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Number: DAO 217-3
Effective Date:  2004-12-21

Office name change update, effective 11-13-2014, per DOO 20-1, Director for Facilities and Environmental Quality.


This order prescribes policy and regulations with respect to constructing, altering, repairing, equipping, furnishing, and maintaining, by contract or otherwise, living and working quarters and facilities for employees of, or personnel under contract to, the Department or its operating units as may be necessary to carry out authorized work where such living and working accommodations are not otherwise available in the United States, the District of Columbia, and the territories of the United States, including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.


.01 Title 15 U.S. Code 1514 (f) (PL 81-390, 63 Stat. 907).

.02 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-45.

.03 Title 5 U.S. Code 5911 (PL 89-554, 80 Stat. 508).


.01 "Equipment" for living quarters is defined as major appliances, generally electrical, such as deep freezers, air-conditioners, washers and dryers, cooking stoves, refrigerators, etc., but not including toasters, vacuum cleaners, and other small items.

.02 "Furnishings" are defined to include furniture and miscellaneous items necessary to provide a reasonable degree of livability in personnel quarters, but do not include household goods such as linens, cutlery, silverware, dishes, and kitchen utensils.

.03 "Living quarters" are defined as housing designed for domiciling one or more employees or employees and their families.

.04 "Mixed quarters" are a combination of living and working accommodations in one structure.

.05 "Remote locality" is defined as a highly inaccessible area with inadequate transportation where the normal source of supply of living and working quarters is insufficient to meet the requirements of the Department or where such supply is nonexistent.

.06 "Working quarters" are structures, or parts thereof, for employee use other than a domicile. They do not include areas designed primarily to house scientific or technical apparatus or equipment that are not generally used as employee work space.


.01 It is the general policy of the Department to construct and maintain living and working quarters only at remote localities, except that this policy shall not preclude maintaining quarters at other than remote localities, or areas where it may be necessary to protect Government property. Where it becomes necessary to construct living and working quarters at other than remote localities, prior approval by the Secretary or designee is required.

.02 Mixed quarters defined in Section 3.04 above, while not favored as a matter of policy, are nevertheless governed by this order.

.03 Where living quarters are provided for housing employees at remote locations, it is Department policy to equip and furnish such accommodations only when it is clearly in the best interest of the Government to do so, taking into consideration such factors as the cost of transporting employees' household goods to and from remote locations and the required or average length of employee service at such locations. Special equipment, refrigeration and air-conditioning may be provided where required by climate, geographical and other factors, and when it is either standard practice in privately-owned quarters in the general area or otherwise considered to be in the best interest of the Government.

.04 Where a determination is made to equip and furnish quarters, such equipment and furnishings shall be comparable in quality and quantity to those found in equivalent private housing in the same or general area.

.05 Rent charged for newly constructed or existing living quarters furnished to employees is set forth in Department Administrative Order 203-20. Also see OMB Circular A-45.


.01 Primary operating units are authorized to construct, alter, repair, furnish, equip and maintain living and working quarters in remote areas provided that the necessary budgetary actions have been taken and that funds have been specifically appropriated therefore.

.02 Construction of federally-funded housing shall conform to the standards set forth in OMB Circular A-45.


This order supersedes Department Administrative Order 217-3, dated November 13, 1972.

Signed by: Acting Director for Administrative Services

Approved by: Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration

Office of Primary Interest:  Office of Facilities and Environmental Quality

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February 16, 2010