oversight

NASA Maintenance: Stronger Commitment Needed to Curb Facility Deterioration

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-12-14.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

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National Security and
International Affairs Division

n-240547

December 14, 1990

The Honorable Barbara A. Mikulski
Chair, Subcommittee on VA, HUD and
   Independent Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
IJnited States Senate

Dear Madam Chair:

As requested, we reviewed the condition of facilities at the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA). Because the condition of some NASA facilities had deteriorated, we
evaluated the reasons for such condition. We also reviewed the accuracy of NASA'S accounting
and budgeting for its maintenance activities.

We are sending copies of this report to the Administrator of NASA and appropriate
congressional committees. Copies will also be made available to others on request.

Please contact me on (202) 275-5140 if you or your staff have any questions concerning this
report. The ntajor contributors to the report are listed in appendix III.

Sincerely yours,




Mark E. Gebicke
Director, NASA Issues
ECxemtiveSummq


                   The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a
Purpose            $15 billion network of facilities to house and support its research, devel-
                   opment, and flight activities. These facilities are located throughout the
                   United States at nine centers, six auxiliary installations, and three deep
                   space network sites. Many of these facilities support development of the
                   spaced-based shuttle payloads and space shuttle launches. They also
                   contribute to the aeronautical and aerospace testing capabilities of NASA,
                   as well as military and private industry users. Proper maintenance is
                   needed to ensure that these facilities are available for NASA and others to
                   accomplish their missions.

                   At the request of the Subcommittee on VA, HUD and Independent Agen-
                   cies, Senate Committee on Appropriations, GAO evaluated the condition
                   of NASA facilities and, because the facilities had deteriorated, the reasons
                   for such condition. GAO also reviewed the accuracy of NASA'S accounting
                   and budgeting for its maintenance activities.


                   NASA'S centers and other activities contain 2,700 buildings and 3,200
Background         other major structures, and encompass 36 million square feet of space.
                   Many of NASA'S facilities are 30 to 50 years old. All facilities require
                   maintenance, but the effect of neglected or deferred maintenance
                   becomes more apparent as facilities age.

                   Federal government standards for internal controls require federal
                   agencies to ensure that all assets entrusted to them are safeguarded. The
                   National Research Council’s Building Research Board believes that this
                   safeguarding should include a commitment to provide the maintenance
                   needed to prevent deterioration and to ensure the continued use of the
                   facilities. NASA funds its maintenance efforts from portions of three dif-
                   ferent appropriations: (1) Research and Program Management,
                   (2) Research and Development, and (3) Space Flight Control and Data
                   Communications. NASA headquarters uses the budget process to oversee
                   the centers’ programs and facilities, but center directors have been given
                   the authority to allocate budgeted resources among various center func-
                   tions as they deem appropriate.


                   Many of NASA'S facilities have not been adequately maintained and are
Results in Brief   in degraded condition. Consequently, many need significant repair. In
           c       addition, several serious incidents have been caused by the facilities’
                   deterioration, including a fire and a steam line explosion. Deferred or
                   insufficient maintenance increases the likelihood of more such events in


                   Page 2                                     GAO/NSIAD-91-34 Facility Maintenance
                        Executive Summary




                        the future, as well as increased maintenance costs. Although some
                        mission-critical facilities like the launch pads and the orbiter processing
                        facility used for the space shuttle are generally well maintained, the
                        eight centers GAO visited all have deteriorating facilities, such as leaking
                        roofs, peeling paint, and leaking steam lines.

                        For the most part, the actual expenditures for maintaining NASA'S cen-
                        ters have been left to the discretion of the centers’ directors. Histori-
                        cally, NASA'S headquarters program offices and centers have not
                        conducted annual surveys to determine maintenance requirements and
                        allocated far fewer funds than the 2 to 4 percent of facilities’ replace-
                        ment value that generally accepted maintenance guidelines dictate.

                        Procedures for budgeting and accounting for maintenance resources at
                        some centers are inadequate. Centers have not based their maintenance
                        budgets on actual needs and have not accurately accounted for all main-
                        tenance expenditures. This inadequacy contributes to NASA'S difficulties.

                        Recognizing the need to improve its management of centers’ facilities
                        maintenance, NASA has recently taken steps to focus on the problems.



Principal Findings

NASA’s Facilities Are   The condition of facilities varies from center to center. NASA'S practice of
Deteriorating           deferring maintenance has resulted in severe deterioration of some facil-
                        ities. An example of deterioration is concrete falling from the roof of the
                        52-story building where the shuttle is joined with the external fuel tank
                        and solid rocket boosters. NASA installed netting beneath the roof deck to
                        catch the concrete. NASA has also experienced catastrophic breakdowns
                        of facilities due to insufficient or deferred maintenance. For example, a
                        cooling tower partially collapsed from the weight of ice that accumu-
                        lated because water valves were not functioning properly. Additional
                        problems include faulty wiring (which caused a fire) in a mission control
                        building, leaking roofs, water seeping into electrical rooms, and a rup-
                        tured steam line.

                        In fiscal year 1990, NASA contracted for an assessment of the condition
                        of its centers’ facilities. The assessment rated the facilities “marginal”
                        overall, which corroborated GAO'S observations.



                        Page 3                                      GAO/NSIALbQl-34 Facility Maintenance
                                                                                       -
                             Executive Summary
                                                                                                 t




Maintenance Funding          GAO estimates that from 1985 through 1989, the eight NASA centers vis-
Levels Have Not Been         ited spent about $125.8 million annually to maintain their facilities. GAO
                             noted a wide disparity in maintenance funding levels among centers of
Commensurate With            comparable age and mission because funding is largely left to the discre-
Generally Accepted           tion of center directors, who have different perspectives on the priority
Practices                    of continued maintenance. Often, the centers have chosen to defer
                             maintenance.

                             In most cases maintenance funding levels are lower than what experts
                             consider adequate. Specifically, the National Research Council’s Building
                             Research Board has recommended that agencies allocate for mainte-
                             nance a minimum of 2 to 4 percent of their facilities’ replacement value.
                             Between 1985 and 1989, with the exception of the Jet Propulsion Labo-
                             ratory (which spent 2.3 percent of their facilities’ replacement value on
                             maintenance), centers allocated only 0.9 to 1.5 percent of their facilities’
                             replacement value. According to the Chief of NASA'S Facility Mainte-
                             nance Management Branch, the correction of deficiencies usually costs
                             much more than a preventive maintenance program would have cost.


Critical Financial           NASA headquarter’s   lack of guidance concerning the establishment of
Management Information        comprehensive maintenance management systems has contributed to
                              facility maintenance problems. Without that guidance, some centers
Is Currently Not Available   ‘have maintenance management systems that do not provide adequate
                              information to plan, budget, schedule, and report on maintenance activi-
                              ties and needs.

                             To make informed and reliable maintenance decisions NASA center direc-
                             tors need accurate budgeting and accounting data. Historically, NASA
                             centers have not based their maintenance budgets on actual need.
                             Without a clear understanding of their total maintenance requirements,
                             center directors are unable to determine the total resources that should
                             be allocated to facility maintenance. None of the centers accurately
                             accounted for their facility maintenance expenditures. Center
                             accounting systems did not accurately identify maintenance charged
                             directly to research and development programs or performed under
                             facility operation contracts. Because of these information voids, center
                             directors cannot properly oversee maintenance activities.

                             Moreover, without knowing its overall facility maintenance require-
                             ments or the resources being used to meet these requirements, NASA
                             cannot make reliable maintenance budget decisions.



                             Page 4                                      GAO/NSIAB91-34 Facility Maintenance
                           ExecutiveSummary




Efforts to Focus on        NASA has recognized that maintenance of centers’ facilities is a growing

Facility Maintenance       problem. As a result, NASA created the Facilities Maintenance Manage-
                           ment Branch, which, during the past 2 years, has worked with the cen-
                           ters to begin to define their total maintenance needs and assess the
                           condition of their facilities. NASA has also highlighted its need for better
                           facility maintenance in its fiscal year 1989 Financial Integrity Act
                           report and in a September 1989 presentation to the Office of Manage-
             1             ment and Budget.


