15 FAM 730


(CT:OBO-88;   06-18-2019)
(Office of Origin:  OBO)

15 FAM 731  Policy

15 FAM 731.1  General Policy

(CT:OBO-71;   05-14-2018)

The Office of Residential Design and Furnishings, Directorate for Operations, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO/OPS/RDF) is responsible for the interior design and the furniture, furnishings, and equipment (FF&E) as outlined in this subchapter for the following officers’ designated representational residences:

·         Ambassador;

·         Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM);

·         Consul General (when Principal Officer);

·         U.S. Interest Section’s PO; and

·         U.S. Ambassador to an international organization abroad.

NOTE: The above mentioned residences are collectively referred to here as ‘representational residences.’

Additionally, the designated residences must also be long-term leased, U.S. Government-owned (GO), or restricted Government-owned (RGO).  (See 15 FAM 732, paragraph b, for policy on DCM residences at posts with less than 35 U.S. direct hire desk employees.) 

The FF&E includes the following official representational supplies: official china, glassware, flatware, hollowware, kitchenware, and other items approved by the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) or the parent agency.  Allocations are based on program requirements, individual residence facilities, particular circumstances, and budget realities.  These residences may also have items from the Department’s cultural heritage collection, including antiques, works of art, and items that are rare or of historic significance.

15 FAM 731.2  Detailed Policy

(CT:OBO-88;   06-18-2019)

a. Interior design for representational residences:  OBO/OPS/RDF does the following: (a) provides FF&E listed in 15 FAM Exhibit 732(A) and the interior design for the representational residences of the Ambassador, DCM, and CG (when PO); (b) funds the acquisition of FF&E listed in 15 FAM Exhibit 732(A); and (c) supports the FF&E’s installation, maintenance, and preservation.

(1)  OBO/OPS/RDF reviews residences on a rotational basis and develops an interior design plan for each residence.  The interior design plan includes functional space planning, new furniture and furnishings, furniture reuse, interior architectural finishes, accessibility requirements (ADA compliance), and fire and life safety coordination.  Furniture and furnishings must last until the next scheduled review, which may be several occupants later.  RDF maintains the residence review schedule.  OBO senior management approves each fiscal year’s schedule, taking into account available funding and resources;

(2)  For representational residences in capital construction projects, RDF directs the programming, space planning and design, and major renovations. RDF interior designers participate in the Integrated Design Review (IDR) process, using major renovation funds to select and purchase the projects’ furniture and furnishings;

(3) RDF supports and funds requests for unscheduled replacement of furniture and furnishings.  RDF is the final authority on granting such requests.  Decisions are based on available resources;

(4)  RDF’s interior designers must approve the planning, design, and execution of renovations and interior changes to all the residences' spaces.  Staff at post will implement these changes;

(5)  The occupant’s personal taste or style does not factor into interior design support and approvals. (For more information on using design services from a private designer, see 15 FAM 733 and 2 FAM 960, Solicitation and/or Acceptance of Gifts by the Department of State);

(a)  If a private designer’s services are not approved as permanent donations, the occupant must:

(i)     Remove the donated design elements from the residence; and

(ii)    Restore both the residence’s original layout and FF&E prior to their departure from post.  This restoration and removal will be at their own expense;

(b)  Occupants are personally responsible for the proper use and care of U.S. Government property while serving at post.  Damage to structures, grounds, or furnishings by pets, children, or blatant disregard for proper care of furniture and furnishings is not normal wear and tear; the occupant bears personal financial responsibility for these damages.  (See 15 FAM 245.  For furniture and furnishing removal, see 15 FAM 245.1, paragraph c);

(6)  OBO/OPS/RDF designates which furniture and furnishings are not intended for reuse in a scheduled project.  Post must immediately sell all such furniture and furnishings and submit all sale proceeds to OBO/OPS/RDF.  Post may not sell FF&E that post deems damaged or unusable without OBO/OPS/RDF’s approval.  Post must document all sale proceeds with a DS-132 and submit the proceeds to OBO/OPS/RDF.

b. Representational supplies:

(1)  Only ambassadorial representational residences receive crested china and crested crystal glassware from OBO/OPS/RDF.  The following receive uncrested china and uncrested crystal glassware:

·         The DCM’s representational residence, if at a post with 35 or more U.S. direct hire desk positions; and

·         The Consul General’s (CG) state table, if the CG is serving as PO.

