condition of this portfolio of public assets is deteriorating. Many necessary repairs were not made when they would have been most cost effective and have become part of a backlog of deferred maintenance. In addition, a large proportion of federal facilities are more than 40 years old. As wear and tear on buildings and their systems increases, the need for maintenance and repair to sustain their performance and functionality also increases. Federal agency program managers, the GAO, and research organizations have all reported that the funding allocated for the repair and maintenance of federal facilities is insufficient.
Although there is no single, agreed upon guideline to determine how much money is, in fact, necessary to maintain public buildings, a 1990 report of the National Research Council, Committing to the Cost of Ownership: The Maintenance and Repair of Public Buildings, did recommend that “an appropriate budget allocation for routine M&R [maintenance and repair] for a substantial inventory of facilities will typically be in the range of 2 to 4 percent of the aggregate current replacement value of those facilities” (NRC, 1990). This guideline has been widely quoted in the facilities management literature. During the course of the present study, federal agency representatives indicated that the funding they receive for maintenance and repair of their agencies’ facilities is less than 2 percent of the aggregate current replacement value of their facilities inventories.
In an environment of inadequate and declining resources, federal facilities program managers face a number of challenges:
Extending the useful life of aging facilities.
Altering or retrofitting facilities to consolidate space or accommodate new functions and technologies.
Meeting evolving facility-related standards for safety, environmental quality, and accessibility.
Maintaining or disposing of excess facilities created through military base closures and realignments, downsizing, or changing demographics.
Finding innovative ways and technologies to maximize limited resources.
To help federal agencies meet these challenges and optimize available resources, the sponsoring agencies of the Federal Facilities Council requested that the National Research Council review current federal practices for planning, budgeting, and implementing facility maintenance and repair programs and (1) develop a methodology and rationale federal facilities program managers can use for the systematic formulation and justification of facility maintenance and repair budgets; (2) investigate the role of technology in performing automated condition assessments; and (3) identify staff capabilities necessary to perform condition assessments and develop maintenance and repair budgets.
The study was conducted under the auspices of the Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment by a committee of recognized experts in bud-