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Report to the Subcommittee on Readiness, Committee on Armed Services, 
House of Representatives: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
GAO: 

April 2010: 

Defense Infrastructure: 

DOD Needs to Determine and Use the Most Economical Building Materials 
and Methods When Acquiring New Permanent Facilities: 

Defense Infrastructure: 

GAO-10-436: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-10-436, a report to the Subcommittee on Readiness, 
Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives. 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

To meet the challenges associated with a threefold increase in the Army’
s military construction program between fiscal years 2005 and 2009, 
the Army adopted numerous changes, including the expanded use of wood 
materials and modular building methods, designed to reduce building 
costs and timelines for new facilities. With the changes, the Army set 
goals to reduce building costs by 15 percent and timelines by 30 
percent. The Army, Navy, and Air Force have also faced challenges 
associated with incorporating both antiterrorism construction 
standards and sustainable design (“green”) goals into new facilities. 
GAO was asked to (1) assess the Army’s progress in meeting its goals, 
(2) evaluate the merits from the Army’s expanded use of wood materials 
and modular building methods, and (3) examine potential conflicts 
between antiterrorism construction standards and sustainable design 
goals. GAO reviewed relevant documentation, interviewed cognizant 
service officials, analyzed selected construction project data, and 
visited five Army installations to review facilities built with 
alternative materials and methods. 

What GAO Found: 

The Army set goals to reduce its estimated construction costs by 15 
percent and building timelines by 30 percent, but it did not monitor 
goal achievement and thus did not know to what extent the goals had 
been met or whether changes made to its military construction program 
resulted in actual reductions in facility costs. GAO’s review of 
selected project information showed that the Army did reduce the 
estimated cost of some facility construction projects and shortened 
building timelines during fiscal years 2007 through 2009, but it did 
not meet its overall stated goals. For example, GAO found that the 
average building timeline for one key measurement (design start to 
ready for occupancy) was reduced by about 11 percent—an improvement, 
but less than the 30 percent goal. The Army discontinued the numerical 
goals in fiscal year 2010, and Army officials stated that, although 
the specific goals might not have been achieved, they believed that 
the Army’s efforts were successful in dampening the escalation of Army 
facilities’ costs and would continue to help ensure cost-effective and 
timely facilities in future years. 

The Army appears to have achieved some savings in selected 
construction projects by expanding the use of wood materials and 
modular construction methods for some of its facilities, but GAO found 
little quantitative data on whether the use of these materials and 
methods will result in savings over the long term compared to the 
traditional use of steel, concrete, and masonry materials and on-site 
building methods. Without long-term or life-cycle analyses that 
consider not only initial construction costs but also possible 
differences in facility service lives and annual operating and 
maintenance costs between the construction alternatives, it is not 
clear that the Army’s expanded use of wood materials and modular 
building methods will achieve the Army’s intended purpose of reduced 
facility costs over the long term. The Navy and the Air Force 
generally disagreed with the Army’s view and believed that the use of 
wood materials and modular construction will result in facilities with 
shorter service lives and higher life-cycle costs. However, none of 
the services had the analyses to support its views. Without additional 
study and analysis, DOD will not know whether military construction 
program guidance needs to be changed to ensure that facilities are 
constructed with materials and methods that meet needs at the lowest 
cost over the long term. 

Conflicts between antiterrorism building standards and sustainable 
design goals exist, but military service officials stated that the 
conflicts are considered to be manageable. GAO’s review of 90 Army, 
Navy, and Air Force military construction projects, approved during 
fiscal years 2007 through 2009, showed that although incorporating the 
standards and the goals in new facilities added to construction costs, 
80 of the projects required no special steps or workarounds to meet 
both the standards and the goals. However, service officials noted 
that achieving higher levels of sustainability in future construction 
projects while still meeting the antiterrorism standards would further 
increase initial facility costs and create additional design 
challenges. 

What GAO Recommends: 

GAO recommends that the Department of Defense (DOD) determine the 
merits and long-term costs from the use of alternative building 
materials and methods and subsequently revise its military 
construction guidance, as deemed appropriate. DOD generally agreed 
with the recommendations. 

View [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-436] or key 
components. For more information, contact Brian Lepore, 202-512-4523 
or leporeb@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

Contents: 

Letter: 

Results in Brief: 

Background: 

The Army Did Not Measure the Achievement of Goals to Reduce Military 
Construction Costs and Timelines: 

Questions Remain about Whether the Use of Alternative Building 
Materials and Methods Will Yield Long-term Savings: 

Conflicts Exist between Antiterrorism Building Standards and 
Sustainable Goals, but the Services Consider the Conflicts to Be 
Manageable: 

Conclusions: 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology: 

Appendix II: DOD Construction Practices: 

Appendix III: DOD's Antiterrorism Construction Standards: 

Appendix IV: DOD's Sustainable Design Goals: 

Appendix V: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

Related GAO Products: 

Tables: 

Table 1: Achievement of the Army's Cost Goal in Selected Projects: 

Table 2: Change in Average Army Building Timelines--Design Start to 
Ready for Occupancy: 

Table 3: Change in Average Army Building Timelines--Construction Start 
to Ready for Occupancy: 

Table 4: Types of Construction and Materials Allowed by the 
International Building Code: 

Table 5: DOD's Antiterrorism Construction Standards: 

Table 6: Rating System's Prerequisites, Credits, and Points for New 
Buildings: 

Figures: 

Figure 1: Army Military Construction Program by Type of Funding 
between Fiscal Years 2005 and 2010: 

Figure 2: Wood-Frame Barracks at Fort Carson, Colorado: 

Figure 3: Wood-Frame Barracks at Fort Meade, Maryland: 

Figure 4: Privatized Unaccompanied Personnel Housing Project in 
Norfolk, Virginia: 

Figure 5: Privatized Senior Unaccompanied Personnel Housing Project at 
Fort Bragg, North Carolina: 

Figure 6: Use of Modular Construction to Build a Barracks at Fort 
Bliss, Texas: 

Abbreviations: 

DOD: Department of Defense: 

[End of section] 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

April 30, 2010: 

The Honorable Solomon Ortiz: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable J. Randy Forbes: 
Ranking Member: 
Subcommittee on Readiness: 
Committee on Armed Services: 
House of Representatives: 

The Army has been faced with a significant challenge to meet the 
facility needs associated with several recent initiatives, such as the 
transformation of the Army's force structure, the permanent relocation 
of thousands of overseas military personnel back to the United States, 
the implementation of Base Realignment and Closure actions, and the 
planned increase in the Army's active-duty end strength. Taken 
together, the Army estimated that these initiatives would result in a 
threefold increase in the Army's military construction program with 
appropriated funding increasing from about $3.4 billion in fiscal year 
2005 to a peak of about $10.7 billion in fiscal year 2009 before 
beginning to decrease back to more historical levels. 

The Army concluded that if it continued to use traditional military 
construction acquisition and building practices then it could not 
successfully meet the challenges associated with such a large increase 
in the volume and costs of facility construction, as well as the need 
to complete new required facilities in time to meet planned movements 
of organizations and personnel. Thus, in 2006, the Army adopted a 
strategy, known as military construction transformation, which 
included numerous changes to its traditional practices that were 
designed to reduce facility acquisition costs and construction 
timelines. Among the changes were the development of standard designs 
for common facility types, the use of a standardized format to obtain 
contractor bids for facility construction projects, a transition from 
"design-bid-build" to "design-build" project delivery,[Footnote 1] and 
a change from including detailed, prescriptive construction 
requirements in facility solicitations to the use of performance-based 
criteria that focused on what the Army needed rather than on how to 
meet the needs. Another change in the Army's strategy was the expanded 
use of all types of construction materials and methods allowed by 
Department of Defense (DOD) building guidance. This included greater 
use of wood materials and modular building methods, as compared to the 
use of steel, concrete, and masonry materials and on-site building 
methods traditionally used by the Army, Navy, and Air Force for larger 
permanent facilities, such as administrative buildings and barracks. 

In view of the expected results from the implementation of its new 
military construction transformation strategy, the Army established 
goals to reduce its military construction costs by 15 percent and 
facility construction timelines by 30 percent beginning in fiscal year 
2007. The Army planned to implement the cost reduction goal by having 
project planners reduce the estimated cost of planned facilities by 15 
percent and then request funding from the Congress for the reduced 
amount. Thus, the cost goal was not directly related to actual 
facility costs but rather to estimated facility costs. While 
continuing to apply the strategy to its military construction program, 
the Army discontinued these numerical goals in fiscal year 2010, 
stating that most cost and timeline reduction benefits from the 
strategy had been obtained by the end of fiscal year 2009. 

In addition to facing challenges from the significant growth in its 
military construction program, the Army, as well as the Navy and the 
Air Force, has also faced challenges associated with incorporating 
both antiterrorism construction standards and sustainable design goals 
into new facilities.[Footnote 2] As required by Section 2859 of Title 
10, DOD has developed and implemented antiterrorism construction 
standards designed to reduce facility vulnerability to terrorist 
attack and improve the security of facility occupants.[Footnote 3] The 
standards include 22 mandatory standards, such as requiring open areas 
around new facilities to keep explosives at a distance from the 
facilities, and 17 recommended but optional measures, such as avoiding 
exterior hallway configurations for inhabited facilities. For decades, 
the federal government has attempted to improve energy efficiency and 
energy and water conservation at federal facilities and, in January 
2006, DOD joined 16 other federal agencies in signing a memorandum of 
understanding that committed the agency to leadership in designing, 
constructing, and operating high-performance and sustainable 
buildings.[Footnote 4] Challenges from incorporating the antiterrorism 
standards and sustainable goals into new facilities include not only 
increased costs, but also dealing with potential conflicts between the 
standards and the goals, such as providing required open areas around 
new facilities, which reduces development density, while recognizing 
sustainable design goals related to increasing development density. 

You asked us to assess the Army's progress in meeting its military 
construction cost and timeline reduction goals, evaluate the Army's 
expanded use of nontraditional construction materials and methods, and 
review potential conflicts and costs from incorporating antiterrorism 
standards and sustainable design goals in new military facilities. 
Thus, this report (1) assesses the Army's measurement and achievement 
of its military construction cost and timeline reduction goals, (2) 
evaluates the merits and economic impacts from the Army's expanded use 
of wood materials and modular building methods for permanent 
facilities, and (3) discusses potential conflicts between 
antiterrorism construction standards and sustainable design goals and 
the costs to incorporate the standards and goals in new facilities. 

To address these objectives, we reviewed applicable documentation on 
how the Army implemented and monitored its 15 percent construction 
cost and 30 percent building time frame reduction goals and 
interviewed Army officials and analyzed Army data for a non-
probability sample of 75 Army projects approved in fiscal years 2007 
through 2009 to determine whether the projects met the cost reduction 
goal. The projects selected represented a range of facility types and 
geographic locations and were in the categories of facilities subject 
to the cost goal. We also determined whether the Army met its building 
timeline reduction goal by comparing actual building timelines for all 
completed projects before and after the goals were established. In 
addition, we interviewed Army, Navy, and Air Force officials and 
reviewed documentation, policies, and construction guidance on the 
Army's expanded use of wood materials and modular building methods; 
obtained information about how different building materials and 
methods affect initial construction costs, long-term costs, and 
durability of new military facilities; summarized studies from 
construction industry groups on how different building materials 
affect construction costs; visited five Army installations to review 
recent construction projects and discuss with local officials the use 
of wood materials and modular building methods; and met with 
developers of two military privatized, unaccompanied personnel housing 
projects to discuss the building materials and methods used in those 
projects. Further, we reviewed applicable DOD policies, guidance, and 
goals related to incorporating antiterrorism construction standards 
and sustainable design goals in new military facilities; interviewed 
military service officials about how antiterrorism standards and 
sustainable design goals affect construction costs and how potential 
conflicts between the standards and goals are addressed; and followed 
up with project planners on a non-probability sample of 90 Army, Navy, 
and Air Force military construction projects from fiscal years 2007 
through 2009 to obtain details on any conflicts encountered when 
incorporating the standards and goals in the projects. We selected 
projects from a list of all Army, Navy, and Air Force military 
construction projects approved during fiscal years 2007 through 2009 
to represent a range of facility types and geographic locations and 
included 10 Army, 10 Navy, and 10 Air Force projects approved in each 
of the 3 years. Although we did not independently validate 
construction cost and building timeline data provided by the military 
services, we discussed with the officials steps they have taken to 
ensure reasonable accuracy of the data. As such, we determined the 
data to be sufficiently reliable for the purposes of this report. 

We conducted this performance audit from March 2009 to February 2010 
in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 
Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain 
sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our 
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe 
that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our 
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. Further 
details on our scope and methodology can be found in appendix I. 

