Navy Has Housing Problems at Virginia Beach and Scrap Metal Disposal Problems at Sewells Point

PSAD-80-73: Published: Sep 19, 1980. Publicly Released: Sep 19, 1980.

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Although it is less than 2 years old, Carper housing complex has had numerous maintenance problems. The total amount of maintenance costs could not be validated because of errors in the Navy's cost accounting systems. At Sewells Point, the Navy is violating DOD regulations by letting a contractor keep valuable scrap metal. Excess personal property, including scrap metal, should be turned into a Defense Property Disposal Office.

The Navy is not turning the scrap metal in because it believes it is more cost effective to contract for disposal. Lack of information on the amount and value of scrap metal makes it impossible for the Navy to ensure that the Government is getting fair value on its disposal. Regulations clearly state that it is the agency's responsibility to segregate scrap and waste to the maximum extent feasible and to turn the scrap metal into a Defense Property Disposal Office. Navy officials state they are now requiring the scrap contractor to keep a log and will use that data to make another economic study of the costs. The scrap metal contractor told GAO that it will be impossible for the Navy to assess the value of the scrap metal from the data being collected. Although construction standards exist for many of the major problem areas at Carper, they are not always adequate to ensure quality housing. Standards existed for some problem areas, and none existed for others. Even when standards were specific, they were not always sufficient or enforced. The system for evaluating proposals encourages contractors to include amenities rather than raise construction quality above the minimum standards. At Carper inspection was inadequate. Inspectors from other Navy housing projects noted inadequacies with the construction standards and with the contractors' inspection program. GAO concluded that the Navy's experience at Carper was not unique. GAO believes that the Navy should contact manufacturers to repair products under warranty or insist that the construction contractor do so.

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