About NCEF

With more than 23,000 resources in its collection, the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF) website is the largest source of school facilities information in the world. Its purpose is to offer timely and comprehensive information for all stakeholders involved in designing, building, and maintaining safe, healthy, high-performing schools.


The U.S. Department of Education initially called for the creation of a clearinghouse focused on educational facilities in 1997. The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF, www.ncef.org) has been operated by the National Institute of Building Sciences (the Institute) since 1998.

The Institute successfully expanded, operated, and maintained NCEF, funded through a series of grants from the Department of Education through 2010. Due to changes in the funding mechanism and criteria for an education facilities clearinghouse, the funds were awarded another organization.

Based on the overwhelming expressions of support for NCEF from the educational facilities community and the importance of maintaining this existing resource, the Institute was able to keep NCEF fine-tuned and running through September 2012, until lack of financial support dictated that the site be reduced to purely archival functionality. Despite its “fallow” years of 2012 – 2015, when funding was not forthcoming, NCEF’s popularity has continued among its users.

Popular Features

NCEF’s most popular features include:

  • Resource Lists, drawn from NCEF's vast database of nearly 17,000 records. Subject-specific resource lists provide a quick path to more than 150 school facilities topics. In the future, NCEF will employ “healthy school,” “safe school,” and “high-performing school” icons to identify the programs with these priorities.
  • NCEF News and Updates summarize and provide links to news stories about educational facilities nationwide. A searchable archive of over 3,700 news articles dating back to 2004 provides a unique source of information. In the future, an RSS feed to NCEF News will automatically deliver the latest news headlines to a person’s computer desktop, allowing that individual to automatically “opt-in” to NCEF content.
  • Links to facilities-related professional organizations; federal, state and local agencies and organizations; academic research centers; and media sources provide a useful shortcut to the most frequently contacted sources.
  • “Safe Schools,” the Institute-produced NCEF video series helps school personnel identify potential safety issues that could exist in and around K-12 school grounds and school buildings. Safe School will be highlighted and augmented in the near future.

Coming soon

In late 2015, the Institute undertook an overhaul of the NCEF website, with the intention of soft-launching the “new, improved” NCEF at the NIBS annual meeting in January 2016. NCEF’s most popular features are still here, updated and accessed now by a powerful new content management system. Throughout 2016, the Institute will expand the content and social media aspects of the website, and explore creation of partnerships for sharing your informational resources to serve stakeholders in today’s and tomorrow’s schools. If you would like to share your informational resources and/or your creative ideas on how we can best shape NCEF into a resource base to serve today's and tomorrow’s schools, please contact the Institute at nibs@nibs.org or 202-289-7800 with your interest and ideas.


NCEF.org offers advertisers the opportunity to get their product and sales messages to NCEF readers. Architects, engineers, planners, builders, state and local officials, administrators, and teachers all look to the NCEF website as an important resource for information on planning, design, funding, building and maintenance of schools, from pre-K through university. View the JNIBS 2016 Media Kit.