Results in Brief: 

The Army set goals to reduce its estimated construction costs by 15 
percent and building timelines by 30 percent, but it did not monitor 
goal achievement and therefore did not know to what extent the goals 
were met or whether changes adopted under its military construction 
transformation strategy resulted in actual reductions in facility 
costs. However, our review of selected project information showed that 
the Army did reduce the estimated cost of some facility construction 
projects and shortened building timelines during fiscal years 2007 
through 2009, but it did not meet its overall stated goals. Effective 
management practices call for not only setting program goals but also 
for monitoring goal achievement so that results can be measured and 
adjustments can be made to programs, if needed, to better achieve 
goals. Yet, the Army did not establish a framework to measure changes 
in facility construction costs and building timelines when it 
established goals to reduce costs and timelines beginning in fiscal 
year 2007, and as a result, the Army was not in a position to make 
adjustments in its application of these goals. Furthermore, we found 
that the Army did not subject all Army facility projects to the 15 
percent cost reduction goal during fiscal years 2007 through 2009. To 
illustrate, the Army decided to only subject projects funded by the 
base realignment and closure program to the goal in fiscal year 2007 
and, in fiscal year 2009, the Army decided to only apply the goal 
reduction to five types of facilities--brigade, battalion, and company 
headquarters buildings, barracks, and dining facilities. To obtain 
some insight into the Army's attainment of its cost goal, we reviewed 
the estimated cost of 75 facility projects in the categories that were 
subject to the goal and found that the goal was met in 31 (41 percent) 
of the facilities, but not met in 44 ( 59 percent) of the facilities. 
[Footnote 5] However, some reduction, but less than 15 percent, was 
made in the estimated cost of 24 of the 44 facilities that did not 
meet the goal. To obtain some insight into the Army's attainment of 
its 30 percent building timeline reduction goal, we compared actual 
Army building timelines for all projects before and after the goal was 
established. We found that the average building timeline for one key 
Army timeline measurement (design start to ready for occupancy) was 
reduced by about 11 percent--an improvement, but less than the Army's 
30 percent goal. The Army discontinued these numerical goals in fiscal 
year 2010, and Army officials stated that, although the specific goals 
might not have been achieved, they believed that the Army's efforts to 
transform its military construction acquisition and building practices 
were successful in dampening the escalation of Army facilities' costs 
and would continue to help ensure cost-effective and timely facilities 
in future years. 

Although the Army appears to have achieved some savings in initial 
construction costs by expanding the use of wood materials and modular 
construction methods for some permanent facilities, we found little 
quantitative information on whether the use of these materials and 
methods will result in savings over the long term compared to the 
traditional use of steel, concrete, and masonry materials and on-site 
building methods. Without long-term or life-cycle analyses that 
consider not only initial construction costs but also possible 
differences in facility service lives and annual operating and 
maintenance costs between the construction alternatives, it is not 
clear that the Army's expanded use of wood materials and modular 
building methods will achieve the Army's intended purpose of reduced 
facility costs over the long term. Navy and Air Force officials 
generally disagreed with the Army's view saying that the use of wood 
materials and modular construction--as compared to the use of steel, 
concrete, and masonry materials and on-site construction methods--
would result in facilities with shorter service lives and higher, not 
lower, life-cycle costs. However, none of the services had substantial 
quantitative information or analyses to support its views. Also, 
during visits to private organizations that represented the interests 
of wood, modular building, and concrete and masonry industries, we 
found various views and opinions on the long-term merits and economic 
benefits from the use of alternative construction materials and 
building methods, but did not find documented analyses comparing the 
actual life-cycle costs of facilities constructed with alternative 
materials and methods. We did find that the Army apparently achieved 
initial construction cost savings by using wood-frame construction in 
several barracks projects that were initially designed to be built 
with steel, concrete, and masonry. For example, Army officials noted 
that a fiscal year 2006 Fort Carson, Colorado, barracks project was 
estimated to cost about $35 million based on actual contract bids and 
the use of steel, concrete, and masonry construction materials. 
However, after switching the design to wood-frame construction, the 
project was subsequently awarded for about $24 million, a savings of 
about $11 million (31 percent) in estimated costs. Nonetheless, unless 
the services perform additional study and analysis to determine the 
relative merits and long-term economic impacts from the use of 
alternative construction materials and methods, DOD will not know 
whether the use of wood materials and modular building methods results 
in the most economical long-term building approach or whether DOD's 
military construction program guidance needs to be changed to ensure 
that new facilities are constructed with materials and methods that 
meet requirements at the lowest cost over the long term. Thus, we are 
recommending that DOD determine the merits and long-term costs from 
the use of alternative construction materials and methods for new 
common facilities where alternative materials may be appropriate, such 
as administrative buildings and barracks, and subsequently revise its 
military construction guidance, as deemed appropriate. 

Although areas of conflict exist when designing facilities that meet 
both antiterrorism construction standards and sustainable design 
goals, military service officials stated that the conflicts are 
manageable and facilities are routinely designed and built that meet 
both the standards and the goals. For example, the antiterrorism 
mandatory building standard to provide standoff distances around new 
facilities reduces development density and thus conflicts with a 
sustainable design goal to increase development density. Similarly, a 
sustainable design goal related to greater use of windows to increase 
natural lighting conflicts with the recommended antiterrorism building 
measure related to minimizing hazards from flying glass fragments from 
windows. To help deal with such conflicts, DOD uses a facility 
planning tool that identifies and addresses the potential conflicts 
from integrating required antiterrorism standards with sustainable 
design goals. Military service officials stated that with use of the 
tool and a comprehensive design approach, they were able to develop 
successful building solutions that ensured both secure and high-
performance facilities. The officials also noted that their goal was 
to design and construct all new major military construction facilities 
to meet sustainable standards established by the U.S. Green Building 
Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building 
Rating System, while still meeting the mandatory antiterrorism 
building standards.[Footnote 6] To assess how the services were 
dealing with the conflicts, we followed up with the project planners 
responsible for 90 military construction projects from a non-
probability sample of Army, Navy, and Air Force projects approved 
during fiscal years 2007 through 2009. According to the planners, 80 
(89 percent) of the 90 projects required no special steps or 
workarounds to meet both antiterrorism standards and sustainable 
design goals. For the projects where special steps or workarounds were 
needed, most issues related to required building standoff distances 
and facility windows. The planners also reported that, primarily 
because of the required standoff distances, 18 (20 percent) of the 90 
projects resulted in additional land use, community decentralization, 
or installation development sprawl.[Footnote 7] For example, planners 
of a fiscal year 2008 instruction building at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, 
reported that, because of the antiterrorism standoff distance 
standards, the building site was approximately 50 percent larger than 
required if there were no standoff requirements. According to service 
officials, as well as our review of cost estimates from the 90 sample 
projects, incorporating antiterrorism standards in new facilities 
typically adds about 1 to 5 percent to construction costs and 
incorporating sustainable design building features typically adds 
about 2 percent to construction costs. Service officials noted that 
achieving higher levels of sustainability while still meeting the 
antiterrorism standards would increase initial facility costs and 
create additional design challenges. 

In oral comments on a draft of this report, DOD generally agreed with 
our recommendations and stated that it had already begun steps to 
implement them. We discuss DOD's comments in detail later in this 
report. 

Background: 

The Army has been faced with a significant challenge to meet the 
facility needs associated with several recent initiatives, such as the 
transformation of the Army's force structure, the permanent relocation 
of thousands of overseas military personnel back to the United States, 
the implementation of Base Realignment and Closure actions, and the 
planned increase in the Army's active-duty end strength. As shown in 
figure 1, the Army estimated that taken together these initiatives 
resulted in a threefold increase in the Army's military construction 
program with appropriated funds increasing from about $3.4 billion in 
fiscal year 2005 to a peak of about $10.7 billion in fiscal year 2009 
before beginning to decline in fiscal year 2010. 

Figure 1: Army Military Construction Program by Type of Funding 
between Fiscal Years 2005 and 2010 (Dollars in billions): 

[Refer to PDF for image: stacked multiple line graph] 

Fiscal year 2005: 
Military Construction Army: $1.777; 
Base Realignment and Closure: $0; 
Army National Guard: $0.394; 
Army Reserve: $0.076; 
Army Family Housing: $0.36; 
Supplemental Funding: $0.776. 

Fiscal year 2006: 
Military Construction Army: $1.546; 
Base Realignment and Closure: $0.803; 
Army National Guard: $1.033; 
Army Reserve: $0.132; 
Army Family Housing: $0.351; 
Supplemental Funding: $0.177. 

Fiscal year 2007: 
Military Construction Army: $1.737; 
Base Realignment and Closure: $2.819; 
Army National Guard: $0.392; 
Army Reserve: $0.144; 
Army Family Housing: $0.417; 
Supplemental Funding: $0.93. 

Fiscal year 2008: 
Military Construction Army: $3.507; 
Base Realignment and Closure: $2.55; 
Army National Guard: $0.47; 
Army Reserve: $0.134; 
Army Family Housing: $0.057; 
Supplemental Funding: $1.029. 

Fiscal year 2009: 
Military Construction Army: $4.488; 
Base Realignment and Closure: $3.618; 
Army National Guard: $0.803; 
Army Reserve: $0.265; 
Army Family Housing: $0.246; 
Supplemental Funding: $1.258. 

Fiscal year 2010: 
Military Construction Army: $3.46; 
Base Realignment and Closure: $2.427; 
Army National Guard: $0.392; 
Army Reserve: $0.375; 
Army Family Housing: $0.05; 
Supplemental Funding: $0.828. 

Source: GAO analysis of appropriated funding data provided by the Army. 

Note: Figure does not include $264 million of American Reinvestment 
and Recovery Act funds appropriated for Army and Army National Guard 
military construction and Army family housing construction in fiscal 
year 2009. 

[End of figure] 

The Army Adopted Changes to Its Military Facility Acquisition and 
Construction Practices: 

To meet the challenges associated with the large increase in its 
military construction program and ensure that required new facilities 
would be completed in time to meet planned movements of organizations 
and personnel, the Army concluded that it could not continue to rely 
on its traditional military facility acquisition and construction 
practices. The Army's solution was the adoption of a new strategy in 
2006 that the Army termed military construction transformation. The 
strategy included numerous changes to the Army's traditional practices 
that were designed to reduce facility acquisition costs and 
construction timelines. Included among the changes were the following: 

* The development of clear requirements that need to be met in 43 
different types of Army facilities and the creation of standard 
designs for 24 common facility types, such as headquarters buildings, 
company operations and tactical equipment maintenance facilities, 
barracks, dining facilities, and child care centers. 

* A transition from "design-bid-build" project delivery, where a 
project's design and construction are normally awarded via separate 
contracts, to "design-build" project delivery, where a project's 
design and construction are awarded to a single contractor. By using 
one contractor and overlapping the design and construction phases, the 
design-build approach attempts to reduce project risk and construction 
timelines. 

* The development of a standard solicitation approach for most common-
type facilities that used performance-based criteria focused on what 
the Army needed rather than on detailed, prescriptive criteria that 
focused on how the Army's requirements should be met. Under the 
approach, the Army revealed to potential bidders the available funding 
for the project and tasked project bidders to provide an innovative 
proposal that meets the performance-based criteria while maximizing 
quality, sustainability, and energy conservation. 

Army officials stated that its new standard solicitation approach 
encouraged potential bidders to develop design solutions that 
considered the use of all types of construction materials and methods 
allowed by DOD building guidance. This included the use of wood 
materials and modular building methods in addition to the use of 
steel, concrete, and masonry materials and on-site building methods 
traditionally used by the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force for 
permanent facilities, such as administrative buildings and barracks. 
As a result, under its military construction transformation strategy, 
the Army expanded the use of wood materials and modular building 
methods for some permanent facilities. Appendix II contains further 
details on the various categories of construction materials and 
methods allowed by DOD guidance. 

Because the Army believed that the changes it made to its facility 
acquisition and building practices under its transformation strategy 
would result in lower construction costs and shorter building 
timelines, the Army established goals to reduce its military 
construction costs by 15 percent and facility construction timelines 
by 30 percent beginning in fiscal year 2007. The Army planned to 
implement the cost reduction goal by having project planners reduce 
the estimated cost of planned facilities by 15 percent, requesting 
funding from the Congress for the reduced amount, and then attempting 
to award and complete the project within the approved funding amount. 
Thus, the goal was not directly related to actual facility costs but 
rather to estimated facility costs. While continuing to apply the 
strategy to its military construction program, the Army discontinued 
these numerical goals in fiscal year 2010, stating that most cost and 
timeline reduction benefits from its strategy would have been obtained 
by the end of fiscal year 2009. 

DOD Antiterrorism Construction Standards and Sustainable Design Goals: 

As required by Section 2859 of Title 10, DOD has developed and 
implemented antiterrorism construction standards designed to reduce 
facility vulnerability to terrorist attack and improve the security of 
facility occupants.[Footnote 8] The standards include 22 mandatory 
standards, such as requiring open areas around new facilities to keep 
explosives at a distance from the facilities, and 17 recommended but 
optional measures, such as avoiding exterior hallway configurations 
for inhabited facilities. Appendix III contains further details on the 
standards and measures. 

