Report | Oct. 28, 2014

Military Housing Inspections - Republic of Korea

DODIG-2015-013

Objective

Our objective was to inspect DoD military housing in the Republic of Korea for compliance with DoD and Federal environmental health and safety policies and standards. Those policies and standards include the Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes and standards, National Electrical Code (NEC), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.

Findings

The majority of deficiencies (violations of code) identified during our inspection were attributed to insufficient inspection, maintenance, and repair of housing facilities. We identified a total of 646 deficiencies that could affect the health, safety, and well-being of warfighters and their families: 298 fire protection systems, 279 electrical systems, 53 environmental health and safety, and 16 housing management. Of the total deficiencies, we identified 11 critical deficiencies requiring immediate action in Notices of Concern (NOCs) to U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) and U.S. Forces Korea (USFK).

We noted the following deficiencies for the Republic of Korea installations:

  • Installations had inadequate resources and a lack of diligence to inspect, maintain, and repair housing facilities.
  • Installation personnel did not ensure that fire protection systems were properly installed, periodically inspected, and maintained.
  • Installation personnel did not ensure that electrical systems were properly installed, periodically inspected, and maintained.
  • Installation personnel did not follow environmental regulations or best practices to ensure the health and safety of occupants, specifically with regards to mold and radon.
  • Housing management systems were not fully implemented and procedures were not always followed by installation personnel.

Recommendations

We recommend that the respective Military Departments, as applicable:

  • Conduct an effective root cause analysis and corrective action for all 646 deficiencies in this report.
  • Ensure that these deficiencies do not exist in other housing units.
  • Ensure the inspection, maintenance, and repair program is i n c ompliance w ith applicable codesand standards.
  • Ensure that sufficient, qualified resources are available and assigned to inspect and verify that all housing buildings and units are in compliance with requirements.
  • Ensure that housing management systems and processes are fully implemented and followed for all installations.

We recommend that the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (OUSD(AT&L)) include guidance, per EPA standards, for both accompanied and unaccompanied housing within the Overseas Environmental Baseline Guidance Document for:

  • Control and remediation of mold.
  • Radon evaluation and mitigation.

Management Comments and Our Response

PACOM, USFK, Department of the Army, and the Department of the Air Force provided comments agreeing with all recommendations. The comments are fully responsive, and we do not require additional comments.

OUSD (AT&L (I&E)) disagreed with our recommendation that they provide policy and guidance for the control and remediation of mold and radon for accompanied and unaccompanied housing for the warfighter and their families. Therefore, we strongly request that OUSD (AT&L) reconsider their position and provide additional comments in response to this final report.

This report is a result of Project No. D2013-DT0TAD-0003.000.