                           In order to ensure NASA center facilities are properly maintained,
Recommendations            recommends that the NASA Administrator:
                                                                                                GAO



                       . Establish standards to guide centers in the development of comprehen-
                         sive maintenance management systems that include all the information
                         needed to identify maintenance needs and plan, budget, schedule, and
                         report maintenance requirements.
                       l Direct centers to allocate funds to maintenance in accordance with the
                         annual 2 to 4 percent of facility replacement value recommended by the
                         National Research Council, or at a minimum to demonstrate that suffi-
                         cient funds are allocated to maintain center facilities at least at a
                         “steady state” condition.
                       l Direct the centers to conduct annual surveys to determine the centers’
                         respective maintenance and repair requirements.
                       l Emphasize responsibility for protecting centers’ facilities by making
                         facility maintenance a critical element in annual objectives established
                         for directors of the centers and heads of headquarters program offices.

                           GAO  also recommends that the Administrator direct the centers to
                           strengthen their procedures for budgeting and accounting for facility
                           maintenance to ensure that maintenance functions are properly
                           controlled.


                           In commenting on a draft of GAO'S report, NASA indicated that GAO's rec-
Agency Comments            ommendations were constructive and appropriate. NASA shared GAO'S
                           concerns and explained it was implementing programs to address them.
                           NASA provided some specific comments and suggestions, which were
                           incorporated into the report where appropriate.




                           Page5
Contents


Executive Summary                                                                                          2

Chapter 1                                                                                                  8
Introduction           Network of Facilities
                       Organizational Structure and Responsibilities
                                                                                                           8
                                                                                                           8
                       Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                                 10

Chapter 2                                                                                                 12
NASA Facilities Are    Center Facility Conditions Vary
                       Facilities’ Condition Assessed as “Marginal”
                                                                                                          12
                                                                                                          19
Deteriorating          Centers’ Maintenance Management Systems Need                                       21
                            Improvement
                       Recent Efforts Focus on Facility Maintenance                                       21
                       Conclusions                                                                        22
                       Recommendation                                                                     23

Chapter 3                                                                                                 24
Maintenance Funding    Wide Disparity in Centers’ Maintenance Expenditures
                           Between 1985 and 1989
                                                                                                          24
Levels Have Not Been   Experts Recommend Minimum Funding Levels                                           27
Commensurate With      Centers Need to Allocate Sufficient Resources                                      28
                       Conclusions                                                                        30
Generally Accepted     Recommendations                                                                    30
Practices
Chapter 4                                                                                                 Qi
Critical Financial     Centers Are Not Accounting for All Facility Maintenance
                           Expenditures
                                                                                                          32
Management             Annual Facility Condition Surveys Can Improve                                      33
Information Is             Maintenance Budgeting
                       Conclusions                                                                        33
Currently Not          Recommendations                                                                    34
Available
Appendixes             Appendix I: Average Age and Estimated Replacement                                  36
                           Value of NASA’s Primary Centers and Activities
                       Appendix II: Comments From the National Aeronautics                                37
           _*              and Space Administration
                       Appendix III: Major Contributors to This Report                                    41




                       Page 6                                    GAO/NSIAD-91-34 Facility   Malutemutce




                                           .“i
          Contents




Table     Table 2.1: Maintenance Funding Estimates                                     22

Figures   Figure 2.1: High Voltage Distribution Transformer With                       14
               Corrosion and Oil Leaks at Ames Research Center
          Figure 2.2: Wall Damaged by Leaking Water in the                             15
               Stairwell to a Basement at Goddard Space Flight
               Center
          Figure 2.3: Peeling Paint and Surface Corrosion on a                         15
               Building at Marshall Space Flight Center
          Figure 2.4: Roofing Splits and Fissures Causing Interior                     16
               Water Leaks in a Building at Marshall Space Flight
               Center
          Figure 2.5: Piece of Reinforced Concrete That Fell From                      17
               the Underside of the Vehicle Assembly Building’s
               Roof Deck at the Kennedy Space Center
          Figure 2.6: Nets Below the Vehicle Assembly Building                         18
               Roof Showing Water Stains and Concrete Debris at
               the Kennedy Space Center
          Figure 2.7: Damage Caused by a Steam Line Explosion in                       19
               the Library Services Building at Lewis Research
               Center
          Figure 3.1: Average Yearly Maintenance Spending as                           29
               Percentages of Average Yearly Replacement Value
               for Fiscal Years 1985-89
          Figure 3.2: Estimated Fiscal Year 1992 Maintenance                           30
               Funding Needs as a Percent of Estimated Fiscal Year
               1992 Replacement Value




          Abbreviations

          GAO        General Accounting Office
          JI'L       Jet Propulsion Laboratory
          NASA       National Aeronautics and Space Administration


          Page 7                                     GAO/NSIAD9134   Facility Maintenance
Chabter I

Introduction                                                                                    ,




                            The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is respon-
                            sible for conducting research and development, space science, and space
                            flight programs through a nationwide network of administrative and
                            technical facilities. Maintaining the condition and continued availability
                            of these facilities is vital to the accomplishment of NASA'S mission. While
                            NASA'S headquarters is responsible for overseeing both programs and
                            facilities, historically the centers’ directors have managed and con-
                            trolled their own activities, including facility maintenance and repair,
                            within broad NASA directives and budgetary guidelines and constraints.


                            NASA operates and maintains an extensive inventory of research and
Network of Facilities       office facilities at nine centers, six auxiliary installations, and three
                            deep space communication sites. NASA estimates the total replacement
                            value of these facilities to be about $15 billion. The centers and other
                            sites contain 2,700 buildings, 3,200 other structures, and encompass
                            36 million square feet of space. Included in the centers’ buildings, struc-
                            tures, and integrated equipment are numerous complex and often
                            unique research facilities such as wind tunnels, vacuum chambers, space
                            flight preparation buildings, space launch complexes, high pressure
                            storage tanks, and transmission lines for volatile gases. Many of the
                            facilities support development of the spaced-based shuttle payloads and
                            space shuttle launches. They also contribute to the aeronautical and
                            aerospace testing capabilities of NASA, as well as military and private
                            industry users. Also, many of these facilities are 30 to 50 years old.
                            While all facilities need to be maintained, the need becomes more
                            apparent as they age. Appendix I contains a list of NASA'S primary cen-
                            ters and other activities, the average age of their facilities, and the esti-
                            mated replacement value.


                            Institutional Associate Administrators in three headquarters program
Organizational              offices are responsible for the overall planning and direction of opera-
Structure and               tions and resources at NASA'S centers. These offices primarily exercise
Responsibilities            their oversight through the budget process. Following are the centers
                            associated with each program office:

                        l   Office of Aeronautics and Exploration Technology

                            . Ames Research Center
                            . Langley Research Center
                            l Lewis Research Center



                            Page 8                                      GAO/NSIAD-91-34Facility Maintenance
    Chapter 1
        Introduction




l   Office of Space Science and Applications

    . Goddard Space Flight Center
    . Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

. Office of Space Flight

    . Johnson Space Center
    . Kennedy Space Center
    l Marshall Space Flight Center
    l Stennis Space Center

    NASA'S budget summary does not specifically identify the funds to be
    allocated to facility maintenance. NASA'S budgeting process for facility
    maintenance involves three appropriations: (1) Research and Program
    Management, (2) Research and Development, and (3) Space Flight Con-
    trol and Data Communications.

    The funds budgeted for maintenance are identifiable only in the centers’
    summaries of the Research and Program Management appropriation.
    This appropriation, which is formulated by function, provides funds for
    a portion of each center’s maintenance activities through a line item for
    facilities’ maintenance and related services.

