2.3 Function Codes

Contact

Questions about this policy can be answered by:

David Ida

Sr Space Analyst

Cost and Management Analysis

(650) 725-7565

1. Using Function Codes

Functional coding of all rooms is a key part of the University’s compliance with federal requirements. These Function Codes designate how space is used based on the activities occurring in the space. You need to determine the functional use of all of your occupied assignable space (Room Type Code 081 or greater).

Note: Respondents should note that in iSpace and on the Inventory datasheets this data field is shown as “Functional Use Code.” 

Back to top

2. Function Code List

The following is a list of all activities and the corresponding Function Code.

Function Code

Academic Function Codes

Instruction: Function Code: I
Departmental Administration Code: A
Organized Research: Function Code: R
Departmental Research: Function Code: L
Other Institutional Activities Code: C
Patient Care: Function Code: P

Central Support Space

 
General & Administrative Code: G
Sponsored Projects Administration Code: Q
University Libraries Code: U
Operation & Maintenance Code: M
Student Administration & Services Code: S

Auxiliaries, Hospital & Non-Stanford Entities Space

Auxiliaries, Hospital & Non-Stanford Entities Code: N
Dormitories and Housing & Dining Services Code: D

Special Use Space

Specialized Service Facility Code: F
Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC) Code: O
Inactive Code: E
Temporarily Unassignable Code: X
Unassaignable Space Code: Z

 

Back to top

3. Function Code Determination

Function Codes in some cases seem fairly self evident, such as ‘Instruction’.  However, there are nuances to the activities in each Function Code as defined in the OMB A-21 document.  You should read the definitions in this section for any of the function codes that may pertain to your space depending on the type of organization you are in: Academic (with or without sponsored research), Central Support or Special Use. Everyone should also understand the policy on inactive and unusable space. The determination of room functional use is an integral step in updating your department’s space inventory. Use a reasonable best method of understanding the activities in a given room. Labs and other rooms that are coded with multi-functional use will require a higher level of scrutiny. Rooms that have multiple activities with different functions codes will need to have the level of effort of each of these activities estimated and expressed as a percentage of the total use of the room. After you become familiar with the definitions of the applicable function codes, one of several methods may be employed to decide each room’s function code and corresponding percentage of use:

  1. Interview(s) with the responsible and most knowledgeable person - for labs this would be the Principal Investigator (faculty).
  2. Interview(s) with the room occupant(s).
  • For example, Lab managers, Research Assistants and/or Teaching Assistants (TA) would know the activities in the room.
  1.  General knowledge of the activities performed in the room.
  2. Use logs, staff rosters, room assignment lists, etc.
  3. Analysis of revenue (for selected service centers or labs that charge to use their facilities, e.g., Stanford Nanofabrication Facility).  See page 35 for a detailed discussion of functional coding for service centers.

When interviewing people about room use, you must take care to ensure that the defined functional activities are clearly understood by the interviewees to ensure proper allocation of the space by Function Code.

You must keep verifiable documentation (including interview notes) as to how the room coding was determined in the event that an additional review or audit is required of any particular space.  See Appendix C for detailed guidance on documentation for Organized Research.

For most of the Function Codes, funding of the activities is not a factor in determining the coding. For Organized Research and Departmental Research however, both funding and the nature of the activities in the space must be considered when coding rooms used for research at Stanford University. Of particular interest is the coding of space used in the conduct of Organized Research (Sponsored and University research). To begin with, you must have one or more funded sponsored projects ongoing in the space to justify the functional coding to Organized research. So the source of funding for the research helps determine the coding, but may need additional clarification. External funds are always Organized Research; but internal funding (including gifts) may be used to support Organized Research (OR) or Departmental Research (DR) based on additional criteria. More importantly, the space should be coded in a manner consistent with the functional activities taking place in the room(s).

