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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

422.1 - Deferred Maintenance


Office of Primary Responsibility: APS/Management Services

1. Policy. It is US Geological Survey (USGS) policy to exercise responsible stewardship of its infrastructure. Accordingly, as adequate facility, equipment, and installation assets are key to the successful performance of the USGS mission, existing assets will be properly and effectively maintained. The bureau will invest available capital in the renovation of existing or construction of new facilities consistent with sound business practices and bureau objectives and priorities. A top priority is to reduce accumulated deferred maintenance, which is maintenance that was not performed when it should have been or when it was scheduled and which, therefore, was put off or delayed for a future period.

2. Purpose. This Chapter establishes policy and prescribes procedures governing deferred maintenance at the USGS, including facility condition assessments. It also describes the deferred maintenance responsibilities of USGS officials.

3. Authority. The chief authorities governing deferred maintenance are Office of Management and Budget Circular A-11, the Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Standards Number 6 (FASAB #6, Accounting for Property, Plant, and Equipment, issued by the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board), and Department of the Interior Facilities Condition Assessment Survey Guidelines and annual budget guidance.

4. Background. The Department of the Interior owns and operates over 34,000 buildings, 120,000 miles of roads, and a wide variety of other constructed assets. With stewardship responsibility for such a large capital asset base, maintenance and improvement require continuous oversight and effective management. As a backlog of deferred maintenance projects has accumulated, the Department has launched a program to focus on investments to improve the maintenance of existing facilities. Targeting congressional appropriations for identified projects, the program requires bureaus to complete Five-Year Maintenance and Capital Improvement Plans that capture their most critical deferred maintenance and construction priorities. Deferred maintenance projects addressing the most critical health, safety, and resource-protection needs receive the highest priority in the Department's budget request.

While the USGS has a modest facility base relative to that of other bureaus, the backlog stemming from deferred facility maintenance is nevertheless substantial. Moreover, the USGS has stewardship responsibility for unique mission equipment assets such as hazard-warning networks, river cableways, and gauging stations. They require effective maintenance and capital investments to preserve functionality and eliminate backlogs. The Department budgets for these projects through the Five-year Maintenance and Capital Improvement Plans and applies health and safety criteria to determine priorities in the same manner as for facility assets.

5. Scope. The departmental and bureau efforts to reduce accumulated deferred maintenance target owned facility, equipment, and installation assets. Therefore, projects involving General Services Administration, leased, or cooperator space, for example, are not funded through the deferred maintenance process and are not qualifying Five-year Maintenance and Capital Improvement Plan projects. Most personal property, including motor vehicles, small watercraft, and office, telecommunications, and laboratory equipment, is excluded. However, facilities-related equipment such as machinery, lawnmowers, snowplows, and similar personal property assets associated with the day-to-day operation and maintenance of a constructed facility does qualify for 5-year plan purposes. Also, mission infrastructure systems and components that generally are constructed assets but not facilities per se (hazard-monitoring networks, river cableways, and gauging stations, for example) qualify. Large vessels with onboard crew quarters supporting multi-day field research are effectively mobile installations and are treated as facilities for deferred maintenance purposes.

6. Responsibilities. The Chief, Office of Administrative Policy and Services, exercises executive oversight for bureau deferred maintenance, establishes deferred maintenance project priorities, integrates project plans into the bureau budget, and promotes program objectives through the representation of bureau interests before external parties. These responsibilities are accomplished with the advice and assistance of the Associate Directors and the Regional Directors. The responsibilities of designated officials follow:

A. Chief, Office of Management Services, has the following deferred maintenance responsibilities:

(1) Collects information on planned bureau maintenance and capital improvement projects in accordance with the annual Department of the Interior budget guidance; maintains estimates of the bureau's deferred maintenance backlog.

(2) Reviews candidate projects for adherence to guidance and validity of justifications, estimates, and determinations regarding the criticality of health and safety deficiencies.

(3) Prepares the USGS Five-year Maintenance and Capital Improvement Plans; performs liaison with the Department and others relative to the USGS deferred maintenance program.

(4) Establishes condition assessment procedures and checklists for bureau facilities.

(5) Coordinates system efforts relative to maintenance and construction project tracking and 5-year plans.

B. Regional Directors have the following deferred maintenance responsibilities:

(1) Prepare regional deferred maintenance project proposals and priority rankings in accordance with departmental and bureau guidance and annual instructions; validate accuracy of project cost estimates.

