance

    4.6     Repair

    4.7     Emergency Maintenance

5.    Local Station Maintenance

6.    Facilities Maintenance Organization
        6. l    Weather Service Headquarters (WSH)
                6.1. l    Emergency Repair Team
        6.2    Regional Engineering Staff
        6.3    Regional Facilities Staff
        6.4    Facilities Maintenance Supervisor (FMS)
        6.5    Facilities Technician (FT)
        6.6    Cooperative Program Managers

7.    Relationships in the Facilities Maintenance Program
        7.1   Facilities Maintenance Supervisor - Station Manager (Meteorologist, Hydrologist, or                    Official in Charge)
        7.2    Facilities Maintenance Supervisor -Chief, Facilities Engineering Branch, RH
        7.3    Facilities Maintenance Supervisor -Facilities Technician
        7.4    Facilities Technician - Station Manager
                (Meteorologist, Hydrologist, or Official in Charge)

8.    Station Manager Priorities for Maintenance
        8.1    Regional Headquarters Priorities

9.    Quality Control Inspections

10.    Emergency Procedures

11.  Unauthorized Modifications 

12.    Maintenance of Non-Owned Facilities
        12.1    Government-Owned Property

13.    Detailed Maintenance Procedures


1. Introduction. The purpose of this chapter is to outline the operating procedures and organization of the facilities maintenance program. The procedures and policies contained herein are to be implemented in a manner consistent with, and in accordance with, delegated regional responsibilities. Optimum facilities maintenance is a required support service to assure effective National Weather Service (NWS) programs.

2. Maintenance Objective. The objective of the National Weather Service facilities maintenance program is to assure that all National Weather Service facilities are maintained at a level consistent with the needs of the NWS and according to good maintenance engineering and economic practices.

3. Facilities Maintenance Policy. The NWS facilities maintenance policy is initially expressed in the facilities design policy which requires that facilities be designed to provide the lowest ownership costs during the useful life of the item. The wide dispersal of National Weather Service operations and field maintenance activities requires that sound practices and procedures be followed to achieve the maximum overall efficiency and effectiveness of the facilities maintenance program.

3.l Facilities-Instrument Interface. The demarcation between construction and installation of facilities, and noninstrumental equipment and activation of instrumental equipment has often been implied and followed to a greater or lesser degree by both facilities and electronics technicians. As a specific policy concerning this aspect of the engineering program, facilities technicians will perform only those duties necessary to install structures and equipment up to and including the actual wiring-in of instrumental equipment. Cabling for control or data lines will be terminated in appropriate distribution panels by facilities technicians. The actual interfacing of electronics circuits to the distribution terminal, and activation, testing, and calibration of equipment will be the responsibility of the electronics technicians. However, as a matter of expediency, the responsibility for certain categories of instrumental equipment at remote locations may be assigned to facilities or electronics technicians or, when approved by the Regional Director, to cooperative program managers for complete installation, activation, and calibration, as well as maintenance responsibility after commissioning. Such assignments will be made only to those personnel who have been fully certified through attendance and successful completion of requisite equipment courses at the National Weather Service Training Center. Specific equipments in the latter category will be delineated under separate directives. These will establish the extent of work to be performed by certified facilities technicians and the performance standards to be met. At the direction of the Regional Director, electronics technicians and cooperative program managers may be assigned facilities installation and maintenance tasks on a cooperative basis.

4. Definitions. To avoid the possibility of ambiguity regarding terms used in NWS maintenance programs, the following are offered as clarification.

4.1 Electronic Equipment. Any instrumental system or device using the principle of electronic flow through a vacuum, gas, or semiconductor is classified as electronic equipment.

4.2 Electromechanical and Mechanical Equipment. Any instrumental device using electrical or mechanical energy to produce mechanical movement, including nonelectronic and mechanical instrumentation (e.g., precipitation gages and river stage equipment); instrumental recorders and devices, partially or completely actuated or controlled electrically; and certain landline communication devices, as indicated by specific directives.

4.3  Noninstrumental Equipment. Any system or device not covered by 4.1 and 4.2 above and which does not directly sense, measure, telemeter, or record environmental data. Included in this category are items such as hydrogen generators; emergency electric power generators; heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems; and automotive, hoisting, and other mechanical equipment.

4.4 Facilities. Buildings, structures, and other items of real property, including land and improvements, utilities, and items of noninstrumental equipment defined in 4.3 above.

