The General Services Administration Should Improve the Management of Its Alterations and Major Repairs Program

LCD-79-310: Published: Jul 17, 1979. Publicly Released: Jul 17, 1979.

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The General Services Administration (GSA) manages an alterations and major repairs program for 3,300 federal buildings. As of May 1979, estimated costs of all work requirements in the program were about $1.4 billion. In fiscal year (FY) 1978, GSA obligated about $212 million for alterations and repairs, and it plans to obligate about $203 million in FY 1979. GSA also performs alterations work on a reimbursable basis over and above what it provides through direct appropriations, for which $46 million was obligated in FY 1978.

The present inventory of work requirements is not a reliable basis for establishing the funding need, setting priorities, scheduling the work, and measuring results. GAO found instances in which the individual building inventories were overstated or understated by millions of dollars. Most cost estimates for individual work items were not supportable and many were inaccurate. Furthermore, the total inventory provided to congressional committees did not include unscheduled or unprogrammed work requirements. There is a critical need for an accurate computerized inventory of alterations and repairs work requirements in order to justify annual requests for new obligation authority, for congressional oversight of the reduction of the backlog which led to a substantial increase in funding, and for management of the program. Numerous improvements are needed in the management control of GSA to promote efficiency, economy, and achievement of planned results. Some of the problems noted were: (1) the regions deviate from approved work programs without Central Office's authority; (2) the regional offices are unduly retaining authority for prospectus projects by improperly charging the cost of work to nonprospectus projects; (3) the accomplishment of work is not measured and reported by the same types; (4) regional offices do not have an efficient system of matching obligations with work requirements by building; and (5) GSA charges tenant agencies on a reimbursable basis for work that apparently should be included in their rental payments for the space.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Administrator of GSA should direct the Public Buildings Service to: (1) review each work item to assure it is accurate, current, and represents a valid requirement; (2) develop a system for the Central Office to track inventory requirements and building inspections on a continuing basis; and (3) report in subsequent congressional budget presentations the total inventory, including requirements unscheduled or unprogrammed. Specific cost estimating procedures should be developed and sufficient documentation should be required to adequately determine their implementation. These procedures should include criteria on deriving cost estimates for labor, material, overhead, design, and supervision. The inventory computer program should be revised so that work items reflect the estimated cost of the program year. Criteria on the nature, scope, frequency, procedures, and practices for carrying out comprehensive building inspections should also be developed, as well as a standard format providing for inspection documentation. The Administrator should direct the Public Buildings Service and other appropriate GSA offices to: (1) issue clarifying instructions to the regional offices on, and exercise better oversight over, the approval requirement for major projects; (2) establish tighter controls over charging the costs of work to outstanding prospectus expenditure authority, with the Central Office clearly defining and communicating to the regional offices what work should be charged to existing prospectus authority; and (3) provide specific criteria and educate the regional offices and tenant agencies on what constitutes direct-funded and reimbursable repair and alteration work. The regional offices should not charge tenants for work which is provided through rental payments to GSA. These offices should also consult with alterations and major repairs program managers and develop the appropriate computerized system modifications that will enable them to: (1) match and efficiently track by building the work requirements, work programmed, work-in-process, obligations, and other necessary factors; and (2) relate the costs of work accomplished to the total inventory requirements and annual budget and program objectives by the major categories of work. In this regard, subsequent congressional budget presentations should reflect such program results information on the previous year's approved budget request.

    Agency Affected:


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