    According to NASA'S budget estimates, the Research and Development
    and the Space Flight Control and Data Communications appropriations
    primarily fund NASA’S technical programs. NASA budget estimates include
    no line items for maintenance in these two funds, but portions are set
    aside to pay for services-such as maintenance-that     benefit all tech-
    nical programs.

    A fourth appropriation, the Construction of Facilities appropriation, is
    used to fund repair projects ,for facilities that have already seriously
    deteriorated. Construction of Facilities’ projects, including those for
    repairs, compete for funding with all such projects NASA-wide.

    NASA distributes appropriated  funds among the centers. The centers’
    directors are responsible for executing the agency’s technical and
    administrative programs within budgetary guidelines, and they gener-
    ally allocate budgeted resources among various center functions as they
    deem appropriate.




    Page9                                       GAO/NSLAD-91-34 Facility Maintenance
                        Chapter 1
                        Introduction

                    .




                        We reviewed NASA'S facility maintenance operations at the request of the
Objectives, Scope,and   Chair, Subcommittee on VA, HUD and Independent Agencies, Senate
Methodology             Committee on Appropriations. Our objectives were to evaluate the con-
                        dition of NASA facilities and, because the facilities had deteriorated, the
                        reasons for such condition. GAO also reviewed the accuracy of NASA'S
                        budgeting and accounting for its maintenance activities.

                        We focused our review on the maintenance of real property, using NASA'S
                        definition of “facility maintenance.” NASA generally defines facility
                        maintenance as the periodic work required to preserve facilities (build-
                        ings, structures, utility systems, and grounds) in such a condition that
                        they may be used for their designated purposes. This work includes pre-
                        ventive maintenance (maintenance cycles of 1 year or less), programmed
                        maintenance (maintenance cycles longer than 1 year), and minor repairs
                        due to breakdowns.

                        We performed our work at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and
                        at eight of the nine NASA centers. They included the

                        Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California;
                        Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia;
                        Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio;
                        Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland;
                        JPI,, Pasadena, California;
                        Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas;
                        Kennedy Space Center, Florida; and
                        Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama.

                        To evaluate the condition of NASA'S facilities, we visited these eight NASA
                        centers and observed the present condition of their facilities and
                        reviewed maintenance documentation of prior facility problems. We
                        coordinated our visits with NASA'S maintenance support contractor, SPC
                        Engineering Services, Inc., Arlington, Virginia, and reviewed the results
                        of its evaluation on facility conditions. We also interviewed NASA center
                        officials responsible for overseeing and managing facility maintenance.

                        To evaluate the reasons for the observed condition of facilities, we
                        (1) compared the centers’ actual and estimated costs for facility mainte-
                        nance during fiscal years 1985-89 to their total funding to determine the
                        level of resources devoted to this function; (2) examined the centers’
                        maintenance management systems to determine whether they provided
                        data to plan, direct, and review maintenance activities; and (3) inter-
                        viewed NASA headquarters and center officials responsible for budgeting


                        Page 10                                    GAO/NSLAD-91-34 Facility Maintenance
Chapter1
Introduction




and accounting for center functions. We analyzed maintenance funding
levels from three appropriations-Research   and Program Management,
Space Flight Control and Data Communications, and Research and
Development-to identify the funding variances.

To evaluate maintenance costs, we reviewed fiscal year 198589 mainte-
nance expenditures for the eight centers we visited. Because NASA’S
accounting records do not identify all facility maintenance costs, we
asked each of the centers to estimate for this 5-year period the addi-
tional maintenance costs that were not included in these records. We
requested that the centers include in these estimates the costs for labor,
materials, and parts. We asked the centers to exclude the costs for sev-
eral items such as facility operations, purchased utilities, custodial ser-
vices, and major rehabilitations and upgrades that are not related to
maintenance, but are often handled by the same organizations that per-
form maintenance. We also excluded funds for the Wind Tunnel Revital-
ization Program because the proportion of funds devoted to
maintenance-related repairs was not clearly identifiable. This is a
$300 million special program to repair, rehabilitate, and modernize         .
NASA’S aging wind tunnels.

To assess the adequacy of NASA’S institutional controls over maintenance
activities, we reviewed the National Research Council’s1 Building
Research Board recommendations concerning facility maintenance in
federal agencies; reviewed a Department of Defense study of real prop-
erty maintenance activities; and compared these standards and study
findings to conditions existing at the NASA centers we visited. In addi-
tion, we discussed oversight of facility maintenance with knowledgeable
center officials and representatives of the institutional program offices
at NASA headquarters.

We conducted our review between October 1989 and July 1990 in accor-
dance with generally accepted government auditing standards. NASA pro-
vided written comments on a draft of this report. These comments are
presented and evaluated in appendix II. NASA’S specific comments and
suggestions were incorporated into the report where appropriate.




‘The National ResearchCouncilwas establishedby the National Academyof Sciences.The Academy,
by authority of the charter grantedto it by the Congressin 1863,has a mandateto advisethe federal
governmenton scientific and technical matters.



Pa&e 11                                                GAO/NSIAD-91-84 Facility Maintenance
Chapter 2

NASA Facilities Are Deteriorating


                  Over the years, NASA has not adequately maintained its centers’ facili-
                  ties, Many need significant repairs because of deterioration. While
                  facility conditions varied among centers, we observed general deteriora-
                  tion caused by deferred maintenance at each of the eight centers we vis-
                  ited. In addition, NASA has experienced some serious incidents resulting
                  from its practice of deferring maintenance.

                  In an assessment of facility conditions, a NASA contractor, SPC Engi-
                  neering Services Inc., generally confirmed our observations and rated
                  the centers’ facilities marginal overall. The contractor reported that
                  most centers’ facilities had serious deficiencies, many of which con-
                  cerned deteriorating building components that would not pose an imme-
                  diate hazard to the users.

                  Although NASA'S practice of deferring maintenance may not immediately
                  affect mission accomplishment, inadequate maintenance leads to
                  increased breakdowns, premature failure of building components, and a
                  general shortening of the time that facilities remain useful. According to
                  the Chief of NASA'S Facility Maintenance Management Branch, the cor-
                  rection of deficiencies usually costs far more than a preventive mainte-
                  nance program would have cost.

                  NASA headquarter’s   lack of comprehensive guidance regarding the opera-
                  tion of centers’ maintenance management systems has contributed to
                  their facility maintenance problems. Some centers’ maintenance man-
                  agement systems did not provide adequate information to plan, budget,
                  schedule, and report on maintenance activities.

                  Until 1987, NASA had given little emphasis to centers’ facility mainte-
                  nance. Since that time, however, NASA has made organizational changes
                  aimed at focusing on regular facility maintenance and has informed the
                  Office of Management and Budget and Congress of its growing mainte-
                  nance problems.


                  Centers’ facilities were deteriorating due to age, weather, and insuffi-
Center Facility   cient or deferred maintenance. The extent of visible deterioration, how-
Conditions Vary   ever, varied considerably among the centers. At some centers, we
                  observed serious problems. For example, at Marshall Space Flight
            ”     Center, the roof of a laboratory building leaked so badly that electri-
                  cians working with 440-volt electrical equipment had to be moved out of
                  a portion of the building because of a severe shock hazard.



                  Page 12                                    GAO/NSIAD-91-34 Facility Maintenance
Chapter 2
NASA Facilities Are Deteriorating




Other less serious problems at each center, included rusted and unreli-
able heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems; leaking steam
lines, water valves, and pumps; peeling or missing paint; leaking roofs;
and eroded pavement. If left uncorrected, even the less serious problems
will lead to breakdowns that will require major repairs. NASA has experi-
enced such problems at several centers. For example, a fire in a mission
control building at Marshall Space Flight Center was caused by loose
electrical connections. In another case, a cooling tower at Lewis
Research Center partially collapsed from the weight of ice that accumu-
lated due to malfunctioning water valves, according to center officials.