Back to top

4. Space Coding Examples

Let’s look at aspects of these concepts.  First, the space coding should not be based solely on the salary funding of the person(s) occupying the space.  To illustrate this…

A. Example 1: Research Assistant With Split Salary

A research lab used 100% for Dr. Smith’s NIH-funded research.  The sole occupant of the lab is a Research Assistant (RA) who receives part of his salary from the NIH-funded grant and the remainder from a department fellowship.  Per discussions with Dr. Smith and the RA, it is determined that while in the lab the RA’s activities were all in support of the sponsored project and as such, are 100% Organized Research.  In this example, the occupant’s split salary funding is not an accurate reflection of this room’s activity, and the functional coding of this room should be 100% OR.

B. Example 2: Lab with two Sources of Funding

A laboratory room is used solely for research and is funded 80% by an external sponsor(s) and 20% by the department operating budget. 

If the operating budget portion supports the sponsored research activities:

  1. During the active sponsored project’s period of performance, the room should be coded 100% to Organized Research.
  2. Before or after the active sponsored project’s period of performance (except for cost overruns), the room should be coded 100% to Departmental Research (DR) for unsponsored period of time.

If the operating budget portion does NOT support the sponsored research (it is for activities that are unrelated to any sponsored projects), the room should be coded 80% to OR and 20% to DR.

In this example, the estimated level of effort for the activities of OR and DR may not be exactly the same as the funding levels. If so, you would use the estimated effort to allocate the percentage of use of the space to OR and DR.

C. Example 3: Looking at Activities in a Room With a Single Source of Funding

A laboratory room is used for a sponsored research project. Is the room 100% OR? At first glance, yes. However, looking a little further... The PI, a technician, and two graduate RAs occupy the room. The PI also teaches, but the PI’s presence in the lab is to perform the research, not to grade papers, which the PI commonly does in his or her office. The RAs and technician are present to perform research for the PI. So far, so good… However, in this example, the RAs are also TAs and hold a scheduled study lab session for their class in this lab room. Any non-research activity, if it occurs, should also be reported by function in the room coding. Thus a portion of the room use should to be coded to Instruction, if measurable, even though the funding of the room is all through the sponsored project. As with all functional reporting, measurable means occurring with regularity rather than sporadically in order to estimate a percentage of use.

D. Documentation

You must keep verifiable documentation (including interview notes) as to how the room coding was determined in the event that an additional review or audit is required of any particular space.

Back to top

5. Room Activities vs. Salary Funding

The space coding should not be based solely on the salary funding of the person(s) occupying the space.

A. Example

A research lab used 100% for Dr. Smith’s NIH-funded research. The sole occupant of the lab is a RA who receives part of his salary from the NIH-funded grant and the remainder from a department fellowship. Per discussions with Dr. Smith and the RA, it is determined that while in the lab the RA’s activities were all in support of the sponsored project and as such, are 100% Organized Research. In this example, the occupant’s split salary funding is not an accurate reflection of this room’s activity, and the functional coding of this room should be 100% OR.

Back to top

6. Academic Non-Office Space

Non-office space should be coded according to the functional use activities occurring in the room. Much of the multiuse space is under the responsibility of a named individual who directs the activities in specific rooms and can specify these activities. Some space used in support of another specific use room may be coded differently than the supported room because the use is more focused. For example, labs with desks may have instructional activity that is not occurring in the lab support rooms. For broader shared space (such as glasswash, equipment, or storage), consideration should be given not only to how the space is used but also to who customarily accesses it. Storage areas that support a department should be functionally coded based on the activity for which the contents are used.

Back to top

7. Academic Office Space

Stanford University’s policy is that all academic office space (Room Type Codes 300 - 399) will be coded initially to Departmental Administration to facilitate the space inventory process and ensure accuracy in reporting the activities that are occurring. During the calculation of the University’s indirect cost rate, this space will be assigned to the other activities, e.g., Instruction, Organized Research, Student Services, based on each department’s salary distribution to those activities. See Departmental Administration for more details and exceptions.

Back to top

Go to Space Manual Chapter: