Federal Buildings:

Billions Are Needed for Repairs and Alterations

GGD-00-98: Published: Mar 30, 2000. Publicly Released: Apr 11, 2000.

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Bernard L. Ungar
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the General Services Administration's (GSA) Repairs and Alterations Program, focusing on: (1) the extent of repairs and alterations that have been identified at government-owned buildings managed by GSA; (2) factors that impede GSA's ability to satisfy its repair and alteration needs; and (3) GSA's efforts to improve its management of repairs and alterations.

GAO noted that: (1) GSA has struggled over the years to meet the repair and alteration requirements identified at its buildings; (2) billions of dollars are needed to satisfy the repair and alteration needs at federal buildings; (3) the Federal Buildings Fund (FBF), a revolving fund that finances repair and alteration needs and other capital and operating expenditures, is not producing the revenues needed to meet all repair and alteration needs; (4) repairs and alterations program data are problematic and GSA has not yet fully institutionalized its thinking and planning about how best to strategically respond to its multibillion-dollar repair and alteration needs; (5) almost a decade ago--in May 1991--GAO reported that federal buildings had suffered from years of neglect, and as a result, about $4 billion was needed to bring some of these buildings up to acceptable quality, health, and safety standards; (6) GAO's report pointed out that FBF historically had not produced sufficient revenues to finance all needed repairs and alterations at federal buildings; (7) the report also identified incomplete and unreliable program data and the lack of a strategic approach to meeting repair and alteration requirements as other factors that impeded GSA's ability to satisfy its repair and alteration needs; (8) the report made recommendations, which GSA has yet to fully implement, aimed at adopting a more strategic approach for managing repairs and alterations, improving program data, and exploring financing opportunities for repair and alteration needs; (9) GSA officials recognize that more needs to be done to effectively respond to increasing demands for repairs and alterations; (10) GSA has several initiatives under way that, if fully developed and effectively implemented, could satisfy GAO's previous recommendations, lead to better program oversight, and promote a more strategic approach to meeting repair and alteration requirements; and (11) GSA's ongoing initiative to standardize and improve each building's asset business plan should provide GSA's program managers with consistent and up-to-date information about the repairs and alterations, the critical nature of each work item, how long a work item has been delayed, and the adverse consequences of delaying repair and alteration work.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA provided a copy of its action plan. Although general in nature, it does address steps to improve data and "...establish a strategic three to five year investment outlook..."

    Recommendation: The Administrator, GSA, should develop an action plan, with time frames that will: (1) guide the development and implementation of its initiatives; and (2) serve as a baseline for gauging progress and performance.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration


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