4.4.1 Buildings. Special structures for providing sheltered living and working space or storage for personnel and property, including living quarters, office quarters, laboratories, warehouses, balloon inflation shelters, etc.

4.4.2 Structures. Special forms of facilities wherein structural integrity plays a predominant functional role. The term includes buildings but is generally used to denote items,such as towers, masts, and similar supports; radomes and fiberglass shelters for upper air equipment; instrument shelters; instrument foundations; etc.

4.4.3   Improvements. Facilities provided to improve the utility or value of real property, such as roads, walks, and other paved areas; fences; signs; lawns and plantings; retaining walls; drainage structures and ditches; etc.

4.4.4 Utilities. The services of heat, ventilation, and air conditioning; electric power and lighting; gas; water; sewage disposal; and communications. The facilities for production and distribution of these services are defined as utility systems and include items such as water, sewer, and gas lines; electric power and communication lines; electrical substations and emergency power generators; heating and air-conditioning equipment, septic tanks; water treatment and storage facilities; etc.

4.5 Preventive Maintenance. Periodic inspection of facilities to uncover conditions leading to operational breakdown or serious depreciation and the timely action to prevent, adjust, or repair such conditions while they are still in a minor stage. Preventive maintenance, or PM, is of two types, routine and nonroutine.

    a. Routine Preventive Maintenance. Any routine (scheduled or periodic) preventive maintenance procedure. Examples: Mechanical inspection of noninstrumental equipment, lubrication, periodic painting of radomes, calibrations, etc.

    b. Nonroutine Preventive Maintenance. A nonroutine (unscheduled or nonperiodic) preventive maintenance procedure performed as a result of evidence which indicates that failure of a facilities item is imminent. Examples: Replacement of an electric motor in a heating system when bearing noises indicate failure or overheating; replacement of a bent drive shaft or gears in a door opener assembly for an upper air inflation shelter when the unit produces abnormal noise; etc.

4.6     Repair. Remedial actions to correct failures and restoration or rehabilitation of a facility to such a condition that it may be used effectively.

4.7      Emergency Maintenance. Necessity or crisis actions   required to restore operation where failure to do so may possibly result in serious injury or loss of life or property, or have a serious negative effect upon NWS operations.

5. Local Station Maintenance. In general the meteorologist in charge (MIC) will obtain certain custodial and minor maintenance services from local service contractors by purchase orders on an "ad hoc" basis, in accordance with applicable regional headquarters (RH) directives. Such tasks as painting the wooden instrument shelters, mowing grass, or removing snow can be included in this group. In those cases where it is not practicable to obtain such services by local procurement, the required tasks will be performed by Government employees using tools and equipment Provided by the National Weather Service.

6. Facilities Maintenance Organization. As maintenance activities become more complex and widespread, the functions of coordination, guidance, and control become increasingly important to reduce costs, minimize downtime, and to provide for an orderly and efficient growth. It is realized that there is no "best" organizational structure for all RH's. The organization must fit the particular technical, geographical, and personnel situations involved in order to achieve effective group action. The structure presented in the following sections aims to provide a clear division of authority, responsibility, and duties with the minimum of overlap, taking into consideration specific program objectives and policies. As presented, it will be flexible enough for modifications to cover changing conditions, such as plant expansion, personnel development, and activity fluctuation.

6.1 Weather Service Headquarters (WSH). The Facilities Engineering Branch (FEBH) of the Engineering Division plans, develops, and promulgates policies, programs, and general procedures for facilities maintenance. The Weather Service Headquarters is responsible for ensuring that precision and uniformity of output from environmental sensing, processing, and display instruments and systems are achieved. The WSH supports the facilities maintenance program in matters of engineering, training, logistics, technical assistance, and administration.

6.1.1 Emergency Repair Team. FEBH is a permanent-member of the Engineering Division Emergency Repair Team, which is activated during a major disaster involving facilities owned or occupied by the National Weather Service. This team will prepare recommendations for restoration and cost estimates to replace or repair the damaged physical plant.

6.2 Regional Engineering Staff. The regional engineering staff is responsible for implementing regional plans and procedures for installing field facilities and structures and maintaining environmental sensing equipment required to support National Weather Service missions. Under the direction of the regional engineer, it is the responsibility of the engineering staff to ensure that optimum effectiveness of the regional maintenance Program is achieved.