For decades, the federal government has attempted to improve energy 
efficiency and energy and water conservation at federal facilities. 
Over the past few years, several laws, executive orders, and other 
agreements added new energy efficiency and energy and water 
conservation requirements for federal facilities[Footnote 9]. In 
particular, in January 2006, DOD joined 16 other federal agencies in 
signing a memorandum of understanding that committed the agency to 
leadership in designing, constructing, and operating high-performance 
and sustainable building[Footnote 10]s. The main goals of sustainable 
design are to avoid resource depletion of energy, water, and raw 
materials; prevent environmental degradation caused by facilities and 
infrastructure; and create facilities that are livable, comfortable, 
safe, and productive. 

To help measure the sustainability of new military buildings, DOD uses 
the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and 
Environmental Design Green Building Rating System.[Footnote 11] The 
system defines sustainable features for buildings and includes a set 
of performance standards that can be used to certify the design and 
construction of buildings. The standards are categorized under five 
major topics--sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and 
atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. 
By meeting the standards during facility design and construction, 
builders can earn credits and become certified in accordance with an 
established four-level scale--certified, silver, gold, and platinum. 
For fiscal year 2009, DOD set a goal that at least 70 percent of 
military construction projects would be silver-level certifiable, 
which is the second level on the four-level scale with platinum being 
the highest rating. Appendix IV contains additional details on DOD's 
sustainable design goals. 

Responsibilities for DOD's Military Construction Program: 

The Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations 
and Environment has responsibility for DOD's installations and 
facilities. The office is responsible for establishing policy and 
guidance for DOD's military construction program and monitoring the 
execution of the services' military construction projects. The United 
States Army Corps of Engineers and the Naval Facilities Engineering 
Command have primary responsibility for planning and executing 
military construction projects for the Army and the Navy, 
respectively. Air Force officials stated that the Air Force Center for 
Engineering and the Environment has primary responsibility for 
planning and overseeing the construction of Air Force military 
construction projects, although the Army Corps of Engineers or the 
Naval Facilities Engineering Command normally executes the individual 
projects for the Air Force and DOD guidance provides these 
organizations with a role in design and construction. 

Prior GAO Reports: 

Since 1997, we have identified management of DOD support 
infrastructure as a high-risk area because infrastructure costs have 
affected the department's ability to devote funds to other more 
critical programs and needs. In a January 2009 update to our high-risk 
series, we noted that although DOD has made progress in managing its 
support infrastructure in recent years, a number of challenges remain 
in managing its portfolio of facilities and in reducing unneeded 
infrastructure while providing facilities needed to support several 
simultaneous force structure initiatives.[Footnote 12] Further, we 
noted that because of these issues, DOD's management of support 
infrastructure remains a high-risk area. 

We have issued several reports over the past few years that 
highlighted aspects of DOD's military construction program and 
challenges in managing the program. For example, in a 2003 report, we 
found that opportunities existed to reduce the construction costs of 
government-owned barracks through greater use of residential 
construction practices, which included the use of wood materials. 
However, we also found that questions remained concerning the 
durability of wood-frame barracks and the ability of wood-frame 
barracks to meet all antiterrorism force protection 
requirements.[Footnote 13] We recommended that engineering studies be 
undertaken to resolve these questions. DOD concurred with our 
recommendation and subsequently the Army determined that wood-frame 
barracks could be built in a manner that met all antiterrorism 
construction standards. However, DOD did not undertake studies on the 
durability of wood-frame barracks. In a 2004 report, we found that 
while DOD had taken a number of steps to enhance the management of the 
military construction program, opportunities existed for further 
improvements. Among other things, we recommended that DOD complete 
management tools for standardizing military construction practices and 
costs. DOD agreed and subsequently took steps to provide a more 
consistent approach to managing facilities and planning construction 
projects and costs.[Footnote 14] Further, in a September 2007 report, 
we discussed the complex implementation challenges faced by the Army 
to meet the infrastructure needs associated with the growth of 
personnel assigned to many installations as a result of base 
realignment and closure, overseas force rebasing, and force modularity 
actions.[Footnote 15] Also, in October 2009, we issued a report that 
discussed agencies' progress toward implementing sustainable design 
and high-performance federal building requirements found in the Energy 
Independence and Security Act of 2007.[Footnote 16] This report also 
addressed the key challenges agencies may encounter when implementing 
federal building requirements for reducing energy use and managing 
storm water runoff. Further, in a January 2009 testimony before the 
House of Representatives' Committee on Transportation and 
Infrastructure, we noted that investment in infrastructure could 
reduce energy and operations and maintenance costs and address 
important energy and water conservation measures as well as other 
measures outlined within the Energy Independence and Security act of 
2007.[Footnote 17] A list of these reports can be found at the end of 
this report in the Related GAO Products section. 

The Army Did Not Measure the Achievement of Goals to Reduce Military 
Construction Costs and Timelines: 

Because the Army did not measure the achievement of its goals to 
reduce military construction costs and timelines, the Army did not 
know to what extent the goals were met nor whether its military 
construction transformation strategy resulted in actual reductions in 
facility costs. Our review of selected project information showed that 
the Army did reduce the estimated cost of some facility construction 
projects and shortened building timelines during fiscal years 2007 
through 2009, but it did not meet its overall stated goals. We also 
found that the Army did not consistently apply the cost reduction goal 
to all facility projects during fiscal years 2007 through 2009. 
Although the Army discontinued these numerical goals in 2010, Army 
officials believed its efforts to transform its military construction 
acquisition and building practices were successful in dampening the 
escalation of Army facilities' costs and would continue to help ensure 
cost-effective and timely facilities in future years. 

The Army Set Goals to Reduce Construction Costs and Timelines but Did 
Not Monitor Its Level of Achievement: 

When the Army set goals to reduce construction costs and building 
timelines, it did not establish a framework for monitoring the 
achievement of these goals. Effective management practices call not 
only for setting program goals but also for monitoring goal 
achievement so that results can be measured and adjustments can be 
made to programs, if needed, to better achieve the goals. According to 
internal control standards for federal agencies, activities need to be 
established to monitor performance measures and indicators and 
managers need to compare actual performance to planned or expected 
results so that analyses of the relationships can be made and 
appropriate actions taken.[Footnote 18] During our review, senior Army 
headquarters officials acknowledged that a framework to measure goal 
achievement should have been established when the cost and timeline 
goals were instituted. The officials also stated that the only 
explanation for not monitoring the goals was that they were so 
involved in implementing the many changes adopted under the Army's 
military construction transformation strategy that no one took the 
time to monitor and track the results being achieved from the changes. 

The Army Did Not Subject All Facility Projects to the Cost Goal: 

During our review, we found that the Army did not subject all Army 
facility projects to its 15 percent cost reduction goal. According to 
Army officials, the Army planned to implement the cost goal by having 
project planners reduce the estimated cost of planned facilities by 15 
percent, requesting funding from the Congress for the reduced amount, 
and then attempting to award and complete the project within the 
approved funding amount.[Footnote 19] Thus, the cost goal was not 
directly related to actual facility costs but rather to estimated 
facility costs. However, all facility projects were not subjected to 
the reduction in estimated costs, as the following examples illustrate: 

* For fiscal year 2007, Army officials stated that the 15 percent cost 
goal only applied to military construction facility projects that were 
budgeted for under the base realignment and closure program. 
Reductions were not required in the estimated costs of facility 
projects budgeted under the Army's regular military construction 
program. According to Army officials, reduced funding was not 
requested for the regular military construction program projects 
because the project estimates for the regular program were already 
complete before the reduction goal was announced, and the Army did not 
have sufficient time to recalculate the project estimates at the 
reduced amount before the budget request had to be submitted. 

* For fiscal year 2008, Army officials stated that all Army facility 
cost estimates were subject to the 15 percent cost reduction goal, 
regardless of the funding source or type of facility. However, while 
all fiscal year 2008 projects were subject to the goal, Army officials 
stated that the 15 percent cost reduction in estimated costs was 
mandatory only for brigade, battalion, and company headquarters 
buildings, barracks, and dining facilities. For other types of 
facilities, if project planners believed that a 15 percent cost 
reduction could not be achieved when construction bids were ultimately 
solicited, the planners could submit a justification stating the 
reasons that a reduction was not made to the facility's estimated cost. 

* For fiscal year 2009, Army officials stated that the 15 percent 
reduction goal was applied only to five specific types of facilities--
brigade, battalion, and company headquarters buildings, barracks, and 
dining facilities. Cost estimates for all other types of facilities 
were not subjected to the goal. According to Army officials, general 
cost increases in the construction industry indicated that a 15 
percent cost reduction could not be achieved for most fiscal year 2009 
facilities. However, because of the changes incorporated under the 
Army's military construction transformation strategy, the officials 
believed that reductions could be achieved for the five specified 
facility types. 

The Army Achieved Some Reductions in Estimated Costs but Did Not Meet 
Its Overall Goal: 

Because the Army had not monitored and thus did not know to what 
extent it had met its cost goal, we performed an analysis and found 
that, while the Army reduced the estimated cost and met its goal on 
some facility projects, it did not meet the goal on other projects. 
Specifically, we reviewed the construction cost estimates for a non-
probability sample of 75 facility projects that were in the categories 
subject to the goal to determine whether a 15 percent reduction was 
taken in the estimated cost of the facilities, as reported in each 
facility's project justification. The 75 facilities included 15 fiscal 
year 2007 facilities funded under the base realignment and closure 
program, 30 projects from fiscal year 2008, and 30 projects from 
fiscal year 2009 for the five facility types subject to the goal. As 
shown in table 1, we found that the Army met its goal in 31 of the 
facilities (41 percent) and did not meet its goal in 44 of the 
facilities (59 percent). However, some reduction, but less than 15 
percent, was made in the estimated cost of 24 of the 44 facilities 
that did not meet the goal. Although the Army had information on the 
actual costs of completed military construction projects, the Army did 
not routinely document the actual costs of the individual facilities 
included in the projects. For this reason, we could not determine 
whether any of these facilities resulted in actual savings compared to 
cost estimates based on DOD cost estimating guidance. 

Table 1: Achievement of the Army's Cost Goal in Selected Projects: 

Fiscal year: 2007; 
Number of facilities reviewed: 15; 
Facilities that met goal: Number: 7; 
Facilities that met goal: Percent: 47; 
Facilities that did not meet goal: Number: 8; 
Facilities that did not meet goal: Percent: 53. 

Fiscal year: 2008; 
Number of facilities reviewed: 30; 
Facilities that met goal: Number: 10; 
Facilities that met goal: Percent: 33; 
Facilities that did not meet goal: Number: 20; 
Facilities that did not meet goal: Percent: 67. 

Fiscal year: 2009; 
Number of facilities reviewed: 30; 
Facilities that met goal: Number: 14; 
Facilities that met goal: Percent: 47; 
Facilities that did not meet goal: Number: 16; 
Facilities that did not meet goal: Percent: 53. 

Fiscal year: Total; 
Number of facilities reviewed: 75; 
Facilities that met goal: Number: 31; 
Facilities that met goal: Percent: 41; 
Facilities that did not meet goal: Number: 44; 
Facilities that did not meet goal: Percent: 59. 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD project justification data. 

[End of table] 

The following examples illustrate the achievement of the Army's cost 
goal in selected projects we reviewed: 

* A fiscal year 2008 Army military construction project at Schofield 
Barracks, Hawaii, included a barracks. According to DOD military 
construction cost estimating guidance for that year, the project 
planners should have estimated $24.7 million for the cost of this 
barracks. However, according to the project's justification, the 
barracks' estimated cost was $20.9 million, which was the amount 
requested for funding. Because the barracks' estimated cost was about 
$3.8 million, or about 15 percent, less than the amount based on DOD 
guidance, the Army achieved its goal in this case. 

* A fiscal year 2009 Army military construction project at Fort Lee, 
Virginia, included a dining facility. According to DOD military 
construction cost estimating guidance for that year, the project 
planners should have estimated $5.8 million for the cost of this 
facility. However, according to the project's justification, the 
dining facility's estimated cost was $5.4 million, which was the 
amount requested for funding. In this case, the facility's estimated 
cost was $400,000 (7 percent) less than the amount based on DOD 
guidance. Thus, the Army achieved some reduction in the estimated cost 
of this facility but did not meet the 15 percent goal. 

* A fiscal year 2009 Army military construction project at Fort 
Stewart, Georgia, included a barracks. According to DOD military 
construction cost estimating guidance for that year, the project 
planners should have estimated $82.0 million for the cost for this 
facility. However, according to the project's justification, the 
barracks' estimated cost was $86.4 million, which was the amount 
requested for funding. In this case, the barracks estimated cost was 
about $4.4 million (5 percent) greater than the amount based on DOD 
guidance. Thus, the Army did not meet the 15 percent goal and actually 
requested more funding than it would have requested based on DOD 
guidance. 

Army officials stated that the cost goal was not met in some projects 
because the projects' planners believed that a 15 percent cost 
reduction could not realistically be achieved when bids for the 
project were solicited because of local construction market 
conditions. In addition, the officials stated that, although the 15 
percent goal might not have been achieved for all projects, they 
believed that the Army's efforts to transform its military 
construction acquisition and building practices were successful in 
dampening the escalation of Army facility costs. 