(2) Ensure that condition assessment checklists are completed annually for owned facilities.

C. Associate Directors have the following deferred maintenance responsibilities:

(1) For mission infrastructure systems and components categorized as equipment for deferred maintenance purposes (hazard-monitoring networks, river cableways, and gauging stations, for example), prepare project proposals and priority rankings in accordance with departmental and bureau guidance and annual instructions.

(2) Provide the Regional Directors and the Chief, Office of Administrative Policy and Services, with advice on the relative priority of proposed deferred maintenance projects in the context of national program objectives.

D. Local and other program officials (the USGS Science Center chief, Regional Executive, District Chief, national program coordinator, or other accountable official) have the following deferred maintenance responsibilities:

(1) Establish practices, processes, and programs that ensure assigned facility, equipment, and installation assets are managed effectively and maintained properly.

(2) Employ bureau and program safety management resources and standards in identifying and justifying critical health and safety deficiencies warranting remediation through the deferred maintenance and construction project process.

(3) Maintain current asset inventory data and other information consistent with the criteria governing bureau 5-year plans, reporting, and systems; report such data and information in accordance with periodic bureau requests and deadlines.

(4) Budget for facility and other infrastructure maintenance and capital investment needs consistent with the bureau priority objective of reducing accumulated deferred maintenance.

(5) Assess the condition of assigned assets in accordance with bureau instructions, and use the results of the assessments to identify priority projects.

7. Condition Assessments. The December 1999 Department of the Interior Facilities Condition Assessment Survey Guidelines outline the scope, methodology, levels of expertise, and frequency for the conduct of condition assessments. The guidelines require bureaus to establish programs incorporating annual surveys and comprehensive assessments at least once every 5 years. The USGS implements the guidelines for its facilities by maintaining an accurate inventory of the land, buildings, and other structures and facilities located on its installations and conducting surveys of facility assets at a cost level commensurate with the value of the asset.

Condition assessment surveys will be conducted first where the need is greatest, i.e., at facilities with known critical health and safety deferred maintenance projects, as identified in the latest bureau Five-year Maintenance and Capital Improvement Plan and consistent with program priorities. Initially, the survey process will confirm the scope of the recommended repair, rehabilitation, or replacement needs and associated cost estimates as a means of strengthening the project justifications and improving the 5-year plans and proposed budgets. With experience in multiple cycles of surveys, the process will provide an ongoing mechanism for bureau oversight of facility asset management, operations, and investments.

The departmental guidelines address buildings, quarters, roads, and unique facilities such as dams, power plants, and campgrounds. While readily applying to USGS assets in these categories and perhaps to constructed assets such as river cableways, condition assessments may not be the appropriate mechanism for measuring the amount of deferred maintenance for hazard-warning and other monitoring networks unique to the USGS. As authorized in FASAB #6, life-cycle cost forecasts represent an alternative methodology for identifying deferred maintenance. This approach uses forecasts of operating, maintenance, and other costs in determining the base against which actual maintenance expenses are compared to estimate deferred maintenance. Where appropriate, the USGS may employ this alternative in its implementation of deferred maintenance program measures for monitoring networks.

8. Procedures. The annual departmental and bureau instructions provide the procedural framework for preparing Five-year Maintenance and Capital Improvement Plans, which capture the bureau's highest-priority deferred maintenance and construction projects. The following procedures apply:

A. The USGS officials identified in paragraph 422.1.6 above will accomplish their responsibilities in accordance with the time frames and other requirements contained in periodic project data calls. As the purpose of the deferred maintenance and capital improvement program is to seek funds for priority projects, these data calls will coincide with departmental budget schedules.

B. Local and other USGS program officials with direct maintenance or program management responsibilities will identify proposed deferred maintenance and capital improvement projects based on condition assessments or life-cycle cost forecasts, operating and maintenance experience, mission needs, and sound business practices. Each project proposal must comply with departmental and bureau instructions. Documentation in the form of a Project Data Sheet or summary proposal, as prescribed in the annual Departmental budget guidance, will describe the proposed project, explain the methodology used to derive the project cost estimate, and justify the ranking categories that are cited for the project.

C. Projects justified on critical health and safety maintenance grounds will be coordinated through the regional or bureau Safety Management Office, as appropriate, prior to proposal.

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Last modification: 11-Jan-2013@10:24 (bt)