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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

420.1 – Asset Management


Office of Primary Responsibility: Office of Management Services

Instruction: New chapter.

1. Purpose. This Chapter establishes policies and principles governing the management of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) real property and other constructed assets.  It also describes the asset management responsibilities of USGS officials and the tools for effective asset management.

2. Scope. For purposes of this Chapter, assets include space from all sources, including but not limited to land, buildings, and other structures owned or acquired by the USGS, General Services Administration (GSA) space, and space provided by cooperators and government agencies. 

3. Authority. The chief authorities governing space and real property management and capital planning and investment are the GSA Federal Management Regulations and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular No. A-11. The Department of the Interior Capital Planning and Investment Control Guide (Version 1.0 dated December 2002) provides detailed guidance governing information-technology and construction investments.

4. Policy.  It is USGS policy to manage its real property and other constructed assets in an economic and effective manner and to exercise responsible stewardship of these assets.  As facilities are key to the support of bureau mission operations, it is USGS policy to integrate facility needs into core bureau and science program strategic planning and budgeting.   

5. Asset Management Principles.  The Federal Real Property Council, which the President charged in Executive Order 13327 to lead and facilitate federal asset management planning, has adopted the following principles, which will guide USGS asset management:

A. Support agency missions and strategic goals.
B. Use public and commercial benchmarks and best practices.
C. Employ life-cycle cost-benefit analysis.
D. Promote full and appropriate utilization.
E. Dispose of unneeded assets.
F. Provide appropriate levels of investment.
G. Accurately inventory and describe all assets.
H. Employ balanced performance measures.
I.  Advance customer satisfaction.
J.  Provide for safe, secure and healthy workplaces.

6. Responsibilities. The Associate Director for Administrative Policy and Services serves as the USGS Senior Asset Management Officer and exercises executive oversight for bureau asset management, including planning, budgeting, and administration for all sources of USGS-occupied space.  As prescribed by Survey Manual Chapter 308.62 – Investment Review Board and Chapter 421.1 – Facility Plans and Investments, the USGS Investment Review Board (IRB) reviews strategic facility plans and evaluates and approves major capital investments.  The responsibilities of designated officials follow:

A. In addition to related facility budgeting, planning, and oversight functions prescribed in Survey Manual Chapter 421.1, the Chief, Office of Management Services, has the following asset management responsibilities:

(1) As the USGS Facilities Program Coordinator and a permanent ex officio member of the IRB, ensures that the IRB receives timely information on bureau asset management plans and on priority facility programs and projects.

(2) Prepares and updates the USGS Asset Management Plan, and represents the USGS on asset management matters before the Department and other parties.

(3) Promotes efficiencies in bureau facility management processes through standardization of operations and maintenance functions and systems, and other appropriate measures.

(4) Establishes bureau facility performance metrics, collects performance data, and measures progress against established benchmarks.

(5) Collects information and maintains a database on USGS real property assets and prepares required reports.

(6) Issues procedures and instructions on the format, content, and schedules for Site-Specific Asset Business Plans.

(7) Performs the responsibilities listed in section 6.B. for the USGS National Center.

B. Regional Directors have the following responsibilities:

(1) Manage real property assets in accordance with the principles listed in section 5 above.

(2) Acquire and occupy only the minimum number of facilities and the least amount of space required to conduct assigned programs.

(3) Continually assess mission program needs against current real property assets to:

(a) identify and eliminate unneeded assets through established excess processes, and

(b) identify underutilized assets and convert them to beneficial use.

(4) Operate facilities in an economically and environmentally sound manner, and in accordance with accessibility, safety, security, quality, and historic-preservation standards.

(5) Compile and maintain accurate real property asset inventory and performance data.

(6) Complete required Site-Specific Asset Business Plans.

(7) Consult with the Associate Directors to ensure that effective asset management is accomplished for national capability facilities located in the regions.

C. Associate Directors provide executive oversight of national capability facilities under their purview and work with the Regional Directors to ensure that national science program plans and budgets embrace effective asset management.

7. Asset Management Tools. Effective asset management requires oversight that captures the many dimensions of space and facilities, including, but not limited to, source, location, age, quantity, quality, use, cost, funding availability, and life cycle.  Mission responsiveness is a key determinant of these dimensions, just as business practices, duration of need, and prevailing real estate and construction market forces govern the arena in which assets are acquired, operated, and disposed.  The following tools offer responsible USGS officials, and other executives and managers throughout the bureau, the means to be responsible stewards of their real property assets, adhere to asset management principles, and otherwise ensure that the bureau achieves effective asset management:

A. The USGS Asset Management Plan (AMP) is an annual report on:  actions to improve the management of bureau real property assets, identified deficiencies, accomplishments, and priorities.  The AMP also provides a roadmap of tasks and milestones required to continue the integration of asset management into management plans, policies, procedures, and everyday practices, thereby institutionalizing necessary improvement processes across all USGS programs.  The AMP serves as a summary of bureau efforts to implement the Department of the Interior AMP and governing directives, and as an important reference point for everyone working on asset management.  It shows where the bureau is and where it is going.  

B. The USGS Strategic Facilities Master Plan of October 2005 examines several key aspects of the bureau’s real property assets, including the inventory of holdings, adequacy of space and facilities, utility of information management systems, comparison to industry and governmental benchmarks, and alignment to mission.  Serving as a definitive analysis of existing facility processes, it identifies measures needed to develop a strong AMP such as strategies for improving asset portfolio performance, budgeting, setting mission-based facility priorities, eliminating the deferred maintenance backlog, developing standard business case analyses, and implementing recommended actions.