The Army Shortened Some Building Timelines but Did Not Meet Its 
Overall Goal: 

Because the Army had not monitored and thus did not know to what 
extent it had met its 30 percent building timeline reduction goal, we 
performed an analysis to assess goal accomplishment and found that, 
while the Army shortened some building timelines, the overall goal was 
not achieved. Specifically, our analysis compared the actual average 
lapsed time between key building milestones for all completed projects 
approved during fiscal years 2007 through 2009 with the average lapsed 
times for the same milestones for completed projects approved in 
fiscal years 2004 through 2006--the 3 years before the implementation 
of the Army's military construction transformation strategy. To 
illustrate, one key Army building timeline measure is the lapsed time 
between the date that a project's design begins and the date that the 
project is ready for occupancy. As shown in table 2, we found that the 
Army's average lapsed time for this timeline measure was reduced by 
about 11 percent during fiscal years 2007 through 2009--an 
improvement, but less than the Army's 30 percent goal. 

Table 2: Change in Average Army Building Timelines--Design Start to 
Ready for Occupancy: 

Project cost: Less than $5 million; 
Fiscal years 2004 to 2006 before the reduction goal: Number of 
projects: 65; 
Fiscal years 2004 to 2006 before the reduction goal: Average lapsed 
days: 1,073; 
Fiscal years 2007 to 2009 after the reduction goal: Number of 
projects: 11; 
Fiscal years 2007 to 2009 after the reduction goal: Average lapsed 
days: 975; 
Change in average lapsed days: Number of days: -98; 
Change in average lapsed days: Percent: -9. 

Project cost: $5 million to $20 million; 
Fiscal years 2004 to 2006 before the reduction goal: Number of 
projects: 80; 
Fiscal years 2004 to 2006 before the reduction goal: Average lapsed 
days: 1,207; 
Fiscal years 2007 to 2009 after the reduction goal: Number of 
projects: 100; 
Fiscal years 2007 to 2009 after the reduction goal: Average lapsed 
days: 1,095; 
Change in average lapsed days: Number of days: -112; 
Change in average lapsed days: Percent: -9. 

Project cost: More than $20 million; 
Fiscal years 2004 to 2006 before the reduction goal: Number of 
projects: 81; 
Fiscal years 2004 to 2006 before the reduction goal: Average lapsed 
days: 1,649; 
Fiscal years 2007 to 2009 after the reduction goal: Number of 
projects: 194; 
Fiscal years 2007 to 2009 after the reduction goal: Average lapsed 
days: 1,229; 
Change in average lapsed days: Number of days: -420; 
Change in average lapsed days: Percent: -25. 

Project cost: All projects; 
Fiscal years 2004 to 2006 before the reduction goal: Number of 
projects: 226; 
Fiscal years 2004 to 2006 before the reduction goal: Average lapsed 
days: 1,327; 
Fiscal years 2007 to 2009 after the reduction goal: Number of 
projects: 305; 
Fiscal years 2007 to 2009 after the reduction goal: Average lapsed 
days: 1,176; 
Change in average lapsed days: Number of days: -151; 
Change in average lapsed days: Percent: -11. 

Source: GAO analysis of Army project data. 

[End of table] 

Another key Army building timeline measure is the lapsed time between 
the date that the Army notifies the building contractor to begin 
construction and the date that the project is ready for occupancy. As 
shown in table 3, we found that the Army's average lapsed time for 
this timeline measure was reduced by about 5 percent during fiscal 
years 2007 through 2009--also an improvement, but also less than the 
Army's 30 percent goal. 

Table 3: Change in Average Army Building Timelines--Construction Start 
to Ready for Occupancy: 

Project cost: Less than $5 million; 
Fiscal years 2004 to 2006 before the reduction goal: Number of 
projects: 74; 
Fiscal years 2004 to 2006 before the reduction goal: Average lapsed 
days: 485; 
Fiscal years 2007 to 2009 after the reduction goal: Number of 
projects: 13; 
Fiscal years 2007 to 2009 after the reduction goal: Average lapsed 
days: 526; 
Change in average lapsed days: Number of days: 41; 
Change in average lapsed days: Percent: 8. 

Project cost: $5 million to $20 million; 
Fiscal years 2004 to 2006 before the reduction goal: Number of 
projects: 96; 
Fiscal years 2004 to 2006 before the reduction goal: Average lapsed 
days: 662; 
Fiscal years 2007 to 2009 after the reduction goal: Number of 
projects: 105; 
Fiscal years 2007 to 2009 after the reduction goal: Average lapsed 
days: 557; 
Change in average lapsed days: Number of days: -105; 
Change in average lapsed days: Percent: -16. 

Project cost: More than $20 million; 
Fiscal years 2004 to 2006 before the reduction goal: Number of 
projects: 89; 
Fiscal years 2004 to 2006 before the reduction goal: Average lapsed 
days: 858; 
Fiscal years 2007 to 2009 after the reduction goal: Number of 
projects: 203; 
Fiscal years 2007 to 2009 after the reduction goal: Average lapsed 
days: 700; 
Change in average lapsed days: Number of days: -158; 
Change in average lapsed days: Percent: -18. 

Project cost: All projects; 
Fiscal years 2004 to 2006 before the reduction goal: Number of 
projects: 259; 
Fiscal years 2004 to 2006 before the reduction goal: Average lapsed 
days: 679; 
Fiscal years 2007 to 2009 after the reduction goal: Number of 
projects: 321; 
Fiscal years 2007 to 2009 after the reduction goal: Average lapsed 
days: 646; 
Change in average lapsed days: Number of days: -33; 
Change in average lapsed days: Percent: -5. 

Source: GAO analysis of Army project data. 

[End of table] 

Army officials stated that they were pleased that average building 
timelines had been reduced even if the 30 percent goal was not 
achieved. 

The Army Discontinued Its Construction Cost and Timeline Reduction 
Goals in Fiscal Year 2010: 

During our review, Army officials stated that the Army decided to 
discontinue its construction cost and timeline reduction goals 
beginning in fiscal year 2010. The officials stated that, although the 
Army did not know to what extent cost and timeline reductions had been 
achieved, they believed that most of the cost and timeline reduction 
benefits from the Army's military construction transformation strategy 
had been obtained by the end of fiscal year 2009. The officials also 
stated that, although the specific cost and timeline goals were 
discontinued, the numerous changes made to the Army's facility 
acquisition and construction processes under the military construction 
transformation strategy would help ensure the continued delivery of 
cost-effective and timely facilities in the future. 

Questions Remain about Whether the Use of Alternative Building 
Materials and Methods Will Yield Long-term Savings: 

DOD guidance allows the use of various building materials and methods 
and the Army appears to have achieved some savings in initial 
construction costs by expanding the use of wood materials and modular 
construction methods for some permanent facilities. However, DOD has 
not determined whether the use of these materials and methods also 
will result in savings over the long term compared to the traditional 
use of steel, concrete, and masonry materials and on-site building 
methods. 

DOD Guidance Permits the Use of Various Building Materials and Methods: 

Over the past several years, DOD has taken several steps to bring 
uniformity among the military services in the criteria, standards, and 
codes used to design and construct military facilities. This has 
included the development of DOD's unified facilities criteria and 
unified facilities guide specification system of guidance for the 
design, construction, sustainment, restoration, and modernization of 
all DOD facilities.[Footnote 20] For example, in 2007, DOD issued 
guidance--the Unified Facilities Criteria 1-200-01, "General Building 
Requirements"--which applies to the design and construction of all new 
and renovated facilities throughout DOD. The guidance states that the 
2006 International Building Code, with some modifications and 
exceptions, is the building code for DOD. Among other things, the 
International Building Code defines several allowable types of 
construction based, in part, on the materials used in the construction 
and the materials' potential to be a fuel source in case of a fire. 
For example, type I and type II construction use materials such as 
steel, concrete, and masonry that, in accordance with applicable 
testing standards, are classified as noncombustible. Type V 
construction allows the use of various materials, including 
combustible materials, and typically includes facilities built with 
wood framing. Although the code allows the use of many construction 
materials, the military services have traditionally used types I and 
II construction consisting of steel, concrete, and masonry when 
building permanent common facilities, such as administrative 
buildings, barracks, and dining facilities. Appendix II contains 
further details on DOD's building materials and methods, including 
descriptions of types III and IV construction. 

Substantial Quantitative Information Is Lacking on the Relative Merits 
from the Use of Alternative Construction Materials and Methods: 

During our review, we identified little quantitative information that 
compared the relative merits and economic impacts from the use of wood 
materials and modular construction methods with steel, concrete and 
masonry materials and on-site construction methods. The Army's 
decision to expand its consideration and use wood materials and 
modular construction for some permanent facilities was primarily based 
on the Army's desire to reduce military construction costs and 
building timelines in view of the significant increase in the Army's 
construction requirements beginning in fiscal year 2006. According to 
Army officials, the Army believed that the increased use of wood 
framing and modular construction would reduce initial construction 
costs and building timelines for new facilities, result in facilities 
that met the Army's needs, and also result in lower facility life-
cycle costs. However, the Army did not have substantial quantitative 
information or analyses to support its view on lower life-cycle costs. 
For example, according to Army officials, the Army had performed only 
two analyses that compared the life-cycle costs of permanent 
facilities built with alternative construction materials and building 
methods. One analysis compared the life-cycle cost of a barracks built 
with wood materials with the life-cycle costs of a similar barracks 
built with steel, concrete, and masonry. Although this analysis 
estimated that the barracks constructed with wood would have lower 
life-cycle costs, the analysis was not based on actual costs. Instead, 
the analysis used cost estimates which might or might not provide a 
reliable prediction of actual costs over the long term. In addition, 
our review of the analysis found other flaws and data errors, such as 
understating the square footage of one of the projects by 39 percent, 
which affected the outcome of the analysis and cast further doubt on 
the reliability of the analysis. The other Army analysis assessed life-
cycle costs for several types of construction materials and methods. 
However, it also was not based on actual costs but rather on estimates 
obtained in planning documents. 

The Navy and the Air Force generally disagreed with the Army's views 
on the benefits from expanded use of wood materials and modular 
building methods. Senior officials with the Naval Facilities 
Engineering Command and the Air Force Center for Engineering and the 
Environment stated that they believed that use of wood materials and 
modular methods instead of steel, concrete, and masonry would result 
in facilities with shorter service lives and higher, not lower, life-
cycle costs. To illustrate, the officials noted that features 
sometimes used in wood-frame construction could result in higher 
maintenance costs. For example, a wood-frame building finished with a 
shingle roof might have higher maintenance costs over the long term 
compared to a building finished with a steel roof because the shingles 
would have to be replaced periodically over the life of the building. 
While their views differed with the Army, Navy and Air Force officials 
stated that they had little quantitative support for their views and 
had performed no analyses that compared the long-term costs of 
facilities built with wood materials versus steel, concrete, and 
masonry materials. 

During our visits to private organizations that represented the 
interests of wood, modular building, and concrete and masonry 
industries, we found various views and opinions on the long-term 
merits and economic benefits from the use of alternative construction 
materials and building methods. However, we did not find documented 
analyses comparing the actual life-cycle costs of facilities 
constructed with alternative materials and methods. 

Wood-Frame Construction Can Result in Lower Initial Construction Costs: 

To gain some insight into the economic merits of the Army's increased 
use of wood materials and modular construction, we reviewed available 
information related to initial facility construction costs depending 
on the materials and methods used to construct new buildings. We found 
evidence that the use of wood-frame construction can result in lower 
initial building costs. For example, we found that the Army apparently 
had achieved construction cost savings by using wood-frame 
construction in several barracks projects that were initially designed 
to be built with steel, concrete, and masonry. To illustrate, 
according to Army officials, a fiscal year 2006 project at Fort Carson 
to construct a barracks and company operations facility was estimated 
to cost about $35 million based on actual contract bids and the use of 
steel, concrete, and masonry construction. After switching the 
barracks' design to wood-frame construction and resoliciting the 
project, the officials stated that the project was subsequently 
awarded for about $24 million, a savings of about $11 million, or 31 
percent in estimated costs (see figure 2). 

Figure 2: Wood-Frame Barracks at Fort Carson, Colorado: 

[Refer to PDF for image: 2 photographs] 

Source: GAO. 

Note: Photograph on left shows exterior of the barracks and the 
photograph on right shows an interior corridor. 

[End of figure] 

Similarly, a fiscal year 2001 barracks project at Fort Meade, 
Maryland, called for the construction of eight three-story barracks 
buildings with a total of 576 private sleeping rooms. On the basis of 
the project's initial design using steel, concrete, and masonry, the 
Army estimated that the project would cost about $48 million, which 
was more than the amount approved for the project. In an effort to 
reduce the cost, the project was redesigned to specify the use of wood 
materials and residential construction practices. Subsequently, the 
project was constructed at a cost of about $39 million, or about $9 
million (19 percent) less than the original estimated cost (see figure 
3). 

Figure 3: Wood-Frame Barracks at Fort Meade, Maryland: 

[Refer to PDF for image 2 photographs] 

Source: GAO. 

