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FHWA Order M 1324.1A
This Directive was canceled July 29, 2013.

FHWA Files Management and Records Disposition Manual: Chapter 3
Classification Code Date Office of Primary Interest
M 1324.1A November 4, 1999  


  1. GENERAL. Disposition is the action taken when records are no longer needed for immediate access in current office space. This action includes retirement of inactive or noncurrent records to a Federal Records Center (FRC), transfer from one Federal agency to another, and the transfer of permanent records to the NARA. The transferring of non-record material to the FRC is prohibited. Non-record material includes, but is not limited to, the following:

    1. reading file copies of correspondence;

    2. tickler, follow-up, or suspense copies of correspondence;

    3. extra copies of printed or processed materials and official copies that have been retained for record purposes; and

    4. catalogs, trade journals, and other publications or papers that are received from Government agencies, commercial firms, or private institutions and that require no action and are not part of a case upon which action is taken.

  2. FILES CUT-OFF. Files cut-off is the breaking or ending of files at regular intervals, usually at the close of a fiscal year, to permit disposal or transfer in complete blocks and, for correspondence files, to permit the establishment of new files. During August and September for FY-based files, the Records Liaison Officer (RLO) will review all files and segregate those files that will be eligible for retirement, disposal, or other disposition at the end of the fiscal year, September 30, or calendar year, December 31. The simplest method for segregating eligible files is to group them by category: non-records, temporary records having a limited retention period, and permanent records.


    1. Selecting Records for Transfer

      (1) RLOs should survey files by June of each year and set aside the inactive records that will be eligible for retirement on September 30. The files selected will ordinarily include all subject files more than 2 years old and case files that are completed and/or which are referred to less than once a month per file drawer.

      (2) Do not send non-records to the FRC.

      (3) Do not send records to the FRC that have less than 1 year retention before destruction.

      (4) Each series of records must be transferred as a separate accession. Accession is the transfer of permanent records to the National Archives, and the transfer for the storage of temporary records to the FRC. Mixed series cannot be accepted without an approval exception from NARA. Each accession must consist of at least one box and normally only one closing year for a series of temporary records.

      (5) Records transferred to an FRC must have their final disposition established by an approved records schedule. Permanent records must be covered by a current schedule approved by the NARA after May 14, 1973.

    2. Preparing Records Transmittal and Receipt, SF-135. Prepare an original and two copies of the SF-135, Records Transmittal and Receipt, June 1976 or more recent edition. Washington Headquarters Offices must submit the original and one copy to the Office of Information Management Services, attention FHWA Records Officer (HAIM-10). Field offices must submit the original and one copy to the FRC serving the office's area (See Appendix C for FRC mailing addresses and telephone numbers). Retain a copy of the SF-135 for the office's pending file. Records must be separated into series for transfer to the FRC. A series is defined as a "block of records having the same disposition authority and same disposition date." See booklets "Transferring Records to the Federal Records Center" for field offices, and "Transferring Records to the Washington National Records Center" for Headquarters Office for instructions in completing the SF-135. These booklets are available from the FHWA Records Officer, HAIM-10.

    3. Preparing Records for Transfer. Order FRC boxes from the local GSA Supply Center through normal supply channels. Two styles of records boxes are available:

      (1) Standard-size record box:
      14 3/4" X 12" X 9 ½"
      NSN 8115-00-117-8249
      (lock bottom)

      (2) Special-purpose box:
      Half-size box
      14 3/4" X 9 ½" X 4 7/8"
      NSN 8115-00-117-8338

    4. Packing Records

      (1) Files should be placed in the carton in an upright position. Place letter-size records in the box with labels facing the numbered end. The numbered end will be opposite the stapled end. Place legal-size records in the box so that the labels face to the left of the box when facing the numbered end. Leave approximately 1 inch of space in each box for working the files. Send only completed or closed case files, contracts, etc. Leave all guides and tabs in the records if they will help FRC personnel service the records. A box must be at least 3/4 full unless it is the last box of an accession.