Figures 2.1 through 2.4 illustrate deteriorated facility conditions we
observed during this review, The figures show a variety of problems,
including corrosion and deteriorated roofs and structural components at
several centers.




Page 13                                   GAO/NSIAD91-34 Facility Maintenance
Figure 2.1: High Voltage Distribution
Traneformer With Corrosion and Oil
Leaks at Ames Research Center




                                        Source: Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.




                                        Page 14                                                    GAO/NSIAD-9134 Facility Maintenance
                                          Chapter 2
                                          NASA Facilities Are Deteriorating




Figure 2.2: Well Damaged by Leaking
Water in the Stairwell to a Basement at
Goddard Space Flight Center




                                                                 ._-     --         ..---
                                          Source: Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.


Figure 2.3: Peeling Paint irnd Surfac
Corrosion on a Building at Marshall
Space Flight Center




                                          Source: Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama




                                          Page 16                                                     GAO/NSIAD-91-34 Facility Maintenance
                                            Chapter 2
                                            NASA Facilities Are Deteriorating




Figure 2.Q: Roofing Splits and Fissures Causing Interior Water Leaks in a Building at Marshall Space Flight Center




                                            Source: Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama.


                                            Insufficient or deferred maintenance has already resulted in the need
                                            for costly repairs at some NASA centers. For example, at Kennedy Space
                                            Center, the roof of the 52-story vehicle assembly building, where the
                                            space shuttle is joined to the external fuel tank and solid rocket
                                            boosters, has leaked for several years. Delays in repairing the roof have
                                            resulted in water penetration of the concrete roof deck. Subsequently,


                                            Page 16                                                      GAO/NSIAD-91-34 Facility Maintenance
                                           Chapter 2
                                           NASA Facilities Are Deteriorating




                                           rust expansion of the roof deck’s reinforcing bars caused pieces of con-
                                           crete to break loose and fall from the underside of the deck. The con-
                                           crete debris ranges in size from small chips to &inch pieces weighing
                                           one-half pound or more (see fig. 2.5). To prevent damage to the shuttle
                                           or injuries to the workers below, NASA erected nets between the struc-
                                           tural steel trusses to catch any falling concrete (see fig. 2.6). NASA'S cur-
                                           rent estimate to repair the leaking vehicle assembly building roof is
                                           about $10.7 million, and NASA’S fiscal year 1990 Construction of Facili-
                                           ties appropriation includes funds for the repair.

Figure 2.5: Piece of Reinforced Concrete
That Fell From the Underside of the
Vehicle Assembly Building’s Roof Deck
at the Kennedy Space Center


                                                                                                                   .




                                           Source: Kennedy Space Center, Florida




                                           Page 17                                      GAO/NSLAD91-34 Facility Maintenance
                                       Chapter 2
                                       NASA Facilities Are Deteriorating




Figure 2.6: Nets Below the Vehicle
Assembly Building Roof Showing Water
Stains and Concrete Debris at the
Kennedy Space Center




                                       Source: Kennedy Space Center, Florida.


                                       At least two of the nine NASA centers have also experienced catastrophic
                                       breakdowns of building components due to insufficient or deferred
                                       maintenance. On May 26, 1989, at Lewis Research Center, a high-
                                       pressure steam shutoff valve ruptured in the basement of the Library
                                       Services Building. The valve’s failure was partially attributed to badly
                                       deteriorated piping supports in a steam line tunnel. Although the tunnel
                                       has inspection access holes, the piping supports were not included in a
                                       maintenance program. Heavy rains that flooded the tunnel caused steam
                                       to condense in the pipes and created a water hammer effect.* The vibra-
                                       tion of the poorly supported steam pipes caused the valve to rupture. In
                                       addition to damage to the valve and piping, high-pressure steam dam-
                                       aged two interior walls, an office, ceiling tiles, painted surfaces, and wall
                                       paneling throughout the building. The building was without steam ser-
                                       vice for 5 months, and the cost of repairs exceeded $1 million. Figure 2.7
                                       shows some of the damage caused by the ruptured steam valve.

                                       ‘A concussionof moving water againstthe sidesof a containing pipe or vesselsuch as a steampipe.



                                       Page 18                                                GAO/NSIAD-9134 Facility Maintenance
                                           Chapter 2                       I
                                           NASAFacUitiesAreD~teriomtig




Figure 2.7: Damage Caused by a Steam Line Explosion in the Library Services Building at Lewis Research Center




                                                                                                                                  .
                                         Source: Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio




Facilities’ Condition                    In a May 1990 NASA report based on assessments by NASA'S maintenance
                                         support contractor, JPL, Johnson, and Langley centers were identified as
Assessedas                               having the fewest facility problems. Lewis, Stennis, and Marshall cen-
“Marginal”                               ters had the most problems and Kennedy, Ames, and Goddard centers
                   u                     were ranked in the middle. Many of the centers’ facilities were reported
                                         to need immediate repairs. Overall, the conditions of NASA'S nine centers


                                         Page 19                                          GAO/NSIADQl-34   Facility Maintenance
    Chapter 2
    NASA Facilities Are Deteriorating




    were ranked near or below “marginal”2 At three of the nine centers, the
    contractor review teams noted that key mission-critical facilities were
    better maintained than the support facilities. Each center reviewed,
    however, showed a full range of conditions. Some components needed
    significant repairs, while others required no work. The identified main-
    tenance problems included leaking roofs, deteriorating roads, peeling
    paint and corrosion, leaking pump seals, and groundwater seeping into
    basement utility rooms. Safety deficiencies, such as corroded pressure
    relief valves, missing fan guards, and overloaded electrical panels, were
    also identified.

    NASA’s Facilities Maintenance Management Branch highlighted the fol-
    lowing problems identified by NASA’S contractor as being among the most
    significant:

9 At Wallops Flight Facility-associated     with Goddard Space Flight
  Center-30-year-old      electrical equipment had corroded. If the circuit
  breakers in this equipment fail to shut off electricity in response to an
  electrical short, fires or other problems could result and cause the
  deaths of personnel and/or affect mission performance. According to the
  NASA report, equipment in this or similar condition can be found at many
  NASA locations,
. Heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning equipment supporting a crit-
  ical facility at Kennedy Space Center had rusted so badly that flaps of
  metal were hanging from the underside.
l Uncontrolled water leaks at Marshall Space Flight Center had caused
  roof sheathing and joists to rot.
l Gas valves in a pressure-reducing station at Ames Research Center were
  severely corroded and cluttered with extensive debris.

    In its report, NASA concluded that, although conditions varied, its cen-
    ters’ facilities had deficiencies that would require increased mainte-
    nance efforts to make their condition acceptable.




    2Accordingto NASAand the contractor,“marginal” meansthat there are many deficienciesrequiring
    maintenanceand repair.



    Page 20                                              GAO/NSIAD-91-34 Facility Maintenance
                       Chapter 2
                       NAsA Facilities Are Deteriorating




                       NASAheadquarters has not provided comprehensive guidance to stand-
Centers’ Maintenance   ardize the operation of the centers’ maintenance management systems.
Management Systems     Consequently, there is no standard maintenance system within NASA,
Need Improvement       and each center has developed its own approach to plan, budget,
                       schedule, and report on maintenance requirements. The centers’ mainte-
                       nance management systems vary in degrees of effectiveness. Johnson
                       Space Center, JPL, and Langley Research Center include in their systems
                       most of the information needed to plan, budget, schedule, and report on
                       maintenance requirements. These centers have maintenance inventories
                       covering all major systems and provide for preventive and corrective
                       maintenance and service requests. NASA’S condition assessment identi-
                       fied these centers as being better maintained than other centers.

                       On the other hand, Lewis Research Center and Marshall Space Flight
                       Center do not provide all the information needed for a comprehensive
                       maintenance management system and have had more facility mainte-
                       nance problems. For example, Lewis Research Center’s preventive main-
                       tenance program does not include the low voltage electrical system,
                       steam lines, or domestic water supply. Instead, these items are repaired
                       when they breakdown. Marshall Space Flight Center does not routinely
                       include exterior painting and roof repairs in its maintenance program.
                       NASA’scondition assessment identified these centers as being among the
                       more poorly maintained centers.


                       In 1987 NASAbegan emphasizing facility maintenance agencywide. At
Recent Efforts Focus   that time, NASAmade maintenance a part of the agency’s goal to improve
on Facility            its institutional structure. Recognizing this growing problem, NASA
Maintenance            assigned functional responsibility for facility maintenance to the Assis-
                       tant Associate Administrator for Facilities Engineering (formerly known
                       as Facilities Management), and created the Facilities Maintenance Man-
                       agement Branch to advocate improved facility maintenance at the cen-
                       ters. The branch has worked to assess centers’ conditions, improve
                       centers’ maintenance management, and report on the overall status of
                       NASA’S facility maintenance efforts.

                       In addition, NASA has worked to determine its total maintenance funding
                       needs. Before the recent NASAcondition assessment, little effort had
                       been made to determine NASA-wide maintenance needs or to establish
                       funding levels based on need. Between September and November 1989,
                       NASAheadquarters requested that centers estimate their total mainte-
                       nance funding needs for fiscal year 199‘2, This was NASA’S first attempt
                       to estimate total maintenance funding needs on a common basis, and


                       Page 21                                   GAO/NSIAD-91.94 Facility Maintenance




                                                   :
                                 Chapter ‘2
                                 WA Frilities      Are Deteriorating




                                 NASA believes the estimates may therefore contain errors. Nevertheless,
                                 this process resulted in significant increases in some centers’ estimated
                                 funding requirements compared to the amounts they requested in fiscal
                                 year 1991. The magnitude of these increases indicates that centers have
                                 not requested sufficient maintenance funds in the past. Table 2.1 shows
                                 the increased facility maintenance funding needed for the NASA centers.

Table 2.1: Maintenance Funding
Estimates                        Dollars in millions
                                                                                          Estimated           Increase
                                                                        Estimated       1992 funding         over 1991             Percent
                                 Center                               1991 fundina             needs          estimate            increase
                                 Ames                   ___-.--                 $32.7            $64.7             $32.0                98
                                 Langley                                         27.2             29.2               2.0                 7
                                 Lewis                                           25.6             41.8              16.2                63
                                 Goddard                  ..- -- -...-_____      15.6             18.5               2.9      _I_--~    19
                                 JPLa                                 --
                                 Johnson               ~-.~~..~~~..--_~---_--    16.0     --      39.6_I_-          23.6.--             148
                                 Kennedv                                         43.0             48.2               5.2                 12
                                 Marshall
                                 Stennis                                         13.8
                                                                                  7.2             25.6
                                                                                                  , 7,2-..--‘~o~    11.8 -.--.-          86
                                                                                                                                       139

                                 aJPL is a federally funded research and development center operated under contract by the California
                                 lnstltute of Technology which does not report budget estimates in the same detail as other NASA ten.
                                 ters


                                 In addition to its in-house efforts, NASA has reported its facility mainte-
                                 nance problems to the administration and Congress. In a September
                                 1989 presentation to the Office of Management and Budget, NASA head-
                                 quarters officials and several center directors stated that ma.intenance
                                 requirements had been underfunded and that the agency had significant
                                 problems in this area. In NASA'S December 1989 Financial Integrity Act
                                 report, the Administrator said that serious institutional problems in
                                 areas such as facility maintenance were increasing and had the potential
                                 to become material weaknesses, During hearings on May 4, 1990, before
                                 the Subcommittee on VA, HUD and Independent Agencies, Senate Com-
                                 mittee on Appropriations, the Administrator said that the maintenance,
                                 repair, rehabilitation, and modernization of facilities were among NASA'S
                                 highest priorities.


                                 Over the years, NASA has given little priority to facility maintenance. As
ConclusionsIy                    a result, the centers’ facilities have deteriorated. NASA'S problems mainly
                                 reflect deterioration of building components, but some could pose safety



                                 Page 22                                                       GAO/NSL4D-91-34 Facility Maintenance
                 Chapter 2
                 NASA Facilities   Are Deteriorating




                 hazards or threaten missions. At least two centers have already experi-
                 enced serious incidents that resulted in costly repairs. In addition, lack
                 of guidance from NASA headquarters regarding facility maintenance and
                 incomplete maintenance management systems at the centers have con-
                 tributed to facility maintenance problems, If facility deterioration goes
                 uncorrected, breakdowns and costly repairs can be expected to continue.


                 We recommend that the NASA Administrator establish standards to guide
Recommendation   centers in the development of comprehensive maintenance management
                 systems that include all the information needed to identify maintenance
                 needs and plan, budget, schedule, and report maintenance requirements.




                 Page 23                                    GAO/NSIAD-91-34 Facility Maintenance
Chapter 3

Maintenance F’unding Levels Have Not Been                                                           ,
Commensurate With GeneraUy           ”
Accepted l?ractices
                       According to NASA headquarters officials, center directors have been
                       given authority within budgetary guidelines and constraints to deter-
                       mine how funds for their centers’ operations are spent. Because perspec-
                       tives on the priority of continued maintenance differ among the
                       directors, funding levels for this activity vary substantially. Because
                       NASA's accounting records do not identify all facility maintenance costs,
                       we asked each of the centers to estimate the missing costs for fiscal
                       years 1985-89 to facilitate our analysis of actual expenditures. In all
                       cases, maintenance funding is generally less than what experts consider
                       necessary to sustain an adequate program. For example, the National
                       Research Council and other industry experts recommend that between
                       2 and 4 percent of facilities’ replacement value be allocated annually for
                       maintenance. With one exception, NASA centers have spent only 0.9 to
                       1.5 percent of their facilities’ estimated replacement value. NASA cannot
                       ward off continued facility deterioration and costly repairs with this
                       level of funding,


                       Historically, NASA centers have addressed the importance of facility
Wide Disparity in      maintenance to varying degrees. The overall maintenance funding levels
Centers’ Maintenance   for the centers generally corresponded to NASA'S condition assessment.
Expenditures Between   This assessment showed that centers allocating more resources to main-
                       tenance were generally in better condition.
1985and1989
                       Our analysis of the funding that centers within the same program office
                       allocate to maintenance shows that some centers have made a stronger
                       commitment to this function than others. For example, among the Office
                       of Aeronautics and Exploration Technology centers, from 1985 through
                       1989, Langley Research Center allocated a much greater percentage of
                       its available resources each year to facility maintenance (5.7 percent, or
                       about $21.1 million) than the other centers, and NASA considers it to
                       have one of the best maintenance programs. Langley has had no serious
                       incidents due to poor maintenance and, in the recent condition assess-
                       ment, was ranked as one of the best maintained, even though it is the
                       second oldest NASA center. Langley’s higher level of funding and its
                       better overall condition have been attributed to the center’s strong com-
                       mitment to facility maintenance. During that same time, Ames Research
                       Center allocated slightly more of its resources (3.9 percent, or about
                       $16.4 million, per year) to maintenance than Lewis Research Center
                       (2.8 percent, or about $18.3 million, per year). Although both centers
                       were not as well maintained as Langley Research Center, our observa-
                       tions and NASA'S condition assessment indicated that there were fewer



                       Page 24                                    GAO/NSIAD-91-34 Facility Maintenance
                           chapter 8
                           Maintenance Punding Levela Have Not Been
                           Ckmmeusurate With Generally
                           Accepted Practices




                           maintenance problems at Ames Research Center than at Lewis Research
                           Center.

                           Similarly, within the Office of Space Science and Applications, from ’
                           1985 through 1989, JPL allocated nearly twice as much of its funding
                           each year to maintenance (0.9 percent, or about $8.2 million) as did God-
                           dard Space Flight Center (0.5 percent, or about $8.2 million), and had
                           fewer facility maintenance problems. Although both centers spent the
                           same amount, the much higher replacement value of Goddard’s facilities
                           ($636.9 million) compared to JPL’S facilities ($416 million) indicates the
                           need for a larger maintenance funding allowance. NASA’S assessment and
                           our own observations indicate that the condition of Goddard Space
                           Flight Center’s facilities was generally average, while JPL’S facilities
                           were in the best condition compared to all other centers.

                           Within the Office of Space Flight, from 1985 through 1989, Kennedy
                           Space Center spent far more of its resources on maintenance each year
                           (3.1 percent, or about $29.3 million) than did the other two Office of
                           Space Flight centers we visited. However, NASA’S condition assessment
                           showed that Kennedy Space Center has more facility problems than
                           Johnson Space Center, which allocated fewer resources (0.7 percent, or
                           about $13 million,‘per year) to maintenance. While Kennedy Space
                           Center spent a greater proportion of its resources on maintenance, it
                           was in worse condition than Johnson Space Center because Kennedy’s
                           complex facilities associated with the shuttle program require extensive
                           maintenance, and it has a much lower total funding level than Johnson.
                           Of the Office of Space Flight centers, Marshall Space Flight Center
                           devoted the lowest percentage of its resources to maintenance (0.5 per-
                           cent, or about $11.3 million, per year), and its condition is considered
                           the worst of all centers.


Researchand Development    According to NASA budget estimates, the Research and Program Manage-
Funds Used to Supplement   ment appropriation is the only source of funds that specifically identi-
                           fies maintenance activity. Most centers spent comparable proportions of
Maintenance Activity       their Research and Program Management funding for maintenance. In
                           addition to maintenance, this appropriation covers items that represent
                           fixed costs such as civil service salaries and purchased utilities.
                           According to NASA headquarters and center officials, since the use of a
                           majority of the Research and Program Management funding is relatively
                           fixed, during tight budget years the maintenance portion of this appro-
                           priation is often reduced.



                           Page 26                                    GAO/NSL4D-91-34 Facility Maintenance
                               chapter 3
                               Maintenance Funding Levels Have Not Been
                               Commensurate With Generally
                               Accepted Practices




                               A portion of the Space Flight Control and Data Communications appro-
                               priation is also used by NASA to fund some maintenance activities related
                               to shuttle operations and other space flight programs. Only Kennedy
                               Space Center funds a significant portion of its maintenance from this
                               appropriation.

                               The Research and Development appropriation offers the greatest flexi-
                               bility for maintenance funding. Maintenance, however, often directly
                               competes with various research programs. We found a wide disparity in
                               maintenance funding from this appropriation among centers. At the
                               eight centers we visited, variances in allocations from the Research and
                               Development appropriation accounted for most of the differences in cen-
                               ters’ total maintenance funding from 1985 through 1989.


Centers Attempt to Cope        When funding is reduced, centers often attempt to cope with the
by Deferring Maintenance       shortage by deferring maintenance. The deferred maintenance, which
                               often results in a backlog of maintenance activities, not only has an
                               overall cumulative effect on the condition and function of facilities but
                               also significantly increases the original cost of repairs. NASA considers
                               the costs associated with deferred maintenance at the various centers to
                               be significant, even though it has not documented all these costs. In
                               many cases, it has been necessary to allocate large dollar amounts for
                               major repairs, as a result of deferred maintenance. Examples of some of
                               the effects associated with deferred maintenance, provided by center
                               officials, are as follows:

                           . Estimates of deferred road repairs at Lewis Research Center revealed a
                             56-percent cost increase, from $289,000 to $450,000, in 2 years.
                           l Backlogged air-conditioning repairs at Goddard Space Flight Center are
                             estimated to cost $1.5 million to $2 million per year for the next 5 to
                             10 years. According to the Deputy Chief, Plant Operations and Mainte-
                             nance Division, if the deferred preventive maintenance had been per-
                             formed, the yearly costs would only be about one-half that amount.
                           l The deferral of circuit breaker replacements at Goddard Space Flight
                             Center resulted in a fire and damages 100 times the estimated cost of the
                             initial repair.
                           l The estimated cost of roof repair at Goddard Space Flight Center
                             increased 50 percent, from $200,000 to $300,000, over a 3-year period.




                               Page 26                                    GAO/NSIAD-91-34 Facility Maintenance
                    Chapter 3
                    Maintenance Funding Levels Have Not Been
                    Commensurate With Generally
                    Accepted Practices




                    In June 1990, the National Research Council’s Building Research Board
Experts Recommend   reported* that inadequate resource allocation is a widespread and per-
Minimum Funding     sistent problem in the maintenance and repair of public buildings. The
Levels              Board believes that safeguarding facilities should include a commitment
                    to provide the maintenance needed to prevent deterioration and to
                    ensure the continued use of the facilities. This view corresponds to the
                    federal government standards for internal controls that require federal
                    agencies to ensure all assets entrusted to them are safeguarded. Further-
                    more, the Board recommended that the appropriate level of mainte-
                    nance and repair spending should range, on average, from 2 to 4 percent
                    of the facilities’ replacement value. The Board stated that in the absence
                    of information about specific needs upon which to base a maintenance
                    and repair budget, this funding level should be used as an absolute min-
                    imum, The Board argues that if this level of funding persists, facilities
                    should remain in a “steady state situation”; that is, facilities neither
                    decline nor improve and a backlog of deferred maintenance does not
                    develop.

                    The replacement value is a significant number because it provides a
                    common denominator and includes such variables as the relative com-
                    plexity and size of the facilities to be maintained. One method of esti-
                    mating the amount of maintenance funds required for a collection of
                    facilities is to multiply a percentage factor by the replacement value of
                    the inventory of facilities.

                    In a September 20, 1989, briefing to the Office of Management and
                    Budget, NASA illustrated that it had allocated inadequate resources rela-
                    tive to replacement value to facility maintenance. During the briefing,
                    NASA stated that its facility maintenance funding as a percentage of
                    replacement value has historically been far less than industry averages
                    as well as some other federal agencies2

                    In a study completed in March 1989, the Department of Defense also
                    used replacement values to determine adequate maintenance funding
                    levels. In the study, entitled Renewing the Built Environment, Defense
                    reviewed the maintenance funding levels of 16 major private sector cor-
                    porations and revealed that these corporations spent, on average,
                    3.5 percent of their facility replacement value on maintenance.


                    lCkmunittingto the Costof Ownership:Maintenanceand Repairof Public Buildings
                    2Federalagenciescited by NASAinclude the Departmentsof Defenseand Energy.



                    Page 27                                              GAO/NSIAD91-34 Facility Maintenance



                                                :    ‘.     .   :,
                                                ,”
                                                                !.
                      Chapter 3
                      Maintenauce Funding Levels Have Not Been                                         ,
                      Commensurate With Generally
                      Accepted Practices




                      NASA has historically underfunded maintenance because centers’ mainte-
Centers Need to       nance budgets have been based on the previous year’s spending level,
Allocate Sufficient   plus an additional percentage for inflation. This approach has not
Resources             resulted in adequate funding to meet NASA'S growing maintenance
                      problems, as evidenced by the current marginal condition of NASA center
                      facilities.

                      From 1985 through 1989, the eight NASA centers we visited spent, on
                      average, about $125.8 million annually to maintain their facilities. This
                      represents only about 1.5 percent of the eight centers’ average annual
                      appropriations, $8.6 billion, during that period. During the same period,
                      we compared facility replacement values3 at eight centers to their main-
                      tenance funding levels. With the exception of JPL (which spent 2.3 per-
                      cent), the other centers spent less than 1.5 percent of their facilities’
                      estimated replacement value on maintenance. Figure 3.1 shows the
                      average percentage of facility replacement value spent on maintenance
                      at the NASA centers.

