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    Associate Lab Directorate (ALD) Area Burden Costs

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    Policy Summary

    This policy provides guidance on the general management and administration of Berkeley Lab's scientific and support Associate Laboratory Directorate (ALD) area burden costs.

    Who Should Read This Policy

    All Laboratory employees who manage area burdens

    To Read the Full Policy, Go To:

    The POLICY tab on this wiki page

    Contact Information

    Indirect Budget Manager, Office of the Chief Financial Officer


    Associate Lab Directorate (ALD) Area Burden Costs

    Publication date:


    Effective date:



    A. Purpose

    This policy provides guidance on the general management and administration of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's (Berkeley Lab's) scientific Associate Laboratory Directorate (ALD) area burden expenses.

    B. Persons Affected

    All Laboratory employees who manage area burdens

    C. Exceptions


    D. Policy Statement

    1. General

    Area burden costs represent the costs of overall management and administration of the individual Associate Laboratory Directorates (ALDs). The area burdens will be:

      1. Appropriately budgeted and accounted for on a consistent basis.
      2. Accumulated in standardized indirect cost pools (area burden projects).
      3. Allocated to the benefiting cost objectives (projects) in an equitable and reasonable manner.

    2.  Cost Pool Expense

      1. Area burden cost activities provide cross-divisional leadership to strengthen and grow research programs and assure effective operational support from the area and divisions. In particular, the ALD helps to design, articulate, and develop each division's long- and short-term scientific/technical project and program goals. The ALD manages division directors, who are responsible for programmatic and operational activities within their respective division. The ALD ensures adherence to appropriate policies and procedures and that programmatic and project operations are cost effective, efficient, and optimized within constraints of their budgets. The ALD helps develop short- and long-term financial strategies to ensure proper funding levels and will also evaluate new funding sources for divisions.
      2. Area burden cost pools shall not include research and development (R&D) activities.
      3. The cost pool should not include costs that are unallowable, or not in compliance with Berkeley Lab's prime contract, Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), and/or Cost Accounting Standards (CAS).
      4. The ALD area burden cost pool may include the following cost elements:
        1. Labor Expenses
          1. Associate Laboratory Director. A portion of the wage expense of associate laboratory directors for management and oversight of the divisions, as well as strategic planning.
          2. Associate Laboratory Deputies. Wage expense of ALD deputies to support the management and oversight of the area, as well as strategic planning and/or assistant ALDs.
          3. ALD Office Staff. Wage expense of ALD administrators, ALD office management, and other administrative support.
          4. ALD Support. Wage expense of staff whose appointment or assignment is of an area-wide nature that clearly and specifically supports area responsibilities. This may include operations managers and other professional staff, such as business managers, safety coordinators, financial resource analysts, and Human Resources (HR) partners who support the overall area. It may also include activities such as preparing an annual division research report or reviewing work task proposals, or general business development activities. Assignments that benefit specific divisions or projects are excluded.
          5. Staff Between Assignments. Wage expense of employees between assignments.
        1. Other Expenses
          1. ALD Office Operating Costs. Costs may include, but are not limited to travel, recharges, vehicles, non-capital equipment purchases, equipment rental/maintenance, computing, recruitment activities, other supplies and expense items, area seminars, and electricity expenses related to the area office. Other operating costs may be included as appropriate.
          2. Development Activities. May include events or activities in support of training, career development or area-wide program development outcomes.
          3. Building Expenses, Alterations, and Moving Expenses. Costs of building managers, building supplies and equipment, general-use equipment repairs, noncapital space alterations, and area-initiated moves.
          4. Research Project Termination. Support for project termination expenses is intended to allow reasonable accommodation to unanticipated or sudden minor changes in division research activities due to a specific project termination. It does not provide for termination of a major research program or a subprogram, which should be directly funded by the program.
          5. Equipment. Costs for equipment include the purchase, fabrication, lease, and maintenance of equipment that broadly supports area activities. Such equipment must meet the criteria below.
            • The users/beneficiaries of the equipment are included in the area burden distribution base. The equipment is used to support area multi-programmatic and/or interdisciplinary functions where the predominant use is not directly identified with a specific project. In addition, equipment does not apply to institution-wide users/beneficiaries.
            • Capital equipment may be charged to the area burden if it meets the requirement above and the following requirements:

    -      Capital equipment criteria (see Definitions/Acronyms, below).

    -      Users/beneficiaries are within the division’s organization burden base.

    -      Users/beneficiaries include multiple sponsors and/or projects within the organization burden base.

            3. Distribution Base

    The distribution base for area burden costs is the associated area wage expenses (labor and payroll burden), campus labor and contract labor.

