State Department:

Need to Improve Maintenance Management of Overseas Property

NSIAD-90-216: Published: Sep 24, 1990. Publicly Released: Nov 5, 1990.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Joseph E. Kelley
(202) 512-4128
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the Department of State's maintenance of its overseas facilities at 14 posts.

GAO found that: (1) State's Office of Foreign Building Operations (FBO) lacked complete information on the condition of its overseas buildings and properties and on the costs to maintain, or rehabilitate them, but estimated that it could cost as much as $450 million to eliminate the backlog of maintenance and repairs; (2) reasons for the poor condition of U.S. property included the age of the buildings, neglect or deferral of maintenance, and low skill levels of maintenance workers; (3) none of the 14 posts visited managed maintenance operations systematically, conducted annual property condition surveys, or developed annual work plans linking posts' resource needs to annual budgets; (4) some posts did not meet priority maintenance needs relating to facility safety; (5) FBO exercised insufficient oversight of overseas maintenance activities; (6) the posts did not use the FBO Real Estate Information Management System effectively; and (7) lack of accountability and an absence of internal controls resulted in unauthorized or improper uses of maintenance funds at some posts. GAO also found that FBO took such steps to improve overseas real property management as: (1) initiating efforts to identify maintenance and repair requirements; (2) establishing two regional centers to provide additional maintenance assistance to posts; and (3) initiating an overall maintenance system and hiring facility managers for all newly constructed office buildings.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: State has revised the Foreign Affairs Manual to require annual condition assessments. The results of the assessments are to be recorded in annual inspection summary reports. FBO will provide detailed instructions to posts regarding the preparation of the annual reports.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should revise the Foreign Affairs Manual to make annual building condition assessments a requirement and direct FBO to provide training and assistance to posts to ensure that annual surveys are effectively completed.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: State has revised the Foreign Affairs Manual to require posts to identify maintenance needs and standardize post maintenance operations. This action was completed in March 1992.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should improve maintenance operations and increase accountability of maintenance resources by incorporating key elements of the FBO Buildings Maintenance Handbook into the Foreign Affairs Manual to require overseas posts to identify their maintenance needs and standardize post maintenance operations.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: FBO cites lack of resources and low priority as reasons for not taking recommended action. The conceptual plan to link the FBO Real Estate Management System with State's Central Financial Management System in 1994 provided some increase in accountability for resources.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should improve maintenance operations and increase accountability of maintenance resources by expediting development of a property reporting system that identifies expenditures for routine maintenance and individual special maintenance projects on all U.S.-owned and long-term leased properties.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 21, 2016

Aug 3, 2016

Aug 1, 2016

Jul 14, 2016

Jul 5, 2016

Jun 30, 2016

Jun 28, 2016

Jun 23, 2016

Jun 22, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here