                      As indicated in figure 3.1, with the exception of JPL, every NASA center
                      falls below recommended funding levels. However, if NASA funds mainte-
                      nance commensurate with the centers’ estimated fiscal year 1992 needs,
                      most centers will be spending above or near recommended levels as
                      shown in figure 3.2.




                      “The replacementvalues usedin the comparisonwere basedon eachcenter’sofficial property records
                      for fiscal years 1985-89.



                      Page 29                                              GAO/NSIAD-91-34 Facility Maintemce
           ,
   6
                                         Chapter 3
                                         Maintenance Funding Levels Have Not Been
                                         Commensurate With Generally
                                         .4ccepted Practices




Figure 3.1: Average Yearly Maintenance
Spending as Percentages of Average       5    Porcsnt
Yearly Replacement Value for Fiscal
Years 1995-99




                                             @gg        Recommendocl   Fundlng   Range


                                         Note: Percentages for centers based on averages for the 5year period, with the exception of Lewis and
                                         Goddard which did not begin calculating replacement values for all facilities until fiscal years 1988 and
                                         1989, respectively.




                                         Page 29                                                      GAO/NSLAD-91.34 Facility Maintenance
                                                                                                                                      I
                                           Chapter 3
                                           Matntenance Funding Levels Have Not Been
                                           Cmuuenmrate With Generally
                                           Accepted Practices




Figure 3.2: Estimated Fiscal Year 1992
M&tenance Funding Needs as a
Percent of Ertlmsted Fiscal Year 1992
Replacement Value




                                          3



                                          2




                                          1




                                                     Recommended Funding Range

                                           Note: Fiscal year 1992 replacement values were estimated by using a compounded annual growth rate
                                           of 4 percent, since the replacement value of NASA centers’ facilities appreciated annually at a rate of
                                           4 percent from fiscal year 1985 to 1989.
                                           aFunding needs not available



                                           The differences in the condition of facilities among centers and the
Conclusions                                deferral of needed maintenance correspond to the differences in mainte-
                                           nance funding levels. Most centers have not funded maintenance based
                                           on their overall funding needs and, as a result, fall far below the
                                           National Research Council’s recommended funding levels. This low
                                           funding leaves NASA centers unable to adequately meet their overall
                                           maintenance requirements. A strong and highly visible commitment to
                                           maintenance is critical to ensure that NASA will not continue to
                                           underfund facility maintenance.


                                           We recommend that the              NASA   Administrator:
Recommenqations
                                         . Direct centers to allocate funds to maintenance in accordance with the
                                           annual 2 to 4 percent of facility replacement value recommended by the


                                           Page 30                                                     GAO/NSLAD-91-34 Facility Maintenance
    Chapter 3
    Maintenance Funding Leveh Have Not Been
    Commensurate    With Generally
    Accepted Practices




    National Research Council, or at a minimum to demonstrate that suffi-
    cient funds are allocated to maintain center facilities at least at a
    “steady state” condition.
l   Emphasize responsibility for protecting centers’ facilities by making
    facility maintenance a critical element in annual objectives established
    for directors of centers and heads of headquarters program offices.




    Page 31                                    GAO/NSIAD91-34 Facility Maintenance
Chapter 4

Critical Financial Management Information Is
Currently Not Available

                       NASA    centers do not have adequate information to properly administer
                       their facility maintenance activities. To fulfill their maintenance respon-
                       sibilities, center officials need to know their facilities’ maintenance
                       expenditures and the total resources required for this function. Such
                       data are not always available because NASA has not previously required
                       centers to report all maintenance costs or develop their total mainte-
                       nance needs. As a result, the centers’ accounting systems currently do
                       not identify all center maintenance expenditures. In addition, most cen-
                       ters’ maintenance budgets are not based on the overall condition of cen-
                       ters’ facilities.


                       None of the centers accurately account for their facility maintenance
Centers Are Not        expenditures. The availability of reliable cost data is essential for cen-
Accounting for All     ters to effectively monitor maintenance program execution, anticipate
Facility Maintenance   additional costs, and provide a basis for future program and budget
                       planning. Centers’ accounting systems did not accurately identify cer-
Expenditures           tain maintenance costs, These unidentified costs included (1) mainte-
                       nance charged directly to research and development programs;
                       (2) maintenance performed under contracts, such as those for wind
                       tunnel and space shuttle operations; and (3) the salaries of civil service
                       employees involved in managing or performing maintenance. Conse-
                       quently, center directors do not always have complete and accurate
                       information essential to planning and controlling center maintenance
                       activities.

                       NASA  budget estimates for the Research and Program Management
                       appropriation identify maintenance as a part of the appropriation.
                       Funds for maintenance were generally identified in the accounting
                       records. However, maintenance funded through the Research and Devel-
                       opment and Space Flight Control and Data Communications appropria-
                       tions was not completely identified in NASA'S accounting system.
                       Consequently, we asked the centers to estimate the missing costs to
                       determine their total maintenance expenditures for fiscal years 1985-89.
                       For this 5-year period, the centers estimated that they spent over
                       $250 million more on maintenance than was identified in NASA'S
                       accounting system. According to NASA headquarters Chief of the Mainte-
                       nance Management Branch, this was the first time NASA had attempted
                       to identify its total maintenance costs.

                       Centers had the most difficulty with identifying maintenance expendi-
                       tures funded through the Research and Development appropriation.
                       Mostly, they could not identify maintenance costs that were charged


                       Page 32                                     GAO/NSIAD-91-34 Facility Maintenance
     h
 1
                        Chapter 4
                        Critical Financial Management &formation
                        Is Currently Not Available




                        directly to research and development programs. In addition, costs for
                        maintenance performed by contractors that operate technical facilities
                        such as wind tunnels and shuttle processing are reported as operations
                        costs in center accounting systems. For example, Ames Research Center
                        estimated that in fiscal year 1989 an additional $8.7 million had not pre-
                        viously been identified as maintenance of its technical facilities. Simi-
                        larly, at Kennedy Space Center, the contractors responsible for shuttle
                        processing and payload ground operations reported nearly $19 million
                        in fiscal year 1989 as operating expenditures rather than maintenance
                        costs.

                        Salaries of civil service employees involved in managing and performing
                        maintenance were not accurately accounted for as maintenance costs.
                        For example, Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers did not report any
                        civil service salaries as maintenance costs but estimated that mainte-
                        nance-related salary costs were $525,000 and $1.8 million, respectively,
                        in fiscal year 1989. Goddard Space Flight Center reported about
                        $1.1 million of its civil service salaries as a maintenance cost in fiscal
                        year 1989. The center estimated, however, that actual salary costs
                        related to maintenance were about $3.9 million that year.


                        In the absence of more specific information, a percentage of facilities’
Annual Facility         replacement value can be used to estimate appropriate maintenance
Condition Surveys can   funding levels. The National Research Council’s Building Research
Improve Maintenance     Board, however, recommends that formalized condition surveys be used
                        to a greater extent to protect public assets. Before the fiscal year 1990
Budgeting               assessment, NASA had not attempted to consistently determine the condi-
                        tion of its centers’ facilities. The condition assessment identified many
                        deficiencies in the centers’ facilities, including some safety problems
                        that needed immediate attention. An effective assessment program can
                        provide center directors with the (1) basis for establishing appropriate
                        levels of required funding, (2) management tools for monitoring the
                        effectiveness of maintenance activities, and (3) capability to realize the
                        full benefit from the funds made available.


                        NASA centers’ accounting and budgeting systems do not provide complete
Conclusions             and accurate data on facility maintenance costs. In addition, NASA has
                        not conducted regular assessments of the condition of its facilities to
                        provide accurate information about actual conditions. As a result, not all
                        the necessary information is available to oversee and to make sound
                        decisions on the maintenance of facilities. Although a NASA contractor


                        Page 33                                    GAO/NSLAD-91-34 Facility Maintenance
                  Chapter4
                  Crltical Financial Management Information
                  Is Currently Not Available




                  assessed a sample of each center’s facilities in 1990, NASA will not be
                  able to maintain a current data base on facility conditions and repair
                  requirements until centers develop the capability to make their own
                  annual assessments.


