September 27, 2005
TO: Heads of Federal agencies
SUBJECT: Records Storage Facility Standards
EXPIRATION DATE: Canceled as of August 25, 2008 (per NARA Bulletin 2008-06)
1. What is the purpose of this bulletin?
This bulletin reminds agencies of their obligations to ensure that agency records storage facilities and commercial records storage facilities (records centers) used to store their agency records meet NARA's records storage facility standards in 36 CFR part 1228, subpart K, and that they have obtained NARA approval as outlined in that subpart.
2. What is the background for this bulletin?
a. The Federal government has an obligation to its citizens to protect records that are needed for use in conducting government operations and documenting transactions, and for subsequent use in determining rights and entitlements, ensuring accountability, and preserving history. To meet this obligation, NARA regulations establish the minimum structural, environmental, property, and life-safety standards that a records storage facility must meet when the facility is used for the storage of Federal records.
b. NARA regulations on agencies' use of records centers for storage of agency records prior to their final disposition were updated in 1999. The facility standards for records storage facilities in 36 CFR part 1228, subpart K were further updated in 2005, with an effective date of September 28, 2005. Attachment 1 provides the updated regulations on agency obligations. Attachment 2 to this bulletin provides the updated checklist that NARA uses to evaluate facility compliance with the standards.
3. What records storage facilities are covered by the NARA standards?
The standards apply to Government-owned or leased records storage facilities, whether operated by NARA, another agency, or an agency contractor. The standards also apply to any commercial records center that an agency uses to store its records.
4. What must agencies do to implement this bulletin?
a. Agencies must ensure that they have met the facility approval, inspection, reporting requirements specified in 36 CFR 1228.240 for all storage facilities that currently house their records, and that the requirements are followed whenever the agency acquires or uses new agency storage space or contracted storage services. The CFR requirements are reproduced as Attachment 1 for your convenience. Please note that agencies do not have to request approval to use NARA records centers.
b. Agencies that have not previously requested NARA approval or submitted the required documentation for commercial storage facilities must do so as soon as possible, but no later than January 31, 2006. NARA is separately contacting agency records officers to identify undocumented records storage facilities.
5. How will NARA help agencies meet the records storage facility standards
On request, NARA will advise agencies on meeting the standards at agency or commercial facilities, including consultation when an agency is planning to build or lease a storage facility or to use a commercial center. When requested by an agency or deemed necessary by NARA, NARA's Space and Security Management Division will inspect facilities that store more than 25,000 cubic feet of Federal records to ensure compliance with the standards.
6. What facilities meet the NARA records storage facility standards?
NARA's Federal Records Center Program and some agencies with sizeable records holding facilities have already taken steps to meet the standards.
A regularly-updated list of certified facilities is posted on NARA's web site.
[AS OF JUNE 2008, NARA NO LONGER POSTS THIS LIST]
7. Whom do I contact for additional information?
a. If you have questions about the standards or the inspection and certification process, contact the Space and Security Management Division office at 36CFR.firstname.lastname@example.org.
b. If you have questions about other applicable NARA regulations when transferring records to a records center:
(1) NARA's Life Cycle Management Division provides assistance and advice to agency records officers in the Washington, DC, area. Your agency's records officer may contact the NARA appraiser or records analyst with whom your agency normally works. A list of the appraisal and scheduling work groups is posted on the NARA web site at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/appraisal/.
(2) The Records Management staff in NARA's regional offices provides assistance to records officers across the country. A complete list of NARA regional facilities may be found at http://www.archives.gov/locations/records-management.html.
c. For information on NARA's Federal Records Center Program, see http://www.archives.gov/frc/.
Archivist of the United States