General Services Administration:

Response to Follow-up Questions Related to Building Repairs and Alterations and Courthouse Utilization

GGD-00-124R: Published: May 11, 2000. Publicly Released: May 11, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO followed up on its report on the General Services Administration's (GSA) building repairs and alterations program.

GAO noted that: (1) according to GSA repair and alteration officials, efforts are under way to develop a 5-year plan initiative within the next 2 years; (2) GSA program officials said that they would give priority to those repair and alteration projects that have the greatest potential to increase the inventory, desirability, and value of rentable space; (3) GSA officials also said that they are exploring other ways to increase funds in the Federal Buildings Fund; (4) they are also considering exploring whether Congress might be receptive to directly appropriating funds for the repairs and alterations program and have GSA repay these appropriations from additional rent revenues generated from completed projects; (5) building repairs involved major components, such as electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, fire alarms and sprinkler systems, or other fire and life safety items; (6) GSA officials said they recognize that the physical condition of many federal buildings is far from ideal, that a significant inventory of repair and alteration work exists, and that some buildings cannot support 21st century operations; (7) GAO found instances where: (a) certain GSA regions did not include all repair and alteration requirements in the database; (b) major repairs and alterations were identified as still being in inventory when, in fact, they had already moved into design, construction, or had been completed; (c) work items were included in the inventory when they should have been deleted; and (d) construction cost estimates were not always current; (8) GAO also found that the Inventory Reporting Information System (IRIS), did not include the estimated costs for repair; (9) GAO also identified instances where important facts about a building, such as its age or historical significance, were not included in GSA's database; (10) IRIS was changed in July 1999 to start recording when new work requirements were entered into the inventory; (11) GSA is testing software packages that are supposed to: (a) consistently record and track the status of each identified repair and alteration work item; (b) develop more accurate cost estimates for work items; and (c) assist in establishing priorities for identified repairs and alterations; (12) GSA established a standardized format and standard data elements that must be included in all asset business plans; and (13) when the new asset business plans are fully implemented, they are to identify all repair and alteration needs over the entire life cycle of a building.

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