                  We recommend that the NASA Administrator direct the centers to
Recommendations   strengthen their procedures for budgeting and accounting for facility
                  maintenance to ensure that maintenance functions are properly con-
                  trolled. In addition, NASA should direct the centers to conduct annual
                  surveys to determine the centers’ respective maintenance and repair
                  requirements,




                  Page 34                                     GAO/N&W-91-34   Facility Maintenance
Page 36   GAO/NSIAD-91-34 Facility Maintenance
Average Age and Estimakd ReplacementValue
of NASA’s Primary Centers and Activities

              Dollars in millions
                                                                                                    Total estimated
                                                                        Avera e age                    replacement
              Location
              --                                                             ryears)                           value
              Ames Research Center                                           35.3                            $1 s274.7
              Dryden Flight Research Facility
              _._-.-.                                                        27.2                                  105.6
              Goddard
              --_-._-      Space     Flight Center
                               ______-..-                                    26.1                             ---- 536.9
              Wallops
              - ...- ~-.- Flight ----.
                                  Facility __-                        -      37.7 -                      --.-      201.4
              Jet Propulsion Laboratorv                                           cl                               416.0
              Deep Space Communication Sites                                      a                                2453
              l_-_-._----                                                       -----.---
              Johnson
              ---.---.-- Space Center ---I_-   -.                            25.4                 -___         1,031.s
              White Sands Test Facilitv                                      24.3                                141.4
              Kennedy
               ._.--
                           Space Center                                      23.6
                                                                  -_____________..-                           3,616.g
                                                                                                           -__.__
              Langley Research Center                  ____________-         38.1                        -     1,516.8
                                                                                                              __--.
              Lewis Research Center                  ____--I___-             39.3                              1,639.8
              Plum Brook Station                                             33.4                                407.9
              -.Marshall
                 --.--- Space  .---. Flight
                                      .-- Center                                 28.6                         1,072.3
              Michoud       Assembly
                  --._-..---_.           Facility   --           ___-            34.6
                                                                               -~__         __-                 708.5
              Slidell   Computer
              _.--.----. _---          Complex                                   26.6                            33.3
              Stennis     Space Center
              - ._---..____                                                      24.2             -.~         1,908.O
                                                                                                          -____.--
              Total replacement value                                                                      $14,856.7
              Note: All figures are based on fiscal year 1989 data.
              aNot available.




              Page 38                                                     GAO/NSLAD-91-34 Facility       Maintenance
Appendix II

ConxnentsFrom the NationallAeronautics and
SpaceA dministration

Note: GAO comments
supplementing those in the
report text appear at the
end of this appendix.
                             National Aeronautics and
                             Space Adminislration
                             Washington, D.C.
                             20546
                             Oflice 01the Administrator
                                                                                                  OCTf 0 isag



                             Mr. Frank C. Conahan
                             AssistantCorn troller General
                             United Statese eneral Accounting Office
                             Washington,DC 20548

                             Dear Mr. Conahan:




                                   The draft report presentsa useful assessment
                                                                             of someof the key issuespertaining to
                             NASA facilities maintenance.NASA sharesthe concernsidentified by the GAO and is in
                             the processof implementingprogramsto addressthem. GAO acknowledes these
                             programsand recognizesthem in the report. NASA finds the recommen   %ations in the
                             report to be constructiveand appropriate.
See comment 1,                     The report is particularly c@al of maintenancefunding allocation decisionsmade
                             by NASA’s CenterDirectors. We would like to point out that the NASA CenterDirectors
                             have not always beenprovided with sufficient funding by NASA Headquartersover the
                             yearsin the facilities maintenancearea, and that this has forced them to defer maintenance
                             tasksthey would otherwisehave undertaken. NASA Headquartersdid not always have
                             sufficient funds available to give to the Centers.
See comment 2.




                             standardis intendedto include maintenancesupervisionand planning costsand somerepair
                             costs. Addition of theseexpendituresto the tabulatedamountsof NASA “maintenance”
                             expenditureswould show that NASA is not quite as far from the NRC model’sgoal as the
                             draft GAO report would indicate. However, this is not to say that NASA doesnot
                             acknowledgethat maintenanceactivities have been,and are, underfunded. Stepsare
                             underwayto remedythis deficient over time; and the NRC 2 to 4 percentmodel is one
                       Y     tool we will use in developingbucl*
                                                              gets for maintenanceactivities.




                                    Page 37                                                GAO/NSLAJ%91-34
                                                                                                        Facility Maintenance
                   Appendix II
                   Comments From the National Aeronautics
                   and Space Administration




See comment 3        The enclosureprovides more specific commentsand suggestionsthat we believe will
                strengthenthe report and reducepossiblemisinte retations. We appreciatethe efforts of
                your staff to solicit and considerNASA’s views fRrough the processof the review,




                                                           PAssistant
                                                             ohn E. O’Brien
                                                                     Deputy Administrator




                   Page 38                                                GAO/NSLAD-91-34 Facility Maintenance
               Appendix II
               Comments From the National Aeronautics
               and Space Administration




               The following are GAO'S comments on NASA'S letter dated October 10,
               1990.


               1. It is appropriate to share the responsibility for underfunding with the
GAO Comments   program offices, but availability of funding is not a valid issue. Discre-
               tionary money was available for maintenance, and some centers, such as
               Langley, allocated more funds to maintenance than others that were
               operating in the same budget environment, In response to this concern,
               we revised the report to show that NASA headquarter’s Institutional Pro-
               gram Offices and Centers share the responsibility for allocating far
               fewer funds to this function than generally accepted maintenance guide-
               lines dictate.

               2. In the report, we acknowledge that the National Research Council’s
               (NRC) Building Research Board’s recommendation is a guide. We state
               that, “In the absence of specific needs based information, the Board
               stated that this funding level (2 to 4 percent) should be used as an abso-
               lute minimum.” We note that, while recognizing that a percentage of the
               facilities’ replacement value can be used to estimate appropriate mainte-
               nance funding levels, the NRC recommends a much greater use of for-
               malized condition assessments to protect public assets. We also state
               that an effective assessment program can provide a basis for estab-
               lishing appropriate levels of required funding.

               Concerning maintenance costs, we believe that to the extent available,
               all appropriate costs were included in the comparisons of centers’ main-
               tenance expenditures to the NRC recommended funding level. Because
               NASA'S accounting system did not accurately identify all facility mainte-
               nance costs, we asked centers to estimate, where necessary, their total
               maintenance expenditures. Regarding salaries, each center provided an
               estimate of the costs for civil service staff that performed, monitored, or
               managed facility maintenance. Those costs were included in the
               analyses of centers’ maintenance expenditures. In addition, we asked
               each center to verify the accuracy of their estimates prior to finalizing
               our analyses. We did not include the costs for major repairs in our anal-
               yses. The NRC report stated that the costs for routine maintenance and
               repairs would typically be in the range of 2 to 4 percent of facilities’
               replacement value. We did not consider expenses for major repairs,
               rehabilitations, or facility upgrades to fall within the category of routine
               maintenance and repairs.




               Page 39                                     GAO/NSIAD-91-34 Facility Maintenance
Appendix II                                                           ‘
Comments From the National Aeronautics                                         *
and Space Administration




3. We incorporated NASA'S specific comments into this report where
appropriate.




Page 40                                  ,   GAO/NSIAD-91.34 Facility Maintenan~
Appendix III

Major Contributors to This &port


                               Charles F. Rey, Assistant Director
National Security and          James L. Morrison, Evaluator
International Affairs
Division,
Washington, DC.

Detroit Regional Office Robert
                        PatrickF. Stephens, Evaluator-in-Charge
                               A IlerSiteSenior
                               Lawrence W. kochl, Evaluator




(31)7008)                      Page 41                              GAO/NSIAD81-34 Facility Maintenance
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