(2)  OBO/OPS/RDF provides sterling silver for the state table only.  The following receive silver-plated flatware (up to 36 place settings), silver-plated hollowware, and other necessary tableware:

·         Ambassadorial representational residences;

·         DCM representational residences at posts with 35 or more U.S. direct hire desk positions; and

·         The CG’s representational residence, if the CG is serving as the PO.

(3)  OBO/OPS/RDF provides sets of kitchen cookware and kitchen utensils to:

·         Ambassadorial representational residences;

·         DCM representational residences at posts with 35 or more U.S. direct hire desk positions; and

·         The CG’s representational residence, if the CG is serving as the PO.

(4)  Retired U.S. Ambassadors may purchase crested china and glassware at their own expense.  OBO/OPS/RDF must approve all requests.

c.  Heritage Collection Items in Representational Residences:  The Office of Cultural Heritage, Directorate for Operations, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO/OPS/CH) provides guidance and support (including funding) for identifying, preserving, and monitoring the Department's heritage collection items located in representational residences and elsewhere at post.  (See 15 FAM 770 for policy, procedures, and guidelines on antiques, works of art, and other cultural heritage items.)

d. Art:  The Office of Art in Embassies, Directorate for Operations, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO/OPS/ART) is responsible for loaned artworks in representational spaces of representational residences.  (See 15 FAM 740.)  Occupants are responsible for all other artwork and accessories, such as vases, clocks, plants, etc.

15 FAM 732  Funding

(CT:OBO-88;   06-18-2019)

a. Other agencies:  Each agency funds the requirements of its personnel.

b. Department of State:

(1)  OBO/OPS/RDF funds and procures furniture, furnishings, and equipment (FF&E) outlined in 15 FAM Exhibit 732(A) for designated representational residences.  This includes residences for the Ambassador, the DCM (for posts with at least 35 U.S. direct hire desk positions), the CG (when PO), and U.S. Ambassadors to international organizations abroad.  OBO/RDF does not provide either support or funding for DCMs at posts with less than 35 U.S. direct hire desk positions.  If an embassy grows to be greater than 35 U.S. direct hire desk positions, the DCM’s residence becomes an officially designated residence.  (See 15 FAM 235.2.)  Once a residence is officially designated and the DCM receives official residence expense (ORE) funding, post may request OBO/OPS/RDF support for interior design and new FF&E for the DCM’s residence (with the concurrence of its regional bureau).  A scheduled review and support are subject to availability of funding and resources.

(2)  6 FAH-5 H-520 outlines commissioning activities for new residences.  Regional bureaus use funding from the Diplomatic & Consular Program (D&CP) for commissioning activities for operating leased designated residences.  For designated residences acquired through capital lease, construction, or sales acquisition, OBO funds commissioning activities.  The construction project funds commissioning activities for constructed designated residences; likewise, funding for purchased designated residences’ commissioning expenses comes from the same source as the property acquisition.

(3)  OBO/OPS/RDF funds small appliances costing more than $250, including associated shipping costs (see paragraph a in 15 FAM Exhibit 732(A)).

(4)  OBO/OPS/RDF does not provide funding or support for the following equipment:  air purifiers/filters, air conditioners less than 36,000 BTU, interior portable heating appliances, transformers/adapters, voltage regulators/power stabilizers, water tanks/pumps, or water treatment equipment.  Post provides these items using D&CP funding.

(5)  OBO/OPS/RDF funds the initial sets and replacements for the representational supplies listed in paragraph b in 15 FAM Exhibit 732(A).