6.3 Regional Facilities Staff. The Facilities Engineering Branch, RH (FEBR) is the organizational unit primarily concerned with the regional management of all facilities maintenance activities. This unit is responsible for installation, maintenance, and modification of the facilities and structures located in the region and is headed by the Chief, Facilities Engineering Branch. The FEBR is responsible for:

    a. Standardization. The standardization of all facilities maintenance to conform with technical standards and maintenance techniques established by the Weather Service Headquarters.

    b.Work Organization. Determining work and material requirements, establishing work schedules, assigning personnel, and coordinating itineraries of facilities technicians to assure maximum work accomplishment with minimum expense.

    c.  Work Coordination. Coordinating schedules with the electronics Engineering staff and with other RH and field staffs for the installation and activation of instrumental equipment.

    d. Inspections. Conducting periodic inspections to assure that NWS facilities are being maintained at the prescribed level and reporting on the trends and condition of the facilities.

    e. Analyzing. Making a thorough analysis of maintenance data reports to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of regional facilities maintenance programs and providing recommendations to reduce unit maintenance demands on personnel and expenditures.

6.4 Facilities Maintenance Supervisor (FMS). The facilities maintenance supervisor operates as a regional headquarters staff assistant and exercises management supervision over facilities technicians (FT's) assigned to the FEBR. He or she is primarily responsible for reviewing and monitoring regional installations to ensure uniformity of maintenance levels. He or she must ascertain that adequate skills in technically qualified personnel are available to meet program requirements. As a regional headquarters staff assistant, he or she functions under the direct supervision of the Chief, Facilities Engineering Branch, and reports to the latter in both administrative and technical matters. Specifically, the FMS functions are:

    a. Conformance. Ensure that regional and National Weather Service policies, procedures, and programs pertaining to the facilities maintenance program are carefully followed.

    b. Supervision. Exercise supervision over several facilities technicians assigned to the region.

    c. Visitation. Personally visit or assure that an authorized facilities person completes a visit to each first-order station at least once every year, and second-order and other stations, as often as necessary, to provide quality control and to keep abreast of facilities maintenance needs.

    d. Reporting. Review field data reports, such as facilities management reporting system reports and inspection reports, and forward this information to appropriate WSH groups by the prescribed means.

    e. Planning. Assist in planning for new equipment and facilities scheduled or required for installation in the region, work with and assist the FT, and plan to have the FT trained in the maintenance of the new facilities in advance of equipment installation.

    f. On-the-Job Training. Provide assistance for the FT's in solving the more difficult problems and arrange for on-the-job training as necessary.

    g. Formal Training. Recommend formal training for newly assigned FT's.

    h. Travel. Coordinate FT travel to provide necessary maintenance and/or emergency coverage.

    i. Scheduling. Coordinate facilities maintenance schedules with pertinent area electronics supervisors and meteorologists, hydrologists, or officials in charge.

6.5 Facilities Technician (FT). The facilities technician is responsible for the performance of assigned preventive maintenance and repair of facilities, structures, and noninstrumental equipment. The FT is a staff member of the regional headquarters to which he or she is assigned. The FT travels as required in the performance of maintenance duties set forth in his or her Position description and work assignment.

6.6   Cooperative Program Managers. The cooperative program managers, although assigned to the data acquisition staff in the regional headquarters, perform a variety of facilities maintenance activities in their substation visitation program.

The installation and maintenance of most substation equipment are included in cooperative program managers' assigned responsibilities, which are detailed in WSOM Chapters B-17, Substation Management, and H-50, Electronic Maintenance Program.

7. Relationships in the Facilities Maintenance Program. The assignment of facilities maintenance supervisors and facilities technicians to the regional headquarters staff is for the purpose of maintaining the National Weather Service's inventory of facilities, structures, and noninstrumental equipment. To achieve maximum effectiveness in the Facilities Maintenance Program, the following working relationships are established.

7.l Facilities Maintenance Supervisor  Station Manager (Meteorologist, Hydrologist, or Official in Charge). As a staff assistant of the regional headquarters, the FMS provides guidance and technical assistance to the station manager in connection with local facilities maintenance activities, to ensure that they conform with technical standards established by the WSH and regional headquarters. The FMS will review the station manager's facilities maintenance activities, including such items as responsibility for satellite stations, scheduled equipment installations, local procurement, maintenance accomplishments and needs, and plans for the future.

7.2 Facilities Maintenance Supervisor - Chief, Facilities Engineering Branch, RH. The FMS is under the direct supervision of the Chief, FEBR and reports to him or her both administratively and technically. More difficult problems concerning facilities maintenance projects will be reported to the FEBR for assistance and resolution. The FMS is responsible for keeping the FEBR informed of his or her itinerary and work plans.

