Air Force Civil Engineer Cost Accounting System Reports Should Be Used More Effectively

FGMSD-80-12: Published: Jan 16, 1980. Publicly Released: Jan 16, 1980.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

GAO reviewed the Air Force Civil Engineer Cost Accounting System at three installations and found that personnel management could be enhanced if several cost reports produced by the system were effectively used.

GAO found that base civil engineer officials were not analyzing the civil engineer cost reports in depth. Air Force regulations did not require analyses of staff-hour variances, and base civil engineers did not feel that formal post analyses of projects were necessary. They believed their continuous monitoring of projects enabled them to identify problems as they occurred and to correct them. Yet, the reports of planned and actual labor-hours on base projects continually showed significant differences between planned and actual hours. The engineers felt they had little or no control over the reasons they believed were causing the labor-hour overruns. They stated that the airmen assigned to them often did not have the necessary skills to do the work efficiently and that the grade level of planners was too low to attract qualified persons. The officials could not document these reasons but felt that an objective analysis would disclose them as the primary causes of the variance. GAO felt that better use of the reports could lead to more realistic work schedules and increased work force efficiency. This, in turn, could aid in reducing the large and growing backlog of civil engineer projects.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should instruct the Secretary of the Air Force to: revise civil engineering regulations to require base level civil engineer officials to systematically analyze labor-hour variances and take corrective action; clarify the regulations to preclude change orders being processed merely to eliminate labor-hour variances from cost reports; and require Air Force Headquarters civil engineer officials to periodically review results of base level labor-hour variance analyses to determine if there are Air Force-wide problems and to take appropriate corrective action.

    Agency Affected:


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Feb 15, 2018

Jan 31, 2018

Nov 16, 2017

Nov 15, 2017

Nov 9, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here