NRC Recommends Overhaul of Government Facilities Inventory

About 45,000 facilities are underutilized or obsolete, and investments in maintenance and repair have been inadequate for many years, the report says.

A new report from the National Research Council says the U.S. government should begin a sustained effort to dispose of about 45,000 excess and underutilized facilities. Doing so could save $1.6 billion that is spent annually to operate and maintain facilities that are no longer needed to support federal agencies' missions, it says.

The report also recommends a new approach by the government for maintaining and repairing facilities. "Despite the magnitude of annual funds allocated to operating costs -- estimated at $47 billion -- investments in maintenance and repair have been inadequate for many years, resulting in tens of billions of dollars in deferred projects," according to NRC, which released the report Nov. 3. The report recommends ways to manage the inventory more effectively to reduce risks, long-term operating costs, energy and water use, and other environmental impacts.

The council says the federal government owns and leases about 429,000 buildings and has another 482,000 structures in its inventory, such as bridges, utility systems, and other infrastructure. More than half of these are at least 50 years old. Continued underinvestment is a concern, it says, because that would lead to greater deterioration in building systems, higher operating costs, wasted resources, and possibly to hazards that cause injuries and illnesses or loss of life and property.

For more information, visit http://national-academies.org.

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