Note: Photograph on left shows the project under construction using 
wood materials in 2003 and the photograph on right shows a portion of 
the completed project. 

[End of figure] 

Sources outside of DOD also have noted that the use of wood-frame 
construction can result in lower initial building costs. For example, 
an August 2009 building valuation guide published by the International 
Code Council reported that the use of residential building methods, 
including wood-frame construction, for several types of facilities 
resulted in a 19 percent to 25 percent construction cost savings 
compared to the use of commercial construction methods, including the 
use of steel, concrete, and masonry materials.[Footnote 21] Also, a 
2005 study collected information from cities across the United States 
to develop a construction cost model to accurately evaluate the 
relative construction costs of a multifamily building constructed 
using five different construction materials. Information collected 
during the study showed that the use of wood-frame construction could 
result in an average 6 percent to 7 percent construction cost savings 
compared to the use of masonry construction.[Footnote 22] 

Some Information Suggests That the Use of Wood Building Materials 
Might Result in Lower Long-term Costs: 

Although we found little quantitative information on the long-term 
economic merits from the use of alternative building materials and 
methods, we found some evidence suggesting that the long-term costs of 
facilities built with wood-frame materials might result in lower or 
equal long-term costs compared to similar facilities built with steel, 
concrete, and masonry materials. For example, we reviewed the annual 
maintenance costs associated with two wood-frame barracks projects 
constructed in 2003 and 2006 at Fort Meade and Fort Detrick, Maryland, 
respectively. These facilities are the Army's initial two modern, 
permanent barracks constructed with wood frame. During fiscal years 
2007 and 2008, the annual maintenance costs of the wood-frame barracks 
on a square-foot basis was significantly less than the annual 
maintenance costs of other barracks at each installation constructed 
with steel, concrete, and masonry methods. However, the wood-frame 
barracks were newer by several years compared to the concrete and 
masonry barracks, which could account for the difference in 
maintenance costs. Still, local officials responsible for barracks 
maintenance at each installation stated that based on experience to 
date they believed that even in the long term the annual maintenance 
costs of the wood-frame barracks would be no greater than the annual 
maintenance costs of the installations' concrete and masonry barracks. 

As another illustration, we visited two privatized housing projects 
for unmarried servicemembers where service officials stated that 
private developers were responsible for constructing, owning, 
operating, and maintaining the housing for 50 years in one case and 46 
years in the other. During each visit, the developers stated that wood-
frame construction was being used because the developers believed 
that, based on their internal long-term cost analyses, this type of 
construction would result in the most economical project over the long 
term. For example, the Navy partnered with a developer to build a 
pilot privatized housing project for unaccompanied personnel in the 
Norfolk, Virginia, area. The project includes the construction of 755 
rooms in a six-story midrise building and 435 rooms in 87 separate 
housing units. The developer stated that the midrise building used 
noncombustible materials, such as concrete, and the 87 separate 
housing units used wood-frame materials.[Footnote 23] The developer 
stated that the type of construction used for each type of building 
was based on the most cost-effective type of construction, considering 
life-cycle costs, to provide the lowest total cost over a 50-year 
period. Further, the developer also stated that, because the exterior 
surfaces and interior finishes for both the midrise building and 
separate housing units were very similar, no difference in operation 
and maintenance costs was anticipated with regard to the different 
types of construction (see figure 4). 

Figure 4: Privatized Unaccompanied Personnel Housing Project in 
Norfolk, Virginia: 

[Refer to PDF for image 2 photographs] 

Source: GAO. 

Note: Photograph on the left shows a midrise building being 
constructed with noncombustible materials and the photograph on right 
shows a separate housing unit built with wood-frame construction. 

[End of figure] 

In the other project visited, the Army had partnered with a developer 
to build, own, and operate a privatized housing project for senior 
unmarried servicemembers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, for 46 years. 
The project includes 13 apartment-style buildings with a mix of 312 
one-and two-bedroom apartments. The developer stated that wood-frame 
construction was used in the project because, compared to the use of 
noncombustible materials and building methods, wood-frame construction 
resulted in lower initial construction costs and, based on the 
developer's long-term analyses, was expected to also result in lower 
life-cycle costs (see figure 5). 

Figure 5: Privatized Senior Unaccompanied Personnel Housing Project at 
Fort Bragg, North Carolina: 

[Refer to PDF for image: 2 photographs] 

Source: GAO. 

Note: The photographs show exterior and interior views of the housing 
built with wood-frame construction. 

[End of figure] 

Questions Remain about the Service Life and Durability of Facilities 
Constructed with Wood Materials and Modular Methods: 

Determining the relative merits and economic impacts of alternative 
building materials and methods over the long term requires the 
consideration of possible differences in facility service life and 
durability resulting from the use of different building materials and 
methods. Although we found no DOD studies or definitive analyses 
assessing possible service life and durability differences and any 
associated impact on life-cycle costs, we discussed opinions on the 
issue with service headquarters officials and local officials at five 
Army installations we visited. 

Army, Navy, and Air Force headquarters officials expressed the opinion 
that steel, concrete, and masonry facilities generally had longer 
service lives and were more durable than wood-frame facilities. 
However, we found that the services had different opinions on the 
importance of durability. For example, although Army officials agreed 
with the opinion of Navy and Air Force officials that the use of 
steel, concrete, and masonry generally resulted in more durable 
facilities, the Army's opinion differed from the other services' 
opinions on whether greater durability also meant that such facilities 
were more desirable. Army officials stated that because missions, 
requirements, and standards change over time, facilities constructed 
today will be outdated in 20 to 25 years and will require major 
renovation or possibly conversion to other uses to meet needs in the 
far outyears. Thus, Army officials stated that considering facility 
use beyond 25 years is not productive and facilities built with wood-
frame materials and modular building methods will meet the Army's 
needs even if they do not last as long as facilities constructed with 
steel, concrete, and masonry. 

Officials at the Army installations we visited had various opinions on 
the expected service life and durability of facilities constructed 
with wood materials and modular building methods. Officials at Fort 
Meade and Fort Detrick, for example, stated that they were satisfied 
with the durability of wood-frame barracks constructed on-site at 
their installations and would not seek to use steel, concrete, and 
masonry even if they had the opportunity to rebuild the facilities. 

With respect to wood modular construction, we found the following 
concerns expressed by officials at Fort Bliss and Fort Carson: 

* Fort Bliss officials noted that because modular units were 
constructed off-site and then transported in some cases over 1,000 
miles to the installation for assembly, the vibrations experienced 
during transportation might affect the units' structures and result in 
durability issues. The modular industry, however, contends that 
modular units are constructed to withstand such transportation 
stresses. 

* Fort Carson officials expressed concern that temperature changes 
would cause the expansion and contraction of the joints where modular 
units were joined, which might adversely affect durability in the long 
term. 

* Fort Bliss and Fort Carson officials expressed concerns that 
settling of the different sections of modular facilities might show 
stress where they join together, resulting in additional maintenance 
requirements in the long term. 

* Officials at Fort Bliss and Fort Carson also said that reconfiguring 
modular-built facilities for other uses, if needed in the future, 
might be more difficult compared to wood-frame facilities built on-
site, and thus result in a shorter facility service life. 

Figure 6 shows a Fort Bliss barracks under construction using modular 
building methods. 

Figure 6: Use of Modular Construction to Build a Barracks at Fort 
Bliss, Texas: 

[Refer to PDF for image: 6 photographs] 

Source: GAO. 

Note: Photographs beginning with top left: modular-constructed units 
on transportation trailer, moving units from trailers, barracks 
foundation ready for unit placement, assembled units before exterior 
finishing, exterior of nearly completed barracks, interior hallway of 
completed barracks. 

[End of figure] 

Fort Bliss officials added that, although they had some concerns about 
the durability of modular construction, the use of modular 
construction methods resulted in faster building timelines compared to 
steel, concrete, and masonry construction, which would help ensure the 
timely completion of facilities needed to accommodate the large number 
of soldiers reporting to the installation over the next few years. 

Although officials at some installations we visited expressed concerns 
over the durability of facilities built with modular building methods, 
other sources have reported information that supports the durability 
of modular facilities. For example, after Hurricane Andrew hit Florida 
in 1992, a team from the Federal Emergency Management Agency conducted 
a study of various building types and how well they weathered the 
storm. On the basis of its observations, the team concluded that, in 
general, both masonry buildings and wood-framed modular buildings 
performed relatively well.[Footnote 24] 

Conflicts Exist between Antiterrorism Building Standards and 
Sustainable Goals, but the Services Consider the Conflicts to Be 
Manageable: 

Although there are areas of conflict when designing facilities that 
meet both antiterrorism construction standards and sustainable design 
goals, military service officials stated that the conflicts are 
considered to be manageable and not a significant obstacle to the 
design and construction of new facilities. Service officials noted, 
however, that achieving higher levels of sustainability in future 
construction projects while still meeting the antiterrorism standards 
would further increase initial facility costs and create additional 
design challenges. 

DOD Has Recognized and Routinely Manages the Conflicts between 
Antiterrorism Building Standards and Sustainable Design Goals: 

DOD has recognized that areas of conflict exist between DOD's 
antiterrorism building standards and sustainable design goals and has 
developed approaches to help deal with the conflicts. To illustrate, 
military service officials noted that the antiterrorism mandatory 
building standard to provide standoff distances around new facilities 
to keep potential explosives at a distance reduces development density 
and conflicts with a sustainable design goal to increase development 
density. Similarly, some officials stated that sustainable design 
goals related to greater use of windows to increase natural lighting 
conflicts with the recommended antiterrorism building measure related 
to minimizing hazards from flying glass fragments from windows. 

To help deal with such conflicts, a facility planning tool was 
developed that identifies and addresses the potential conflicts from 
integrating required antiterrorism standards with sustainable design 
goals. The tool uses a color-coded matrix to identify the relationship 
between the antiterrorism standards and sustainable design goals. 
Conflicting or possibly conflicting relationships are coded red and 
yellow, respectively, and the tool provides additional information to 
aid project designers in dealing with these areas. 

The services do not consider the conflicts between antiterrorism 
building standards and sustainable goals to be a significant obstacle 
when designing and building new military facilities. Service officials 
stated that with use of the facility planning tool and a comprehensive 
design approach, project designers are able to develop successful 
building solutions that ensure both secure and high-performance 
facilities. In particular, officials in each military service stated 
that the services had set a goal that beginning in fiscal year 2009 
all new major military construction buildings would be designed and 
constructed to be silver-level certifiable under the U.S. Green 
Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green 
Building Rating System. This 100 percent goal was higher than the DOD-
wide goal for fiscal year 2009, which called for 70 percent of new 
buildings to be silver-level certifiable.[Footnote 25] Further, 
service officials stated that in some cases military buildings have 
been constructed that met the rating system's next higher sustainable 
design level--the gold level--while still complying with all 
antiterrorism standards. However, service officials also noted that 
achieving higher levels of sustainability while still meeting all 
antiterrorism standards increases initial facility costs and creates 
additional design challenges. 

To obtain additional details on how the services were dealing with the 
conflicts between the standards and the goals, we followed up with the 
project planners responsible for 90 military construction projects 
from a non-probability sample of Army, Navy, and Air Force projects 
approved during fiscal years 2007 through 2009. According to the 
planners, 80 of the 90 projects (89 percent) required no special steps 
or workarounds to meet both antiterrorism standards and sustainable 
design goals. For the projects where special steps or workarounds were 
needed, most issues related to facility windows and the required 
building standoff distances. For example, the planners of a fiscal 
year 2007 child development center at Fort Lewis, Washington, reported 
that special steps or workarounds were needed to simultaneously meet 
antiterrorism standards and sustainable goals. According to the 
planners, both the child care program and sustainable design goals 
encouraged large window areas on the exterior of the building for 
daylighting and child-height window views on both the building's 
exterior and interior. However, the antiterrorism standards and 
recommendations encourage reduced window sizes with specific window 
glazing techniques to minimize hazards from flying glass fragments and 
the use of reflective glazing to prevent views of a building's 
interior. The planners stated that an acceptable design solution was 
developed, but the result significantly increased the cost of the 
facility's windows. 

Although the project planners stated that 80 of the 90 projects in our 
sample required no special steps or workarounds to meet both 
antiterrorism standards and sustainable design goals, the planners 
also reported that in some cases meeting both the standards and goals 
resulted in additional land use, community decentralization, or 
installation development sprawl.[Footnote 26] Specifically, project 
planners reported that, primarily because of the required standoff 
distances around new facilities, 18 (20 percent) of the 90 projects we 
reviewed resulted in additional land use, community decentralization, 
or installation development sprawl. For example, planners of a fiscal 
year 2008 instruction building at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, reported 
that because of the antiterrorism standoff distance standard, the 
building site was approximately 50 percent larger than required if 
there were no standoff requirements. Similarly, project planners of a 
fiscal year 2009 unit maintenance facilities project at Fort Campbell, 
Kentucky, stated that complying with the antiterrorism standoff 
distance standard resulted in additional land use, including the 
construction of an additional parking lot situated across the street 
from the facilities. 

