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Suggested Citation:"Focus on First Costs." National Research Council. 2001. Deferred Maintenance Reporting for Federal Facilities: Meeting the Requirements of Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Standard Number 6, as Amended. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10095.
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Page 45

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APPENDIX A 45 APPENDIX A Excerpts from Stewardship of Federal Facilities: A Proactive Strategy for Managing the Nation's Public Assets (pp. 13-18) FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE DETERIORATING CONDITION OF FEDERAL FACILITIES Despite the historic, cultural, and architectural importance of, and economic investment in, federal facilities, evidence is mounting that the physical condition, functionality, and quality of the federal facilities portfolio is deteriorating. In response to Congressional inquiries, the General Accounting Office (GAO) has published a number of reports documenting the deterioration of federal facilities since 1990. These include NASA Maintenance: Stronger Commitment Needed to Curb Facility Deterioration (GAO, 1990), Federal Buildings: Actions Needed to Prevent Further Deterioration and Obsolescence (GAO, 1991), Federal Research: Aging Federal Laboratories Need Repairs and Upgrades (GAO, 1993), and National Parks: Difficult Choices Need to be Made About the Future of the Parks (GAO, 1995b). To cite only two examples from these reports, “at Ellis Island in New York, the nation's only museum devoted exclusively to immigration, 32 of 36 historic buildings have seriously deteriorated, and, according to park officials, about two-thirds of these buildings could be lost within 5 years if not stabilized.” In one building used for storing cultural artifacts, “much of the collection is covered with dirt and debris from crumbling walls and peeling paint, and leaky roofs have caused water damage to many artifacts” (GAO, 1995a). A number of factors that contribute to the deteriorating condition of federal facilities, are described below. Focus on First Costs The deteriorating condition of federal facilities is attributable, in part, to the federal government's failure to recognize the total costs of facility ownership. Although the “costs to operate and maintain a facility vary between 60 to 85 percent of its total ownership cost” (Christian and Pandeya, 1997), government budgeting practices have focused on the design and construction costs, or 5 to 10 percent of the total costs of

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In 1996 the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) 1 enacted Standard Number 6, Accounting for Property, Plant, and Equipment (PP&E), the first government-wide initiative requiring federal agencies to report dollar amounts of deferred maintenance annually. The FASAB has identified four overall objectives in federal financial reporting: budgetary integrity, operating performance, stewardship, and systems and control. FASAB Standard Number 6, as amended, focuses on operating performance and stewardship. The FFC Standing Committee on Operations and Maintenance has prepared this report to identify potential issues that should be considered in any future amendments to the standard and to suggest approaches for resolving them. The committee's intent is to assist the CFO Council, federal agencies, the FASAB, and others as they consider how best to meet the objectives of federal financial reporting for facilities.

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