C. Site-Specific Asset Business Plans are important building blocks for the AMP.  With flexibility for completion at field sites, at centers or campuses, or for entire regions, these plans describe the life-cycle issues and portfolio characteristics for the site.  They present a 5- to 10-year snapshot of associated assets using standard performance metrics such as those explained in section 7 F and integrate one-time investment plans and recurring-cost estimates for operations, maintenance, and other facility work.
D. The USGS IRB reviews and approves proposed construction projects and other facility investments above thresholds specified in Survey Manual Chapter 421.1 – Facility Plans and Investments.  With membership of executives representing real property, finance, human resources, budget, the disciplines, the regions, and the field, the IRB offers objective analysis anchored in an extensive knowledge of bureau science, administrative, budgeting, and planning programs and priorities.  With comparable diversity and knowledge, a counterpart IRB in each region reviews and approves proposals before submission to headquarters and provides the same objective analysis of proposed investments not requiring the USGS IRB’s approval.  These bodies assure the integration of science and facility plans.

E. Facility Program Support is available from the Office of Management Services (OMS) in the Office of Administrative Policy and Services and from the three Offices of Regional Services.  They provide technical assistance on all aspects of asset management, including proposed investments, space acquisition through GSA, direct leasing, construction, quarters, renovation, building operations, maintenance, facility budgeting, utilization, and real property disposal.

F. Asset Management Processes are various relatively uniform but flexible mechanisms that promote efficiency, economy, and effectiveness in space and facility operations.  Some target operations and maintenance practices, and others standardize terminology and metrics.  Together these processes govern virtually all aspects of asset management in a manner that promotes not only local but also regional and bureauwide improvement.  Examples are:

(1) The Business Case Analysis (BCA) process is the standardized approach that the IRB has adopted as the bureau’s primary mechanism for reviewing investment proposals.  Using a standard electronic BCA template, project originators describe alternatives in narrative form; enter data on up-front and recurring costs for each; list associated administrative, financial, legal, contractual, organizational, schedule, and technical risks; and identify related mission and other benefits.  The template produces life-cycle cost and other summaries that put alternatives and competing projects on an equal and objective footing for IRB review.  The BCA process dovetails with the Department’s Capital Planning and Investment Control process, which governs major Information Technology and construction projects and serves as the means for vetting projects destined for Office of Management and Budget review and budget approval.
(2) Facility maintenance management processes are being automated through an OMS-managed system utilizing commercial off-the-shelf software.  The system standardizes facility definitions, requires inventories of component equipment and building systems, incorporates preventive maintenance schedules, produces work orders, and tracks service completion.  The system employs handheld devices to improve the accuracy and timeliness of maintenance work.

(3) The facility condition assessment process includes both annual surveys, which local staffs complete, and comprehensive assessments, which architect/engineering contractors complete on a 5-year cycle.  Focusing primarily on owned real property assets, the process helps managers identify maintenance and capital improvement needs, quantify the amount of deferred maintenance, determine aggregate and project-specific costs, and establish priorities.  The comprehensive assessments reveal a key performance indicator, the Facility Condition Index, which is the ratio of deferred maintenance costs to current replacement value.  This indicator is a gauge of deferred maintenance backlogs and, for a specific asset, helps determine whether renovation or outright replacement is warranted.

(4) The annual budget-formulation process for facilities requires confirmation of prior-year actual costs, updates of the current-year estimates, and the projection of budget-year costs.  Automated through the web-based Facility Budget Activity - Online (FBA-Online) system, the process provides for cost center entry of data for recurring rent, operations, and maintenance costs for all space sources.  It serves as a mechanism for keeping a record of facilities costs, generating required reports, preparing allocations, determining direct and reimbursable funding shares, and planning for anticipated transactions that will have rate, square footage, and relocation consequences.

(5) The deferred maintenance process uses the FBA-Online system to track backlogs of facility maintenance and to budget for priority projects that meet health, safety, and other criteria established by the Department.  As prescribed by Survey Manual Chapter 422.1, critical projects approved by the Regional Directors qualify for inclusion in the USGS 5-Year Deferred Maintenance and Capital Improvement Plan.

(6) Performance measurement and reporting processes embrace the standardization of real property asset terminology and the use of benchmarks to compare to industry and government standards.  Indicators such as cost per square foot and cost per employee, for example, are useful for comparison among housing alternatives and with those other activities are experiencing.  Tracking progress along these lines over several years can point managers to opportunities to improve utilization and to reduce facility costs.  Mission dependence is another critical indicator, which is measured at the asset level as the Asset Priority Index (API).  Where examined in terms of asset condition, the API points to strategies for further investment, substitutability, or disposal.  The USGS uses another key tool, its Federal Real Property Management system, and ad hoc data collections to maintain the mandated GSA Federal Real Property Profile of assets and prepare management reports for the Department and others.

(7) The program guidance process offers a variety of directives, instructions, guidelines, templates, models, and similar materials that explain and promote effective asset management.  This chapter and other USGS directives establish the policy structure, while departmental and bureau websites on asset management provide a variety of informational guides and links, from useful how-to overviews to detailed reporting instructions.  


(signed)  Karen D. Baker                                                                   8/3/06
__________________________________________                        _________________
Karen D. Baker                                                                                    Date
Associate Director for Administrative Policy and Services                     


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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA
Contact: APS, Office of Policy and Analysis
Issuing Office: Office of Management Services
Content Information Contact: Bob Springer, , 703-648-7310
Last modification: 11-Jan-2013@10:24 (kk)
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