Antiterrorism Building Standards and Sustainable Design Features Add 
to Facility Construction Costs: 

According to service officials, incorporating antiterrorism standards 
in new facilities typically adds about 1 to 5 percent to construction 
costs and incorporating sustainable design building features typically 
adds about 2 percent to construction costs. The officials noted, 
however, that each project is unique and the estimated cost to 
incorporate antiterrorism standards and sustainable design features 
can vary significantly among military construction projects. 

To obtain additional details on the costs of incorporating 
antiterrorism standards and sustainable design features in new 
facilities, we reviewed information contained in the project 
justifications for the 90 military construction projects included in 
our non-probability sample of Army, Navy, and Air Force projects 
approved during fiscal years 2007 through 2009. The review showed that 
the average estimated cost to incorporate antiterrorism standards in 
the projects was about 2.0 percent of a project's total cost with the 
range varying from 0.3 percent to 6.6 percent.[Footnote 27] The review 
also showed that the average estimated cost of the sustainable design 
features was about 1.6 percent of a project's total cost with the 
range varying from 0.7 percent to 2.6 percent.[Footnote 28] According 
to the project planners, the actual costs of incorporating 
antiterrorism standards and sustainable design features in new 
projects was not available because contractors normally do not 
separately identify these costs in their bids responding to 
solicitations for project construction. 

Conclusions: 

Although the Army appears to have achieved some savings in initial 
construction costs by expanding the use of wood materials for some 
permanent facilities, the military services had little quantitative 
information on whether the use of wood materials and modular building 
methods will also result in lower long-term costs compared to the 
traditional use of steel, concrete, and masonry materials and on-site 
building methods. Determining the relative merits and economic impacts 
from the use of alternative construction materials and methods is an 
important issue for the military services to resolve to help ensure 
that DOD's military construction program meets requirements at the 
lowest cost over the long term. Unless the services perform additional 
study and analysis to determine the relative merits and long-term 
economic impacts from the use of alternative construction materials 
and methods, DOD will not know whether the use of wood materials and 
modular building methods will result in the most economical long-term 
building solution or whether DOD's unified facilities criteria, or 
other military construction program guidance, needs to be changed so 
that new facilities are constructed with materials and methods that 
meet requirements at the lowest cost over the long term. 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

To address unanswered questions about the merits and long-term costs 
from the use of alternative construction materials and methods for new 
common facilities, such as administrative buildings and barracks, we 
recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct the Deputy Under 
Secretary of Defense (Installations and Environment) to commission a 
tri-service panel that would be responsible for determining and 
comparing the estimated life-cycle costs of facilities built with 
alternative construction materials and methods, including a mix of 
wood and steel, concrete, and masonry construction materials and on-
site and modular construction methods. 

We also recommend that the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense 
(Installations and Environment) use the results from the tri-service 
panel's determinations to revise DOD's unified facilities criteria or 
other appropriate military construction guidance, as deemed 
appropriate, to ensure that new facilities are constructed with the 
materials and methods that meet requirements at the lowest cost over 
the long term. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

Officials from the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense 
(Installations and Environment) provided oral comments on a draft of 
this report. In the comments, DOD stated that it agreed with our 
recommendation to commission a tri-service panel that would be 
responsible for determining and comparing the estimated life-cycle 
costs of facilities built with alternative construction materials and 
methods. DOD stated that the department needed to better understand 
the life-cycle cost implications of different building materials and 
methods and to use this knowledge in evaluating and comparing total 
life-cycle cost alternatives. In view of the questions raised during 
the course of our review, DOD stated that it had already initiated a 
tri-service panel to develop a template that will objectively evaluate 
the relative life-cycle costs between competing construction proposals 
in the facilities acquisition process. When complete, the template is 
expected to allow prospective project designers to propose alternative 
construction materials and methods, among other design considerations, 
to achieve lower life-cycle costs or best overall value. DOD stated 
that this approach would recognize that the department cannot be 
solely responsible for determining the life-cycle cost implications of 
each possible alternative and needs to consider the best available 
industry knowledge, expertise, and innovation for any particular 
facility requirement. Nonetheless, DOD stated that it expects to 
monitor the performance of alternative materials and methods to better 
inform this process over time. We believe that DOD's actions, once 
implemented, will address the intent of the recommendation. 

DOD stated that it partially agreed with our recommendation that the 
department use the results of the tri-service panel's determinations 
to revise DOD's unified facilities criteria or other appropriate 
military construction guidance, as deemed appropriate, to ensure that 
new facilities are constructed with the materials and methods that 
meet requirements at the lowest cost over the long term. DOD stated 
that it agreed with the general concept that lessons learned should be 
incorporated into facilities criteria and specifications to the extent 
practical. However, DOD also stated that in some cases, such as to 
minimize adverse environmental impacts, facilities might be built with 
materials or methods that do not result in the lowest cost but in the 
best value for the department. In short, DOD stated that the use of 
the lowest-cost materials and methods should be an important 
consideration in facilities acquisition, but not the overriding goal. 
Our recommendation was not intended to restrict DOD in its efforts to 
achieve the best value, but rather to ensure adequate consideration of 
the long-term merits and economic impacts from building alternatives. 
We continue to believe that when all costs are considered over the 
long term, including environmental costs, the best value to DOD will 
normally be the construction alternative with the lowest life-cycle 
cost. Further, as stated in our recommendation, when revising its 
construction guidance based on the tri-service panel's determinations, 
we believe that DOD should only make revisions that it deems to be 
appropriate. As a result, we believe DOD's plan to incorporate the tri-
service panel's findings into its guidance will address the intent of 
the recommendation. 

We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Defense; the 
Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force; the Commandant 
of the Marine Corps; and the Director, Office of Management and 
Budget. In addition, the report will be available at no charge on the 
GAO Web site at [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. If you or your staff 
have any questions on the information discussed in this report, please 
contact me at (202) 512-4523 or leporeb@gao.gov. Contact points for 
our Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found 
on the last page of this report. GAO staff who made key contributions 
to this report are listed in appendix V. 

Signed by: 

Brian J. Lepore, Director: 
Defense Capabilities and Management: 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology: 

To assess the Army's measurement and achievement of its military 
construction cost and timeline reduction goals, we interviewed Army 
headquarters and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials and reviewed 
applicable documentation concerning the Army's military construction 
transformation strategy and the associated establishment and 
implementation of the Army's goals to reduce construction costs and 
building timelines. We also reviewed guidance for internal controls 
and effective management practices that call for the monitoring of 
performance goals and discussed with Army officials the reasons that 
the Army did not establish a framework to monitor the achievement of 
its construction cost and building timeline reduction goals. To obtain 
some insight into the Army's accomplishment of its cost goal, we 
reviewed the construction cost estimates for a non-probability sample 
of 75 facility projects to determine whether a 15 percent reduction 
was taken in the estimated cost of the facilities, as called for 
according to the Army's plan for implementing the goal. We selected 
projects for review from a list of all Army military construction 
projects approved during fiscal years 2007 through 2009. The projects 
selected represented a range of facility types and geographic 
locations and were in the categories of facilities subject to the cost 
reduction goal. More specifically, the 75 facilities included 15 
fiscal year 2007 facilities funded under the base realignment and 
closure program, 30 projects from fiscal year 2008, and 30 projects 
from fiscal year 2009 for five facility types subject to the goal. The 
construction cost estimates were included in the project 
justifications submitted to the Congress as part of the Army's funding 
request. To obtain some insight into the Army's accomplishment of its 
building timeline goal, we used actual Army project timeline 
information to compare the average lapsed time between key building 
milestones for all completed projects approved during fiscal years 
2007 through 2009 with the lapsed times for the same milestones for 
completed projects approved in fiscal years 2004 through 2006--the 3 
years before the implementation of the Army's military construction 
transformation strategy. Although we did not independently validate 
the Army's building timeline data, we discussed with the officials 
steps they had taken to ensure reasonable accuracy of the data. As 
such, we determined the data to be sufficiently reliable for the 
purposes of this report. 

To evaluate the merits and economic impacts from the Army's expanded 
use of wood materials and modular building methods for permanent 
facilities, we interviewed Office of the Secretary of Defense, Army, 
Navy, and Air Force officials and reviewed related documentation, 
policies, and construction guidance on the use of construction 
materials and building methods for military facilities. We also 
discussed how various construction materials and building methods 
could affect initial construction costs, long-term costs, service 
life, and durability of new military facilities and reviewed available 
documentation on the issue from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the 
Naval Facilities Engineering Command, the Air Force Center for 
Engineering and the Environment, and from representatives of three 
industry groups--the American Wood Council, the Modular Building 
Institute, and the National Concrete and Masonry Association. To 
observe the use of alternative construction materials and methods and 
discuss the issue with local military officials, we visited five Army 
installations--Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort 
Carson, Colorado; Fort Detrick, Maryland; and Fort Meade, Maryland-- 
where wood materials or modular building methods had been used to 
construct permanent facilities. During the visits, we obtained 
opinions and reviewed available information on the relative merits and 
economic impacts from using alternative construction materials and 
building methods. We also met with the developers of two military 
privatized unaccompanied personnel housing projects to discuss the 
reasons that the building materials and methods used in the projects 
were chosen. One privatized project was associated with the Navy and 
was located in the Norfolk, Virginia, area and the other project was 
associated with the Army and was located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. 

To review potential conflicts between antiterrorism construction 
standards and sustainable design goals and the costs to incorporate 
the standards and goals in new facilities, we reviewed applicable 
Department of Defense (DOD) policies, guidance, goals, and costs 
related to incorporating antiterrorism construction standards and 
sustainable design goals in new military facilities. We also 
interviewed officials at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Naval Facilities Engineering 
Command, and the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment 
concerning how potential conflicts between the standards and the goals 
are identified and addressed and how incorporating the standards and 
goals affects the cost of new facilities. To obtain additional details 
on how the services were dealing with potential conflicts between the 
standards and the goals, we followed up with the project planners 
responsible for 90 military construction projects selected from a non- 
probability sample of Army, Navy, and Air Force projects approved 
during fiscal years 2007 through 2009. We selected projects for review 
from a list of all Army, Navy, and Air Force military construction 
projects approved during fiscal years 2007 through 2009. We also 
selected projects to represent a range of facility types and 
geographic locations and included 10 Army, 10 Navy, and 10 Air Force 
projects approved in each of the three fiscal years--for a total of 30 
projects approved in each fiscal year. During the follow up, we asked 
the project planners whether the projects required any special steps 
or workarounds to meet both antiterrorism standards and sustainable 
design goals and whether the projects resulted in additional land use, 
community decentralization, or installation development sprawl. We did 
not independently verify the information provided by the project 
planners. In addition, to obtain additional details on the costs of 
incorporating antiterrorism standards and sustainable design features 
in new facilities, we reviewed information contained in the project 
justification of each of the 90 projects. The justifications included 
the estimated cost to incorporate antiterrorism standards in the 
project and, for fiscal year 2009 projects, the justifications also 
included the estimated cost to incorporate sustainable design goals. 

We conducted this performance audit from March 2009 to February 2010 
in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 
Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain 
sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our 
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe 
that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our 
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: DOD Construction Practices: 

In 2007, DOD issued guidance--the Unified Facilities Criteria 1-200-
01, General Building Requirements--that applies to the design and 
construction of all new and renovated facilities throughout DOD. The 
guidance adopted the 2006 International Building Code, with some 
modifications and exceptions, as the building code for DOD. The 
International Building Code defines allowable types of construction 
based on factors such as the size, configuration, and planned facility 
use and categorizes planned buildings into five construction types. 
The construction type classifications are based on the fire-resistive 
capabilities of the predominant materials used in the construction 
progressing from type I, the most fire-resistive, to type V, the least 
fire-resistive. More specifically, types I and II construction 
incorporate materials such as steel, concrete, and masonry which, in 
accordance with applicable testing standards, are classified as 
noncombustible. Types III and V construction incorporate the use of 
any material permitted by the code to include combustible materials 
such as wood products and plastics. Type IV construction is related to 
the use of heavy timber. Table 4 illustrates the materials that are 
allowed to be used in the building elements--i.e., the structural 
frame, bearing walls, nonbearing walls, floor, and roof--of a facility 
built according to each type of construction. 

Table 4: Types of Construction and Materials Allowed by the 
International Building Code: 

Type[A]: I & II; 
Building element and permitted material: Structural frame: 
Noncombustible[B]; 
Building element and permitted material: Bearing walls: Noncombustible; 
Building element and permitted material: Nonbearing walls: 
Noncombustible; 
Building element and permitted material: Floor construction: 
Noncombustible; 
Building element and permitted material: Roof construction: 
Noncombustible. 

Type[A]: III; 
Building element and permitted material: Structural frame: Any 
material permitted by code; 
Building element and permitted material: Bearing walls: Exterior walls 
are noncombustible; Interior elements are any material permitted by 
code; 
Building element and permitted material: Nonbearing walls: Exterior 
walls are noncombustible; Interior elements are any material permitted 
by code; 
Building element and permitted material: Floor construction: Any 
material permitted by code; 
Building element and permitted material: Roof construction: Any 
material permitted by code. 