7.3 Facilities Maintenance Supervisor - Facilities  Technician. The FMS provides technical guidance and supervision of the FT to assure adherence to the technical standards established by the WSH and thus represents the first line of the FT's technical supervision concerning maintenance activities. Hence, the FT and FMS communicate directly on matters pertaining to facilities maintenance projects. The FMS provides on-the-job training, guidance, and assistance to the FT and determines need for training based on schedules for new equipment programs.

7.4 Facilities Technician - Station Manager (Meteorologist, Hydrologist, or Official in Charge). While no formal organizational relationship exists, the FT will upon arrival at a station meet with and brief the station manager on the purpose of his or her visit and general scope of work to be accomplished, and thereafter while working at the station, keep the station manager informed of his or her activities insofar as these activities affect, or have the potential of affecting, on-going programs. The station manager is responsible for bringing to the attention of the FT deficiencies in station facilities, structures, and noninstrumental equipment for the FT's reporting to the FMS for possible action. Any action by the FT that would have the effect of taking equipment out of service will be coordinated with the station manager, who is responsible for the determination of whether it is essential that equipment remain in service to fulfill the station's mission. It is the responsibility of the FT to advise the station manager, where applicable, on the following:

    a. Operational Limitations. Operational limitations,  if any, of noninstrumental equipment, facilities, and structures in need of maintenance.

    b. Additional Damage. Possible additional damage or failures that could result from continued use of the equipment, facility, or structure.

    c. Time Factor. Probable downtime required to accomplish repairs.

8. Station Manager Priorities for Maintenance. The station manager will, in connection with the preparation of requests for facilities maintenance, assign priorities to facilities requirements at his or her station.  However, if emergency facilities maintenance, such as restoration of electric power or other vital service, is required, the MIC will contact the regional headquarters by the most direct means.

8.1 Regional Headquarters Priorities. The regional headquarters establishes a yearly facilities maintenance program based on an optimum mix of resources and requirements. The lack of sufficient funds to cover all the stations' requests, together with the prevailing program emphasis, may require a reordering of any MIC's priority list;

9. Quality Control Inspections. Periodic quality control inspections as required to assure the viability of the station's facilities maintenance program will be made by the FMS or other regional engineering personnel. These inspections will consist of on-site evaluations of the quality of facilities work performed since the last visit and a determination of the additional repairs and/or modifications required to properly support the station's operations. During quality control inspections or in providing technical assistance to stations, the FMS or other regional engineering staff personnel will report to the MIC or designated station supervisor upon arrival. The MIC will be informed of the purpose of the visit and will provide whatever assistance is reasonably required. Upon conclusion of the visit, the MIC will be briefed on any work accomplished or on any deficiencies noted in the local facilities maintenance activities. Facilities deficiencies and maintenance needs observed by other regional staff managers while visiting a station should be reported to the Chief, Facilities Engineering Branch, RH.

10. Emergency Procedures. Any time outside the normal workday, the facilities technician should be recalled to duty to effect repairs when facilities or noninstrumental equipment directly involved in the observation of elements concerned with the public safety become inoperative or suffer damage to the extent that it could be considered hazardous to personnel, other facilities, or equipment. There can be no abridgment of the facilities technician's prerogative to spend his or her time off duty as he or she likes. He or she should plan to inform the FMS, if possible, of periods when he or she will not be available for recall so that other arrangements can be made, since he or she is not to be considered as "on 24-hour call."

11. Unauthorized Modifications. Under no circumstances will unauthorized modifications or "field engineering" be attempted on Weather Service facilities or noninstrumental equipment. The regional headquarters has full authority to make temporary modifications to restore vital operations during periods of emergency. Proposed changes or modifications that have a broad application to NWS facilities or new instrumental equipment should be submitted to WSH for review.

12. Maintenance of Non-Owned Facilities. In general, National Weather Service's facilities maintenance responsibility does not include facilities and structures owned by others. Exceptions to this general approach should be well documented in the lease, permit, or other use agreement formats so that there will be no question about the propriety of resources being applied to the property of others.

12.1 Government-Owned Property. In many cases, facilities maintenance services will be applied to Federal property installed on land or structures owned by others.

13. Detailed Maintenance Procedures. Specific guidance,criteria, and rules for maintenance of individual facilities items and structures are contained in Engineering Handbook No. 3, Facilities.

WSOM Issuance
82-21 12-8-82