Firesafety Violations in Two Buildings Leased by the General Services Administration

LCD-79-312: Published: May 22, 1979. Publicly Released: Jun 5, 1979.

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A review was made to determine the adequacy of fire protection measures in two buildings leased in Washington, D.C., by the General Services Administration (GSA). These buildings house about 4,900 employees of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE). The buildings must meet the local fire code, as well as comply with specific firesafety clauses in the leases.

Inspection of both buildings revealed numerous violations of the D.C. fire code. Neither building meets GSA current firesafety standards; these standards were revised, however, after the present leases were negotiated and will have to be incorporated when the leases are renewed. Occupants at the DOE building may not be adequately trained in emergency evacuation procedures because fire drills were not held as often as required. Although fire drills were held and a plan is in effect for the EPA building, frequent false fire alarms may have impaired the integrity of the system. Previous efforts to identify, correct, and prevent fire safety violations have not been adequate. GSA and the building tenants have not made inspections as often as required. Because of the laxity of GSA in enforcing lease requirements, the government is not receiving the level of fire safety for which it is paying.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, GSA, should require both buildings to be inspected promptly in order to identify all firesafety violations and to see that all deficiencies are corrected. If the building owners do not promptly correct deficiencies that are their responsibility, the necessary work should be done with government funds and the cost deducted from rental payments as authorized by the leases. The Administrator should work with the tenants of the buildings to establish an appropriate fire-prevention program, including education on proper housekeeping and building evacuation procedures. Tenants should be reminded that all work involving building services and fire safety matters should be coordinated with the Public Buildings Service to protect the government's interests. In future region III leasing negotiations, the Administrator should make sure that any deviations from established firesafety criteria are justified, approved, and documented.

    Agency Affected:

 

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