Type[A]: IV; 
Building element and permitted material: Structural frame: Heavy 
timber; 
Building element and permitted material: Bearing walls: Exterior walls 
are noncombustible; 
Building element and permitted material: Nonbearing walls: Heavy 
timber; 
Building element and permitted material: Floor construction: Heavy 
timber; 
Building element and permitted material: Roof construction: Heavy 
timber. 

Type[A]: V; 
Building element and permitted material: Structural frame: Any 
material permitted by code; 
Building element and permitted material: Bearing walls: Any material 
permitted by code; 
Building element and permitted material: Nonbearing walls: Any 
material permitted by code; 
Building element and permitted material: Floor construction: Any 
material permitted by code; 
Building element and permitted material: Roof construction: Any 
material permitted by code. 

Source: GAO analysis of the International Building Code. 

[A] Dependent upon a building's planned use and occupancy, a 
building's height, floor area, and total area are restricted by the 
type of construction used. In general, Type I construction is the 
least restricted and Type V is the most restricted, per Section 503 of 
the International Building Code. 

[B] Noncombustible materials are to be tested in accordance with 
methods established by the American Society for Testing and Materials, 
per Section 704 of the International Building Code. Noncombustible 
materials include but are not limited to concrete, masonry, and steel. 

[End of table] 

In each of the construction types, the intended level of fire 
protection is achieved by assembling building elements to achieve fire-
resistance ratings established by the International Building Code. 
[Footnote 29] In a type I steel-frame building, for example, spray-
applied fire-resistive material can be used to enable the structural 
frame to achieve the 3-hour fire-resistance rating required by the 
code, and in a type V wood-frame building, covering exposed wood with 
drywall allows the affected building elements to achieve the 1-hour 
fire-resistance rating required by the code. In addition to the fire 
protection provided by the assembly of building elements, the code 
establishes requirements for use of automatic fire sprinkler systems 
based on factors to include the planned use and size of a facility and 
the planned number of occupants. 

The International Building Code also serves to limit building size 
based on the level of fire protection provided by its construction. 
Because type I construction is the most fire-resistive of the 
construction types, the code places minimal limits on the dimensions 
of type I buildings. To account for the comparatively lower level of 
fire protection provided by type II through type V construction types, 
the code establishes limits on building dimensions. For example, a 
type V barracks building that is protected with an automatic sprinkler 
system is limited under the code to a maximum height of 4 stories, or 
60 feet, with each story having maximum floor area of 36,000 square 
feet. 

DOD has traditionally built permanent buildings using on-site 
construction where materials are delivered to the construction site 
and the materials are then assembled into a finished facility. 
However, as part of its military construction transformation strategy, 
the Army has allowed, among other alternative construction techniques, 
the use of modular construction. In this method of construction, 
building sections are fabricated off-site in a factory environment, 
transported to the construction site, and then connected to other 
building sections to assemble the facility. Although some on-site 
construction is normally needed to complete the facility, the Modular 
Building Institute reports that in a typical modular construction 
project between 80 and 95 percent of the total construction is 
completed at an off-site factory. Because the off-site construction 
can proceed under controlled conditions at the same time that on-site 
foundation and other work is being completed, modular construction 
projects can potentially be completed with less material waste and in 
less time compared to projects built with on-site construction methods. 

[End of section] 

Appendix III: DOD's Antiterrorism Construction Standards: 

DOD's minimum antiterrorism construction standards are contained in 
DOD's Unified Facilities Criteria 4-010-01, DOD Minimum Antiterrorism 
Standards for Buildings. The standards include 22 mandatory standards 
and 17 recommended, but not required, measures designed to mitigate 
antiterrorism vulnerabilities and terrorist threats in inhabited 
buildings. Mandatory standards 1 through 5 are considered site 
planning standards. These standards note that operational, logistic, 
and security requirements must be integrated into the overall design 
of buildings, equipment, landscaping, parking, roads, and other 
features and that the most cost-effective solution for mitigating 
explosive effects on buildings is to keep explosives as far as 
possible from the buildings. Standards 6 through 9 are considered 
structural design standards. These standards require that additional 
structural measures be incorporated into building designs to ensure 
that buildings do not experience progressive collapse or otherwise 
experience disproportionate damage even if required standoff distances 
can be achieved. Standards 10 through 15 are considered architectural 
design standards. These standards cover many aspects of building 
layout that must be incorporated into designs to improve overall 
protection of personnel inside buildings. Standards 16 through 22 are 
considered electrical and mechanical design standards. These standards 
address limiting damage to critical infrastructure; protecting 
building occupants against chemical, biological, and radiological 
threats; and notifying building occupants of threats or hazards. 
Concerning the 17 recommended measures, DOD states that incorporating 
these measures can enhance site security and building occupants' 
safety with little increase in cost and should be considered for all 
new and existing inhabited buildings. Table 5 provides a brief summary 
description of each mandatory standard and recommended measure. 

Table 5: DOD's Antiterrorism Construction Standards: 

Mandatory standards: 1. Standoff distances; 
Brief description: Specified standoff distances must be coupled with 
appropriate building hardening to provide the necessary level of 
protection to building occupants. 

Mandatory standards: 2. Unobstructed space; 
Brief description: Ensure that obstructions within 33 feet of 
inhabited buildings do not allow for concealment of explosive devices 
from observation. 

Mandatory standards: 3. Drive-up/drop-off areas; 
Brief description: Ensure that, where required, drive-up or drop-off 
areas are clearly defined and marked and prevent parking of vehicles 
in those areas. 

Mandatory standards: 4. Access roads; 
Brief description: Ensure that control measures are implemented to 
prohibit unauthorized use of necessary access roads, including those 
required for fire department access. 

Mandatory standards: 5. Parking; 
Brief description: Eliminate parking beneath inhabited buildings or on 
rooftops of inhabited buildings. 

Mandatory standards: 6. Progressive collapse avoidance; 
Brief description: Design the superstructure of inhabited buildings of 
3 stories or more to sustain local damage with the structural system 
as a whole remaining stable. 

Mandatory standards: 7. Structural isolation; 
Brief description: Design all additions to existing buildings to be 
structurally independent from the adjacent existing building. 

Mandatory standards: 8. Building overhangs; 
Brief description: Avoid building overhangs with inhabited spaces 
above them where access is possible to the area underneath the 
overhang. 

Mandatory standards: 9. Exterior masonry walls; 
Brief description: Unreinforced masonry walls are prohibited for the 
exterior walls of new buildings. 

Mandatory standards: 10. Windows and skylights; 
Brief description: Take various measures to minimize hazards from 
flying glass fragments from windows and skylights. 

Mandatory standards: 11. Building entrance layout; 
Brief description: Ensure that the main building entrance does not 
face an installation perimeter or other uncontrolled vantage points 
with direct lines of sight to the entrance. 

Mandatory standards: 12. Exterior doors; 
Brief description: Ensure that all exterior doors into inhabited areas 
open outwards. 

Mandatory standards: 13. Mail rooms; 
Brief description: Locate mail rooms on the perimeter of the building 
and as far as possible from heavily populated areas of the building 
and critical infrastructure; 
ensure that mail rooms are well sealed to limit migration of airborne 
chemical, biological, and radiological agents. 

Mandatory standards: 14. Roof access; 
Brief description: Control access to roofs to minimize the possibility 
of aggressors placing explosives or chemical, biological, or 
radiological agents there. 

Mandatory standards: 15.Overhead mounted architectural features; 
Brief description: Ensure that overhead mounted features above a 
specified weight are mounted to minimize the likelihood that they will 
fall and injure building occupants. 

Mandatory standards: 16. Air intakes; 
Brief description: Locate all outside air intakes that distribute air 
throughout the building at least 10 feet above the ground. 

Mandatory standards: 17. Mail room ventilation; 
Brief description: Provide separate, dedicated air ventilation systems 
for mail rooms. 

Mandatory standards: 18. Emergency air distribution shutoff; 
Brief description: Provide an emergency shutoff switch that can 
immediately shut down the air distribution system throughout the 
building. 

Mandatory standards: 19. Utility distribution and installation; 
Brief description: Route critical or fragile utilities so that they 
are not on exterior walls or on walls shared with mail rooms; 
locate redundant utilities and emergency backup systems in a manner 
that will minimize the possibility that both systems will be adversely 
affected by a single event. 

Mandatory standards: 20. Equipment bracing; 
Brief description: Mount all overhead utilities and other fixtures 
above a specified weight to minimize the likelihood that they will 
fall and injure building occupants. 

Mandatory standards: 21. Under building access; 
Brief description: Ensure that access to crawl spaces, utility 
tunnels, and other means of under-building access is controlled. 

Mandatory standards: 22. Mass notification; 
Brief description: All inhabited buildings must have a timely means to 
notify occupants of threats and instruct them what to do in response 
to those threats. 

Recommended measures: 1. Vehicle access points; 
Brief description: Keep the number of vehicle access points around 
buildings to the minimum necessary. 

Recommended measures: 2. High-speed vehicle approaches; 
Brief description: Ensure that there are no unobstructed vehicle 
approaches perpendicular to inhabited buildings. 

Recommended measures: 3. Vantage points; 
Brief description: Identify and eliminate or mitigate vantage points 
outside the control of building personnel. 

Recommended measures: 4. Drive-up/drop off areas; 
Brief description: Locate drive-up/drop off areas away from large 
window areas of buildings. 

Recommended measures: 5. Building location; 
Brief description: Maximize separation distance between inhabited 
areas of buildings and areas with large visitor populations. 

Recommended measures: 6. Railroad location; 
Brief description: Avoid sites for inhabited buildings that are close 
to railroads. 

Recommended measures: 7. Access for family housing; 
Brief description: Provide space for controlling access at the 
perimeter of the housing area. 

Recommended measures: 8. Standoff for family housing; 
Brief description: Maintain a specified standoff distance from 
installation perimeters and roads external to housing areas. 

Recommended measures: 9. Minimize secondary debris; 
Brief description: Eliminate unreinforced barriers that are accessible 
to vehicle traffic. 

Recommended measures: 10. Building separation; 
Brief description: Ensure that billeting, high occupancy family 
housing, and primary gathering buildings are separated from adjacent 
inhabited buildings by at least 10 meters. 

Recommended measures: 11. Structural redundancy; 
Brief description: Use highly redundant structural systems. 

Recommended measures: 12. Internal circulation; 
Brief description: Design building circulation to facilitate visual 
detection of unauthorized personnel approaching controlled or occupied 
areas. 

Recommended measures: 13. Visitor control; 
Brief description: Keep visitor access control locations away from 
sensitive or critical building areas and areas with large population 
densities. 

Recommended measures: 14. Asset location; 
Brief description: Locate critical assets and mission-critical 
personnel away from the building exterior. 

Recommended measures: 15. Room layout; 
Brief description: Position personnel and critical equipment to 
minimize exposure to direct blast effects. 

Recommended measures: 16. External hallways; 
Brief description: Avoid exterior hallway configurations for inhabited 
structures. 

Recommended measures: 17. Windows; 
Brief description: Minimize the size and number of windows. 

Source: GAO summary of DOD information. 

[End of table] 

[End of section] 

Appendix IV: DOD's Sustainable Design Goals: 

Sustainable design, or development, generally refers to efforts to 
design, construct, maintain, and remove facilities in ways that 
efficiently use energy, water, and materials; improve and protect 
environments; and provide long-term benefits for occupant health, 
productivity, and comfort. Sustainable design efforts are generally 
grouped under six fundamental principles--optimize site potential, 
optimize energy use, protect and conserve water, use environmentally 
preferable products and practices, enhance indoor environmental 
quality, and optimize operational and maintenance practices. Within 
the building industry, sustainable design is also known by such terms 
as green, high performance, or environmentally friendly. 

DOD sustainable design requirements are contained in DOD's Unified 
Facilities Criteria 4-030-01, Sustainable Development. The document 
provides instruction, requirements, and references for DOD facility 
professionals and architect/engineer and construction contractors to 
apply sustainable development principles and strategies consistently 
in DOD facilities throughout their life cycle--from planning to 
programming and securing of funds; to site selection, design, and 
construction; to documentation and operations and maintenance; and to 
reuse or deconstruction and removal. The document's purpose is to help 
produce and maintain DOD facilities that comply with existing service 
policies and federal mandates for sustainable design, energy 
efficiency, and procurement of environmentally preferable materials. 
Further, the document provides guidance to help reduce the total cost 
of facility ownership, while minimizing negative impacts on the 
environment and promoting productivity, health, and comfort of 
building occupants. 

