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Vol. LXII, No. 16
August 6, 2010
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Feedback

Have a question about some aspect of working at NIH? You can post anonymous queries at www.nih.gov/nihrecord/index.htm (click on the Feedback icon) and we’ll try to provide answers.

Feedback: Before the construction of Bldg. 33 there was a bike rack near the entrance of the Bldg. 31 C wing, similar to the rack used by the A wing. It was never replaced. Why? Instead they moved it to some dark corner in the parking garage. Can we please have it returned?

Response from the Office of Research Services: As NIH changes its landscape with new buildings and garages, the Division of Amenities and Transportation Services (DATS) has worked hard to improve commuter services to include improvements for non-polluter commuters such as our bicyclists.  

DATS worked with the NIH Bicycle Commuter Club to improve bicycle rack locations and move or add bicycle racks where needed. One of the improvements was to locate bicycle racks just inside the MLP-10 garage next to Bldgs. 31 and 33. This prime location provides cover from the elements and easy access for cyclists. DATS also added more bicycle racks in front of the A wing atrium of Bldg. 31 underneath the building’s cover to accommodate the increase of cyclists at that location. Bicycle racks were also added and some relocated to high bicycle demand locations around Bldgs. 10 and 38.

Feedback: What is the weight-bearing load for the parking garage next to the north wing of Bldg. 10? Does this weight limit allow for the additional parking that is going on daily when cars are double-parked on the outer sides?

Response from the Office of Research Facilities: The floors of Multi-Level Parking Garage-9 are designed to meet or exceed 50 pounds per square foot (psf) design live load. A supplemental 30 psf is added to the roof to account for potential snow. This design standard exceeds the International Building Code of 2003, which requires 40 psf minimum design live load for parking garages.

When the MLP-9 garage utilizes stack parking (double-parked vehicles), it still does not exceed the design live load for either the floors or the roof of the structure.

To use an example, a new Lincoln Town Car has a weight of approximately 4,400 pounds. Assume Town Cars could be crowded onto the floors of MLP-9, with only a 12 inch clearance between one car and the next. The psf for a floor full of Town Cars would still only add up to 31 psf—well below the building code. MLP-9 is safe, with or without the use of stack parking.

Feedback: Why is it that someone on a 4/10 work week (four 10-hour days) gets 10 hours off for a holiday but someone on a 5/8 work week (five 8-hour days) only gets 8 hours off for a holiday? At the end of the week, the 4/10 person only has to work 30 hours while the 5/8 person has to work 32 hours. With 12 federal holidays a year, this could add up to 24 hours or 3 days extra time off for the 4/10 worker. Can you have someone explain this?

Response from the NIH Payroll Office: The amount of holiday hours granted is mandated by the Office of Personnel Management. Here is information from its web site:

  • Standard (40-hour/5-day week) Work Schedules. On a holiday, employees under a standard work schedule are generally excused from 8 hours of non-overtime work, which are considered part of the 40-hour basic workweek.
  • Compressed Work Schedules. On a holiday, employees under compressed work schedules are generally excused from all of the non-overtime hours they would otherwise work on that day and which apply to their “basic work requirement.” For example, if a holiday falls on a 9- or 10-hour basic workday, the employee’s holiday is 9 or 10 hours, respectively.

Feedback: Each year NIH celebrates the National Day of Prayer. This is an R&W-sponsored event with printed posters around campus advertising the event. Recently, a federal court decided that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. Why then, is this day still celebrated at NIH, in front of Bldg. 1, with speakers and music blaring away to all? In recent years, it has been a very Christian and evangelical event. As I remember the U.S. Constitution, there is a separation of church and state and this event at NIH, with the R&W paying for posters of eagles and American flags, seems in violation of that. Will you please comment on this?

Response from ORS: The event is not sponsored or supported by NIH or the NIH Recreation and Welfare Association. It is one of many events that employee groups have listed in the R&W advertisements to inform employees about upcoming events that may be of interest.

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