Sept. 24, 2015 —
Our objective was to inspect DoD military housing at three installations in the Southeastern region of the continental United States—Patrick Air Force Base (AFB), Naval Station (NS) Mayport, and Fort Gordon—to verify compliance with 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 Electric Code (NEC), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, and international building codes.
We found deficiencies at all three installations. The majority of deficiencies identified during our inspections resulted from improper installation, insufficient inspection, and inadequate maintenance of housing facilities. We identified a total of 389 deficiencies that could affect the health, safety, and well-being of warfighters and their families: 212 related to electrical system safety, 138 related to fire protection, and 39 related to environmental health and safety. All documented deficiencies were analyzed to determine the overall findings a nd r ecommendations. Of the total deficiencies, we identified 15 critical deficiencies requiring immediate action in notices of concern issued to the commanders of NS Mayport and Fort Gordon.
We noted the following overall findings for Patrick AFB, NS Mayport, and Fort Gordon.
- Inspection, installation, and maintenance of housing electrical systems and fire protection systems were not sufficiently performed to ensure the safety of the warfighters and their families, resulting in potential exposure of occupants to electrocution hazards or fire.
- Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system problems; mold; and moisture were not adequately addressed, resulting in poor indoor air quality and potential exposure of occupants to health hazards.
- A gap exists between the fire protection requirements applied to privatized family housing and those applied to Government-managed military housing, rendering privatized family housing potentially less safe than Government-managed military housing. As a result, Fort Gordon had not established a radon assessment and mitigation program
We recommend that the respective Military Departments, as applicable:
- Conduct an effective root cause analysis and perform corrective actions for all deficiencies identified.
- Verify or create a plan for ongoing inspection and maintenance of all housing units, including privatized housing, to applicable electrical, fire protection, and environmental health and safety codes and standards. We recommend that the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment review its radon policy and ensure that Army publications properly and consistently address radon assessment and mitigation requirements.
We also recommend that the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment (ASD[EI&E]):
- Determine the extent to which privatized military housing agreements have omitted DoD fire protection requirements and the risk associated with their omission.
- Execute a plan to improve the inspection and maintenance programs for military housing at all installations throughout the United States. We made several additional recommendations to address the findings of this report. See the Recommendations sections of the report for more information.
We made several additional recommendations to address the findings of this report. See the Recommendations sections of the report for more information
Management Comments and Our Response
ASD(EI&E) did not fully address the specifics of all the recommendations. He disagreed with the recommendation to determine the extent to which DoD fire protection requirements have been omitted from privatized military housing agreements and the associated risk. Based on ASD(EI&E)’s comments, we revised our recommendation to address the inconsistencies between the applicability of the Unified Facilities Criteria and the position taken by ASD(EI&E) regarding fire protection requirements for privatized military housing. Therefore, we request that ASD(EI&E) provide further comments in response to the report.
The Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Housing, and Partnerships, responding for the Army, addressed all specifics of the recommendations, and no further comments are required.
The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment, responding for the Navy, addressed the specifics of all but one recommendation. We request that the Commander of NS Mayport provide further comments regarding compensatory measures employed for homes that do not meet the secondary means of egress requirements.
The Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety, and Infrastructure, responding for the Air Force, addressed all specifics of the recommendations, and no further comments are required.
This report is a result of Project No. D2015-DT0TAD-0001.000.