NOVEMBER 1, 1922, 2 COMP. GEN. 301

Nov 1, 1922

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PUBLIC BUILDINGS - REPAIRS AND IMPROVEMENTS TREATMENT OF THE WALLS AND CEILINGS OF A PUBLIC BUILDING WITH SOUND DEADENING FELT IS NOT AN ITEM OF REPAIR OR PRESERVATION BUT AN IMPROVEMENT. IS NOT PAYABLE FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR REPAIRS AND PRESERVATION OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS. 1922: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 23. ARE REPORTED BY THE JUDGES TO BE VERY BAD. IT IS PROPOSED TO PLACE SOUND-DEADENING FELT OF APPROXIMATELY ONE INCH IN THICKNESS ON THE PLASTERED WALLS AND CEILING. THE QUESTION HAS ARISEN AS TO WHETHER THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION FOR "REPAIRS AND PRESERVATION OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS" IS AVAILABLE FOR THE WORK. THE PROPOSED SOUND-DEADENING TREATMENT OF THIS COURT ROOM IS NOT A REPAIR TO THE BUILDING.

NOVEMBER 1, 1922, 2 COMP. GEN. 301

PUBLIC BUILDINGS - REPAIRS AND IMPROVEMENTS TREATMENT OF THE WALLS AND CEILINGS OF A PUBLIC BUILDING WITH SOUND DEADENING FELT IS NOT AN ITEM OF REPAIR OR PRESERVATION BUT AN IMPROVEMENT, AND IS NOT PAYABLE FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR REPAIRS AND PRESERVATION OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, NOVEMBER 1, 1922:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 23, 1922, AS FOLLOWS:

THE ACOUSTICAL PROPERTIES OF THE DISTRICT COURT ROOM ON THE FOURTH FLOOR OF THE POST OFFICE AND SUBTREASURY BUILDING AT BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, ARE REPORTED BY THE JUDGES TO BE VERY BAD, AND REQUEST MADE THAT STEPS BE TAKEN TO IMPROVE THE SAME.

IT IS PROPOSED TO PLACE SOUND-DEADENING FELT OF APPROXIMATELY ONE INCH IN THICKNESS ON THE PLASTERED WALLS AND CEILING, AND OVER THIS APPLY CLOTH, EITHER PLAIN OR DECORATIVE IN NATURE, LEAVING BETWEEN THE CLOTH AND THE SOUND-DEADENING FELT AN AIR SPACE OF ABOUT ONE-HALF INCH. THIS TREATMENT WOULD BE APPLIED IN PANELS, WHICH WOULD READILY LEND THEMSELVES TO THE SPACES ON THE WALLS AND CEILING. THE EDGES WOULD BE COVERED WITH A SUITABLE WOOD MOLDING, ALL PROPERLY SECURED TO THE PLASTERED SURFACES.

THE QUESTION HAS ARISEN AS TO WHETHER THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION FOR "REPAIRS AND PRESERVATION OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS" IS AVAILABLE FOR THE WORK, AND YOUR OPINION RELATIVE TO THE SAME WOULD BE APPRECIATED.

THE PROPOSED SOUND-DEADENING TREATMENT OF THIS COURT ROOM IS NOT A REPAIR TO THE BUILDING, NOR IS IT AN ITEM OF EXPENSE OF PRESERVATION OF THE BUILDING. IT CONSTITUTES A CONTEMPLATED IMPROVEMENT OF THE BUILDING WHICH IS NOT WITHIN THE EXPRESS TERMS OF THE APPROPRIATION. WHILE USE OF THIS APPROPRIATION FOR MINOR IMPROVEMENTS HAS BEEN PERMITTED (SEE 7 COMP. DEC., 684), THE GENERAL POLICY HAS BEEN TO SO RESTRICT ITS USE AS TO EXCLUDE PAYMENT FROM IT FOR ALTERATION OR IMPROVEMENT OF A BUILDING OF ANY CONSIDERABLE MAGNITUDE OR IMPORTANCE, AS TO WHICH IT IS CUSTOMARY AND PROPER TO OBTAIN SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION.

IN THIS INSTANCE THE PROPOSED IMPROVEMENT APPEARS TO BE NOT ONE MERELY OF CONVENIENT ARRANGEMENT BUT ONE INVOLVING CORRECTION OF DEFECTIVE CONSTRUCTION, WHICH SHOULD NOT BE UNDERTAKEN WITHOUT SPECIFIC AUTHORIZATION OR APPROPRIATION THEREFOR. YOU ARE ACCORDINGLY ADVISED THAT THE APPROPRIATION "REPAIRS AND PRESERVATION OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS" IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF EXPENSE OF THIS PROPOSED IMPROVEMENT.

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