      (2) Folders must be in searchable order and should not be forced into the carton. Under no circumstances should folders be placed one on top of another in a box.

      (3) Leave a 1-inch space in each carton, this will permit easy withdrawal of individual folders for reference service.

    5. Labeling Boxes

      (1) Do not use "paste on" labels, as with time, they tend to fall off. Write directly on the carton with a black crayon, a large point felt-tip marker in numbers 1-1/2 to 2 inches high.

      (2) After the files are boxed, the cartons should be numbered sequentially (1 of 10, 2 of 10, 3 of 10, etc.), in the box labeled Agency Box Number in the upper-right front corner.

      (3) The accession number should be put in the box labeled Accession Number in the upper-left front corner.

      Label Sample 7

      (4) The accession number and the box number are the only information the FRC requires on the front of the box. The agency name and mailing address is not required, as the accession identifies to whom the records belong.

      (5) Place a copy of the completed and approved SF-135 (discussed below) in box 1 of the accession, and tuck close the tops of all boxes being transferred.

      (6) The number of boxes being transferred must match the number of boxes listed in column (e) on the SF-135. The FRC will not accept the accession if they do not match.

      (7) Records of different accessions must be packed in separate boxes.

    6. Shipping the Records

      (1) In Washington Headquarters, HAIM-10 will arrange for the transfer of the records to the FRC.

      (2) In other locations, arrangements must be made for shipment. The standard records box (12" x 14 3/4" x 11" inside dimensions) weighs approximately 30 lbs. when full.

      (3) Documents classified "confidential" should be sent priority-certified and any higher classifications should be sent priority-registered.

      (4) For shipments of 50 boxes or more, use a commercial carrier and call the local FRC to schedule a shipping date. Instruct the commercial carrier to contact FRC 24 hours before delivery of the boxes. These instructions should be noted on the bill of lading.

    7. Records Reference and Recall Services. Records retired to the FRC are available for recall and reuse by the agency while they are in the FRC custody. There are two ways to recall records from the FRC:

      (1) Electronically, by using the Office of Federal Records's Centers Information Processing System (CIPS). This on-line system permits customers to complete an electronic version of the Optional Form (OF)-11, Reference Request-Federal Records Centers, thus reducing the lead time it takes to receive retrieved records from the FRC. Contact the local FRC to be added to the CIPS program.

      (2) Use paper form version or the electronic INFORMS version of the OF-11 to recall records (either a single file or one or more boxes) from the local FRC.

    8. When completing the OF-11, paper form or electronic form, the following is required:

      (1) Provide the accession number, the box number of the records requested, and the FRC location number (taken from the completed SF-135). Always indicate whether the records are to be permanently withdrawn. For the paper form, the original and the manilla copies are sent to the FRC, and the pink middle copy is retained by the requestor's office as the suspense copy. For the INFORMS electronic version, make two copies, one to send to the FRC, and the other to be retained as the suspense copy.

      (2) Use a separate OF-11 for each folder or box requested, whether contiguous or not, unless the request is for permanent withdrawal. Photocopies of OF-11s are acceptable.

      (3) If records are being requested under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act or the Privacy Act, make a notation to that effect in the "REMARKS" section of the OF-11 to ensure priority handling and immediate return.

      (4) While recalled folders or boxes are in the requestor's possession, do not refolder or rebox the records. They must be returned in the original folders or containers to allow accurate refiling. If for some reason the box is unusable for shipment, copy all information from its front onto the front of its replacement.


    1. Unclassified Records. Dispose as if waste paper.

    2. Limited Access Material. Dispose "FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY" and other limited access material (does not include classified materials) on the basis of subject content and the disposal schedule.

      Note: Records pertaining to accounts, claims, or demands involving the Government of the United States, that have not been settled or adjusted, may not be disposed of until settlement or adjustment has occurred.

    3. Classified Records. See DOT H 1350.2, DOT Information Resources Manual, Chapter 11 - Systems Security, for in-office disposal of classified records. For further information concerning classified records, contact TASC, Personnel and Information Security Services, SVC-152.

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