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.

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