15 FAM 733  Guidelines for Interior Design, Furnishings, Furnishings, and Equipment

(CT:OBO-71;   05-14-2018)

a. Representational residences showcase American furniture and reflect a high standard for quality, style, and functionality.  Material selections are aesthetically conscious of local architecture, climate, culture, and maintenance ease.

b. OBO/OPS/RDF maintains a master list of all official residences and a schedule of planned FF&E refurbishment.  OBO/OPS/RDF interior designers brief incoming occupants on their future residences’ current condition.  Occupants may work with RDF regarding special requests based on functional requirements, such as family size and representational entertaining style.  RDF will advise occupants regarding their responsibility for specific personal needs.

c.  During the turnover make-ready time period and with RDF’s approval, occupants may repaint the family living areas only.  This does not apply to family spaces that are part of the historical fabric of a culturally significant property.  In such cases, both OBO/OPS/RDF and OBO/OPS/CH must approve any proposal to change any existing finishes in writing.  Posts may use routine maintenance and repair funds for painting supplies.  (See 15 FAM 640, Approvals Required for Repairs and Improvements; 15 FAM 230, Allocating Residential Space; and 15 FAM 240, Using Residential Space.)

d. If a nonfederal source donates services and/or projects for embassy refurbishment, post must comply with the guidance outlined in 2 FAM 962.6-2. Additionally, OBO must review any third party designs and private donations of furniture and furnishings, and must coordinate with L/BA for approval before accepting. Occupants and post must then follow 2 FAM 960, Solicitation and/or Acceptance of Gifts by the Department of State.

15 FAM 734  CLOSINGS and Evacuations

15 FAM 734.1  Post Closings

(CT:OBO-71;   05-14-2018)

a. Before a post closes, the post must request instructions from OBO/OPS/RDF for transferring, selling, or disposing of representational supplies, furniture, furnishings, and equipment.  Do not leave these items with other agencies without complete inventories and OBO/OPS/RDF’s approval.

b. The post must request instructions from OBO/OPS/CH for protecting and transferring cultural heritage assets.  (See 15 FAM 770.)

15 FAM 734.2  Post Evacuations

(CT:OBO-71;   05-14-2018)

Evacuating posts must make an effort to safeguard sterling silver flatware.  If a secure location is not available at the official residence, post may store flatware in the chancery safes.  Post Emergency Action Plans should contain protocols for safeguarding these objects in an emergency.  When directed by OBO/OPS/RDF, post must pack and ship sterling flatware and hollowware back to:

      U.S. Department of State
SA-6, Room 1201
ATTN:  Representational Supplies/703-875-6612
1701 N. Fort Myer Drive
Arlington, VA  22209

15 FAM 735  PROCEDURES FOR Annual Inventories

15 FAM 735.1  State Department

(CT:OBO-71;   05-14-2018)

a. Annual inventories of GO items are an integral part of property accountability systems.  (See 14 FAM 414.)  OBO requires inventories for all chief-of-mission (COM), DCM, CG, and PO residences furnished by OBO/OPS/RDF.  Each post must submit annual inventories using the Integrated Logistics Management System (ILMS) Asset Reports Physical Inventory Reports.  If a residence is unoccupied, the Accountable Property Officer should sign the form.  Post must ensure that all updates (additions, deletions, and changes in condition) are incorporated into the new inventory report and presented to the occupant for review and signature.  Discrepancies must be indicated on form DS-132, Property Disposal Report, using the asset class numbers.  Include the DS-132 report when submitting the inventory reports to the email mailboxes noted below.  Inventories must cover the calendar year (January through December).  Submit all annual inventories between January 1 and March 15 of the next calendar year.

b. Submit an annual inventory to OBO/OPS/RDF of all GO property from the following residences:

·         The ambassador;

·         The DCM;

·         The CG (if acting as the PO);

·         The U.S. Interest Section’s PO; and

·         The U.S. representative to an international organization.

(1)  Submit furniture, furnishings, and equipment (FF&E) inventory results via email to:  OBO-RDF-Furniture@state.gov.  In ILMS Asset Management, use the “Inventory Listing by Location” format and the agency code “OBO/RDF.”  Signatures on the last page must include the printed name of the signing official and date of signature.

