Federal Buildings:

Billions Are Needed for Repairs and Alterations

T-GGD-00-73: Published: Apr 11, 2000. Publicly Released: Apr 11, 2000.

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Bernard L. Ungar
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the results of its work on the General Services Administration's (GSA) Repairs and Alterations Program, focusing on: (1) the extent of repairs and alterations that have been identified at government-owned buildings managed by GSA; (2) factors that impede GSA's ability to satisfy its repair and alteration requirements; and (3) GSA's efforts to improve its management of repairs and alterations.

GAO noted that: (1) GSA has struggled to meet the repair and alteration requirements at government-owned buildings that it manages; (2) GAO recently reported that billions of dollars are needed to satisfy the repair and alteration needs at federal buildings, the Federal Buildings Fund (FBF) has not produced the revenues needed to meet all repair and alteration needs, repair and alteration program data are problematic, and GSA has not yet fully institutionalized its thinking and planning about how best to strategically respond to its multibillion-dollar repair and alteration needs; (3) almost a decade ago--in May 1991--GAO reported that federal buildings had suffered from years of neglect and that about $4 billion was needed to bring some of these buildings up to acceptable quality, health, and safety standards; (4) GAO's 1991 report pointed out that FBF historically had not produced sufficient revenues to finance all needed repairs and alterations at federal buildings; (5) GAO also identified inadequate program data and the lack of a strategic approach to meeting repair and alteration requirements as other factors that impeded GSA's ability to satisfy repair and alteration needs; (6) GSA officials recognized that more needs to be done to effectively respond to increasing demands for repairs and alterations; (7) GSA has several initiatives under way that, if fully developed and effectively implemented, could satisfy GAO's previous recommendations, lead to better program oversight, and promote a more strategic approach to meeting repair and alteration requirements; (8) GSA's ongoing initiative to standardize and improve each building's asset business plan--a document that provides a wide array of physical characteristics and financial information--should provide GSA's program managers with consistent and up-to-date information about the repairs and alterations, the critical nature of each work item, how long a work item has been delayed, and the adverse consequences of delaying repair and alteration work; and (9) GSA's initiative to develop a comprehensive plan that will identify, in priority order, the repair and alteration work that needs to be funded within a 5-year period should go a long way toward providing key decisionmakers the needed context to fully understand what needs to be done and how best to do it.

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