      1. The following are excluded from the distribution base for area burden costs:
        1. Area and organization burden labor charged to their respective cost pools.
        2. Costs of all consultants and the wage expense of employees matrixed from other organizations.
        3. Training Fellowships and Career-Development Strategic Partnership Projects (SPP) awards and work-study students.
        4. Multiple location assignments (MLAs), inter-jurisdictional employee exchanges (IJEs), intergovernmental personnel appointments (IPAs), and Department of Energy (DOE) detailee projects.

           4. Rate Execution and Monitoring

      1. Area burden costs are allocated using pre-established rates. Rates are based on forecasted costs for the applicable fiscal year.
      2. Preliminary area burden rates are developed on a break-even basis, with the objective of establishing a rate to recover the exact total of costs in the cost pool at fiscal year-end. If a material variance exists between cost and recovery at fiscal year end, the area will revise the rate and/or budget to appropriately allocate the variance. Revised rates are retroactive to the beginning of the fiscal year.
      3. Establishment of Area burdens, as well as established rates, forecasts, and revisions of predetermined rates for the applicable cost accounting period(s) are prepared by appropriate Area staff and coordinated and executed through the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) Budget Office.

    E. Roles and Responsibilities

    Managers, supervisors, and employees must adhere to the provisions of this policy.



    Area Resource Analyst
    • Formulates and coordinates the Area Burden cost pool and allocation base.
    • Coordinates and executes Area Burden rate forecasts, establishment of the predetermined rate for the applicable cost accounting period(s), and revisions to the pre-established rate.
    • Maintains supporting documentation for recharge cost pools and allocation bases.
    • Monitors the recharge costs and collections to ensure that cost recovery is as close to break-even as possible. With input from Area Leadership, submits the Area Burden cost pool, distribution base and rate.

    Area Leadership

    • Leads the formulation and coordination of the area expense pool and allocation base in accordance with the above policy.
    • Executes the organization expense-rate forecasts and establishes the predetermined rate for the applicable cost accounting period(s).
    • Coordinates revisions to the pre-established area budget and rate with the Budget Office. Reviews and approves submissions (to the Budget Office) of the requested budget and rate change.
    Associate Laboratory Director (or Designee)
    • Signs off on submissions (to the Budget Office) of proposed budget and rate changes.

    Budget Office

    • Performs periodic reviews of rate cost pools and rate performance.
    • Submits the forward pricing rates to the appropriate DOE office for approval.
    • Distributes rates to financial stakeholders.*
    • Identifies cost accounting practice changes, makes appropriate Cost Accounting Standards Board (CASB) Disclosure Statement revisions, and submits changes to the appropriate DOE office for approval.

    *In the context of this policy, financial stakeholders may include area/division business managers or other area/division operations staff to whom area/division management has given accountability for financial matters. This may also include Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) staff matrixed to the area/division.

    F. Definitions/Acronyms




    To assign an item of cost, or a group of items of cost, to one or more cost objectives. This term includes both direct assignment of cost and the reassignment of a share from an indirect cost pool.

    Cost Objective

    A function, organizational subdivision, program, or other work unit for which cost data are desired and for which provision is made to accumulate and measure the cost of processes, products, jobs, projects, etc.

    Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) The primary regulation for use by all federal executive agencies in their acquisition of supplies and services with appropriated funds.

    Final Cost Objective

    A cost objective to which both direct and indirect costs are allocated and which is one of the final accumulation points.

    Indirect Cost

    Any cost identified with two or more joint final cost objectives that cannot be identified specifically with a particular activity or project.

    Indirect Cost Pool

    A grouping of incurred costs identified with two or more cost objectives, but not identified specifically with any final cost objective.

    Value-Added Cost Input Total cost input less material and subcontract costs.

    Wage Expense

    Salary multiplied by Paid Leave Factor multiplied by one plus the Payroll Burden Rate {Salary x Paid Leave Factor x (1 + Payroll Burden Rate)}.

    G. Recordkeeping Requirements


    H. Implementing Documents

    I. Contact Information

    Indirect Budget Manager, Office of the Chief Financial Officer

    J. Revision History



    By whom

    Revision Description

    Section(s) affected

    Change Type

    5/17/2023 2 J. Coyne Periodic review: policy text clarifications with some minor additions. Updates to definitions and R&Rs. All Minor
    3/2/2020 1 L. Freeman Periodic review: no changes. New review date updated.  All Editorial
    9/10/2018 1 L. Freeman Policy clarifications and edits for consistency. Added detailed R&Rs. All Major



    B. Smith

    Policy Creation





    Associate Lab Directorate (ALD) Area Burden Costs

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