To help measure the sustainability of new military buildings, DOD uses 
the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and 
Environmental Design Green Building Rating System. Created in 1998, 
the rating system represents the Council's effort to provide a 
nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and 
operation of high-performance green buildings. The system also 
provides for a certification program for new construction projects by 
identifying a set of prerequisites and credits categorized under 
several environmental categories. The prerequisites are required tasks 
in order to be considered for a certification. The credits are tasks, 
steps, or measures that could be incorporated into a construction 
project and include a variable number of points--some based on 
performance levels and some based on addressing distinct measures 
related to an overarching sustainable concept. The United States Green 
Building Council can award a specific certification level to a new 
building depending on the total number of points achieved in the 
design and construction of the building. The certification levels for 
new construction and renovation projects under the 2009 rating system 
include: certified (40 to 49 points), silver (50 to 59 points), gold 
(60 to 79 points), and platinum (80 points and above). For fiscal year 
2009, DOD set a goal that at least 70 percent of DOD's new buildings 
would be silver-level certifiable. However, each of the military 
services set a goal that beginning in fiscal year 2009 all new major 
military construction buildings would be designed and constructed to 
be silver-level certifiable. 

Table 6 below shows by category the prerequisites, credits, and 
available points under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in 
Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System. 

Table 6: Rating System's Prerequisites, Credits, and Points for New 
Buildings: 

Category: Sustainable sites; 
Prerequisites and credits: Prerequisite: Construction activity 
pollution prevention; 
Points: (26 possible points); 
Credits: 
Site selection; Points: 1.
Development density and community connectivity; Points: 5.
Brownfield redevelopment; Points: 1.
Alternative transportation--public transportation access; Points: 6.
Alternative transportation--bicycle storage and changing rooms; 
Points: 1.
Alternative transportation--low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles; 
Points: 3.
Alternative transportation--parking capacity; Points: 2.
Site development--protect or restore habitat; Points: 1.
Site development--maximize open space; Points: 1.
Storm water design--quantity control; Points: 1.
Storm water design--quality control; Points: 1.
Heat island effect--nonroof; Points: 1.
Heat island effect--roof; Points: 1.
Light-pollution reduction; Points: 1. 

Category: Water efficiency; 
Prerequisites and credits: Prerequisite: Water-use reduction; 
Points: (10 possible points); 
Credits: 
Water-efficient landscaping; Points: 2 to 4.
Innovative wastewater technologies; Points: 2.
Water-use reduction; Points: 2 to 4. 

Category: Energy and atmosphere; 
Prerequisites and credits: Prerequisites: Fundamental commissioning of 
building energy systems; Minimum energy performance; Fundamental 
refrigerant management; 
Points: (35 possible points); 
Credits: 
Optimize energy performance; Points: 1 to 19.
On-site renewable energy; Points: 1 to 7.
Enhanced refrigerant management; Points: 2.
Enhanced commissioning; Points: 2.
Measurement and verification; Points: 3.
Green power; Points: 2. 

Category: Materials and resources; 
Prerequisites and credits: Prerequisite: Storage and collection of 
recyclables; 
Points: (14 possible points); 
Credits: 
Building reuse--maintain existing walls, floors and roof; Points: 1 to 
3.
Building reuse--maintain existing interior nonstructural elements; 
Points: 1.
Construction waste management; Points: 1 to 2.
Materials reuse; Points: 1 to 2.
Recycled content; Points: 1 to 2.
Regional materials; Points: 1 to 2.
Rapidly renewable materials; Points: 1.
Certified wood; Points: 1. 

Category: Indoor environmental quality; 
Prerequisites and credits: Prerequisites: Minimum indoor air quality 
performance; Environmental tobacco smoke control; 
Points: (15 possible points); 
Credits:
Outdoor air delivery monitoring; Points: 1.
Increased ventilation; Points: 1.
Construction indoor air quality management plan--during construction; 
Points: 1.
Construction indoor air quality management plan--before occupancy; 
Points: 1.
Low-emitting materials--adhesives and sealants; Points: 1.
Low-emitting materials--paints and coatings; Points: 1.
Low-emitting materials--flooring systems; Points: 1.
Low-emitting materials--composite wood and agricultural fiber products; 
Points: 1.
Indoor chemical and pollutant source control; Points: 1.
Controllability of systems--lighting; Points: 1.
Controllability of systems--thermal comfort; Points: 1.
Thermal comfort--design; Points: 1.
Thermal comfort--verification; Points: 1.
Daylight and views--daylight; Points: 1.
Daylight and views--views; Points: 1. 

Category: Innovation in design; 
Prerequisites and credits: Credits: 
Points: (6 possible points); 
Innovation in design; Points: 1 to 5.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design accredited professional; 
Points: 1. 

Source: GAO summary of U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in 
Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System 
information. 

Note: Also available are from 1 to 4 regional priority bonus points 
which acknowledge the importance of local conditions in determining 
best environmental design and construction practices. 

[End of table] 

[End of section] 

Appendix V: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Contact: 

Brian J. Lepore, (202) 512-4523 or leporeb@gao.gov: 

Acknowledgments: 

In addition to the contact named above, Terry Dorn, Director; Michael 
Armes, Assistant Director; Laura Durland, Assistant Director; Grace 
Coleman; George Depaoli; Tobin McMurdie; Jeanett Reid; and Gary 
Phillips made significant contributions to this report. 

[End of section] 

Related GAO Products: 

Federal Energy Management: Agencies are Taking Steps to Meet High- 
Performance Federal Building Requirements, but Face Challenges and 
Need to Clarify Roles and Responsibilities. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-22]. Washington D.C.: October 30, 
2009. 

Real Property: Infrastructure Investment Presents Opportunities to 
Address Long-standing Real Property Backlogs and Reduce Energy 
Consumption. [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-324T]. 
Washington D.C.: January 22, 2009. 

High-Risk Series: An Update. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-271]. Washington, D.C.: January 
2009. 

Defense Infrastructure: Challenges Increase Risks for Providing Timely 
Infrastructure Support for Army Installations Expecting Substantial 
Personnel Growth. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-07-1007]. Washington, D.C.: September 
13, 2007. 

Defense Infrastructure: Long-term Challenges in Managing the Military 
Construction Program. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-04-288]. Washington, D.C.: February 
24, 2004. 

Military Housing: Opportunities That Should Be Explored to Improve 
Housing and Reduce Costs for Unmarried Junior Servicemembers. 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-602]. Washington, D.C.: 
June 10, 2003. 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] Design-bid-build is a project delivery method where a project's 
design is contracted out and, after the design is completed, the 
project's construction is solicited and normally awarded to a separate 
entity. Design-build is a delivery method where the design and 
construction are contracted out to a single entity. By using one 
contractor and overlapping a project's design and construction phases, 
this approach attempts to reduce project risk and construction 
timelines. 

[2] Sustainable design goals, sometimes referred to as "green" 
building goals, include facility design and construction goals to 
avoid resource depletion of energy, water, and raw materials; prevent 
environmental degradation caused by facilities and infrastructure; and 
create and build environments that are livable, comfortable, safe, and 
productive. 

[3] 10 U.S.C. § 2859(a)(2). 

[4] See Memorandum Of Understanding, Federal Leadership in High 
Performance and Sustainable Buildings (Jan. 24, 2006). 

[5] The Army implemented the cost reduction goal by having project 
planners reduce the estimated cost of planned facilities by 15 
percent, requesting funding from the Congress for the reduced amount, 
and then attempting to award and complete the project within the 
approved funding amount. Although the Army had information on the 
actual costs of completed military construction projects, the Army did 
not routinely document the actual costs of the individual facilities 
included in the projects. For this reason, we could not determine 
whether any facilities subject to the Army's cost reduction goal 
resulted in actual savings compared to cost estimates based on DOD 
cost estimating guidance. 

[6] The U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and 
Environmental Design Green Building Rating System defines sustainable 
features for buildings and includes a set of performance standards 
which can be used to certify the design and construction of buildings. 
By meeting the standards during facility design and construction, 
builders can earn credits and become certified in accordance with an 
established four-level scale--certified, silver, gold, and platinum. 
The military services' goal in fiscal year 2009 was for all new major 
military construction buildings to be silver-level certifiable, which 
is the second level on the four-level scale. 

[7] In its June 18, 2009 report on the National Defense Authorization 
Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (H.R. Rep. No. 111-166), the House Armed 
Services Committee expressed concern about low-density development at 
military installations caused by compliance with antiterrorism 
construction requirements. The committee directed the Secretary of 
Defense to submit to the congressional defense committees a report 
that reviews current antiterrorism/force-protection measures and 
possible alternative measures, considering community-based sustainable 
design techniques. 

[8] 10 U.S.C. § 2859(a)(2). 

[9] The Energy Policy Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-58 (2005), among 
other things, set energy reduction and efficiency requirements for 
federal facilities. Executive Order 13423, "Strengthening Federal 
Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management," was issued in 
January 2007 and, among other things, directed that all new building 
construction and major renovations incorporate sustainable practices 
and comply with the guiding principles established in the 2006 Federal 
Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings Memorandum of 
Understanding. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, Pub. 
L. No. 110-140, among other things, established new energy and water 
management requirements and standards for federal buildings and 
required that sustainable design principles be applied to the siting, 
design, and construction of federal buildings. Executive Order 13514, 
Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, 
was issued in October 2009 and, among other things, directed agencies 
to establish reduction targets for certain greenhouse gas emissions. 

[10] See Memorandum Of Understanding, Federal Leadership in High 
Performance and Sustainable Buildings (Jan. 24, 2006). 

[11] See DOD, Unified Facilities Criteria: Sustainable Development, 
UFC 4-030-01 (Dec. 21, 2007). 

[12] GAO, High-Risk Series: An Update, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-271] (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 2009). 

[13] GAO, Military Housing: Opportunities That Should Be Explored to 
Improve Housing and Reduce Costs for Unmarried Junior Servicemembers, 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-602] (Washington, D.C.: 
June 10, 2003). 

[14] GAO, Defense Infrastructure: Long-term Challenges in Managing the 
Military Construction Program, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-04-288] (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 24, 
2004). 

[15] GAO, Defense Infrastructure: Challenges Increase Risks for 
Providing Timely Infrastructure Support for Army Installations 
Expecting Substantial Personnel Growth, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-07-1007] (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 13, 
2007). 

[16] GAO, Federal Energy Management: Agencies are Taking Steps to Meet 
High-Performance Federal Building Requirements, but Face Challenges 
and Need to Clarify Roles and Responsibilities, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-22] (Washington D.C.: Oct. 30, 
2009). 

[17] GAO, Real Property: Infrastructure Investment Presents 
Opportunities to Address Long-standing Real Property Backlogs and 
Reduce Energy Consumption, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-324T] (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 22, 
2009). 

[18] GAO, Internal Control: Standards for Internal Control in the 
Federal Government, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO/AIMD-00-21.3.1] (Washington D.C.: Nov. 
1999). 

[19] To assist the services in preparing their military construction 
budget estimates, DOD issues military construction project cost 
estimating guidance each year. The guidance establishes a unit cost 
amount, such as $2,099 per square meter for a barracks to be built in 
fiscal year 2009, for the various facility types based on prior-year 
actual contract amounts. The military services are to use the guidance 
to estimate the cost of their planned military construction projects 
and then submit the estimates to the Congress for funding. Army 
officials stated that to implement its 15 percent cost reduction goal 
beginning in fiscal year 2007, the Army planned to reduce the unit 
cost amount contained in the DOD guidance by 15 percent, estimate the 
cost of its planned projects using the reduced unit cost amount, and 
then request the reduced project amount for funding in its budget 
request. 

[20] See DOD Standard Practice for Unified Facilities Criteria and 
Unified Facilities Guide Specifications (Military Standard 3007F, Dec. 
13, 2006). The Standard Practice states that unified facilities 
criteria and unified facilities guide specifications are developed 
jointly by the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and other defense 
agencies and apply to all DOD components. 

[21] International Code Council, Building Valuation Data (Washington, 
D.C., Aug. 2009). 

[22] See Fire Safe Construction Cost Comparison Study: Executive 
Summary Report (Commission Number 05119, Nov. 2, 2005), sponsored by 
New England/New York Fire Safety Construction Advisory Council, 
Pennsylvania Fire Safe Construction Advisory Council, Mid-Atlantic 
Fire Safety Construction Advisory Council, and Northeast Cement 
Shippers Association. 

[23] According to the International Building Code, buildings over four 
stories must be constructed with noncombustible materials, such as 
steel, concrete, and masonry. 

[24] See Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Insurance 
Administration, Building Performance: Hurricane Andrew In Florida 
Observations, Recommendations, and Technical Guidance, FIA-22 
(Washington, D.C., Dec. 21, 1992). 

[25] We did not determine the extent to which these goals were met 
because it was outside the scope of our review. 

[26] See note 7. 

[27] Two of the 90 project justifications did not separately identify 
the estimated cost of the antiterrorism features included in the 
projects' total cost. Thus, the average and range of percentages is 
for the 88 project justifications that did separately identify the 
estimated cost of the antiterrorism features. 

[28] Project justifications did not begin to provide separate 
estimates of the cost to incorporate sustainable design features until 
fiscal year 2009. Thus, the average and range of estimated sustainable 
costs reflects the 30 fiscal year 2009 projects included in our sample. 

[29] Fire-resistance rating is the period of time, expressed in hours, 
that a building element, component, or assembly maintains the ability 
to confine a fire and retain its structural integrity. Fire ratings 
are assigned on the basis of testing standards promulgated by the 
American Society for Testing and Materials. 

[End of section] 

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