(2)  Each post must submit an annual inventory of all representational supplies in the residences of the Ambassador, Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM), Consul General (CG) when PO, U.S. Interest Section PO, and U.S. representative to an international organization abroad.  Submit representational supplies inventory via email to: OBO-RDF-RepSupplies@state.gov.  In ILMS, create the report by selecting "OBO Inventory" from the asset reports menu.  Where possible, indicate quantities for both the current and previous year’s inventory for flatware, chinaware, and glassware.

c.  For Overseas Staffing Model (OSM) posts in categories one and two, post must conduct and submit a new inventory if there is an occupant change in a representational residence.

d. If there is no change in occupant in the year following a complete inventory, post can update the original inventory and submit all updated inventories by March 15 to the appropriate office.  If there are no changes, the occupant or Property Management Officer must submit a memorandum to OBO/OPS/RDF.

e. OBO/OPS/RDF will not process requests for additional items for any representational residences without receiving and reviewing current inventories.

f.  Post must provide high-quality photographs of representational residences for both the archives and for briefing future occupants on residence conditions.  Post must provide a minimum of four photos per room, plus exterior shots of the entire residence.  Shots should show each room from all angles.  Contact OBO/OPS/RDF for details on uploading files to SharePoint.

15 FAM 736  through 739 unassigned


15 FAM Exhibit 732(A)  
Furniture, Furnishings, and Equipment (FF&E) for U.S. Government-Furnished Representational Residences

(CT:OBO-71;   05-14-2018)


a. OBO/OPS/RDF provides the following items for the representational residences of ambassadors, DCMs, CGs (when POs), and U.S. ambassadors to international organizations abroad, as needed:

·         Bed coverings, duvets, pillow shams, and bed skirts;

·         Bedroom furniture (master/guest/additional bedrooms): headboard, nightstand, dresser, lamps, mirrors, wardrobes as needed;

·         Chandeliers and decorative lighting;

·         Dining room furniture: table, chairs, china cabinet;

·         Dishwashers;

·         Distillers, water (see note below);

·         Dryers, clothes;

·         Fans, ceiling;

·         Floor rugs, carpeting;

·         Food warmers;

·         Freezers, chest or upright;

·         Ice machines;

·         Living room/family room furniture:  sofas, chairs, tables, bookcases, lamps;

·         Mangle irons;

·         Mattress sets and bedframes;

·         Microwave ovens;

·         Ovens, convection or professional;

·         Patio furniture and heaters;

·         Piano (for Ambassadors and CGs (when POs));

·         Refrigerators;

·         Stoves and cooking ranges, electric/gas and residential/commercial grade;

·         Smart television and stereo system (one each per residence, for representational space only);

·         Table linens, to include table cloths, placemats, napkins (for State dining table only);

·         Table and floor lamps;

·         Vacuum cleaners;

·         Vacuum packaging machines, food sealers; and

·         Washing machines, clothes; and

·         Window treatments.

NOTE: OBO/OPS/RDF will only fund water distillers if they are connected to freezers and/or ice machines and are necessary to make large quantities of safe ice for representational events.


·         Coffee/cappuccino/espresso makers;

·         Fireplace accessories;

·         Food processors;

·         Ice cream makers;

·         Meat slicers;

·         Mixers/blenders; and

·         Smoothie makers.

b. OBO/OPS/RDF provides the following items for the representational residences of ambassadors, DCMs, CGs (when POs), chiefs of liaison offices, U.S. Interest Section POs, consuls (when POs), and U.S. representatives to international organizations abroad, as needed:

·         Bread trays;

·         Butter dishes;

·         Candelabras;

·         Casserole dishes, covered and uncovered;

·         Chafing dishes;

·         China;

·         Glassware;

·         Hurricane lamps;

·         Ice buckets and ice tongs;

·         Kitchen utensils and cookware;

·         Place card holders;

·         Revere bowls with liners;

·         Silver-plated flatware;

·         Silver chest;

·         Silver cleaning supplies;

·         Sterling silver flatware;

·         Tea and coffee service;

·         Trays, small/medium/large; and

·         Water pitchers.