Report | Aug. 13, 2020

Followup Audit on Recommendations to Correct Building Deficiencies at the Naval Station Great Lakes Fire Station (DODIG-2020-113)

Audit

Publicly Released: August 17, 2020

 

Objective

The objective of this followup audit was to determine whether Navy officials corrected deficiencies identified in Report No. DODIG-2012-132, “Project Planning Resulted in Outstanding Building Deficiencies and Decreased Functionality of the Main Fire Station at Naval Station Great Lakes,” September 14, 2012. In addition, we determined whether other fire station building deficiencies existed and whether the Commander of the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic established oversight procedures to ensure that firefighters had access to safe and compliant facilities.

We also received a DoD Hotline complaint with allegations claiming that the issues identified at building 106 in Report No. DODIG-2012-132 remain unresolved and did not comply with the Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC), which provide a standard for all technical criteria and specifications related to planning, designing, constructing, operating, and maintaining real property facilities.

 

Background

The main fire station, building 106, and the second station, building 2801, at Naval Station Great Lakes provide 24-hour emergency services to over 20,000 military and civilian personnel. In 2012, Report No. DODIG-2012-132 substantiated claims that the 2010 building 106 renovation project did not comply with the UFC and that it would have been more economical to replace the facility than renovate. To address these findings, the DoD OIG made five recommendations.

In the 2012 report, the DoD OIG recommended that the Regional Fire Chief, Commander, Navy Region Midwest, and the Public Works Officer (PWO) identify existing deficiencies and implement appropriate actions to correct the deficiencies (prior report Recommendation 1).

In addition, the DoD OIG recommended that the Commander of the Navy Region Midwest issue guidance requiring:

• planners to provide sufficient detail in the “Impact If Not Provided” section on the DD Form 1391, “Military Construction Data” to ensure that officials reviewing and approving the form fully understand the impact to the mission, quality of life, safety and health that would occur if the project were not funded (prior report Recommendation 2.a); and

• Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) and Public Works Department Great Lakes officials to use the checklist provided in NAVFAC P-442, “Economic Analysis Handbook,” October 1993, to ensure a thorough and accurate review of the DD Form 1391 and supporting documentation (prior report Recommendation 2.b).

The DoD OIG further recommended that the Commander of the Navy Region Midwest and Commanding Officer of NAVFAC Midwest review the actions of personnel involved in preparing and reviewing planning documentation, supporting documentation, and the request for proposal. Based on that review, the Commander should determine which personnel failed to exercise due diligence when planning projects to correct existing fire station deficiencies and take appropriate administrative action (prior report Recommendations 3.a and 3.b).

 

Finding

During this followup audit, we determined that Navy officials had taken some corrective actions in response to the five recommendations made in Report No. DODIG-2012-132. Specifically, Navy officials:

• partially implemented the prior report’s Recommendation 1 by correcting 24 of 31 building deficiencies but did not take sufficient actions tocorrect the remaining 7 deficiencies. For example, the PWD Great Lakes officials did not procure a generator capable of providing 100-percent emergency backup power;

• fully implemented the prior report’s Recommendation 2.a to issue guidance for officials reviewing and approving DD Forms 1391 by updating project planning guidance in the Business Management System;

• did not implement the prior report’s Recommendation 2.b to require use of the economic analysis checklist when updating NAVFAC P-442 and instead relied on the use of training, which is not required, to reinforce the use of the economic analysis checklist; and

• fully implemented the prior report’s Recommendations 3.a and 3.b by addressing the performance of the personnel who failed to exercise due diligence when planning the building 106 renovation project and taking appropriate administrative actions.

In addition to the building deficiencies identified in the prior report, in this followup audit, we identified 17 new deficiencies at building 106 and a lack of oversight procedures for Navy personnel to ensure proper maintenance of the building. Of the 17 deficiencies, 7 deficiencies were not identified by the Navy because Navy officials did not perform a complete building assessment in April 2012, as recommended. The other 10 deficiencies were not identified by the Navy because Navy officials did not ensure that a building monitor was properly designated and trained to maintain building 106, in accordance with Navy policy.

Furthermore, during our site visit, we toured the Naval Station Great Lakes second fire station, building 2801, and identified potential health and safety concerns in building 2801 that were similar to those identified in Report No. DODIG-2012-132 for building 106.

While Navy officials have made improvements to building 106, the outstanding health and safety deficiencies continue to expose personnel living and working there to potential illness and injury, such as exposure to vehicle exhaust fumes and increased trip and fall hazards.

 

Recommendations

Among other recommendations, we recommend that the Commander of the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic and the Commanding Officer of the Naval Station Great Lakes coordinate with the Public Works Department Great Lakes to assess and correct deficiencies identified in this report to ensure compliance with current UFC and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requirements.

In addition, we recommend that the PWO of the Public Works Department Great Lakes coordinate with the Director of the Facilities Management Division to develop and implement a building monitor training program in accordance with Navy policy.

We also recommend that the Commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, in coordination with the PWO of the Public Works Department Great Lakes, inspect building 2801 for noncompliance with current:

• UFC 4-730-10 and incorporate corrective actions into the planned renovation project for building 2801; and,

 • NFPA requirements and take corrective actions.

 

Management Comments and Our Response

This report contains seven recommendations addressed to the NAVFAC Commander, the Commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, the Commanding Officer of Naval Station Great Lakes, the PWO, Public Works Department Great Lakes, and the District Fire Chief, Fire and Emergency Services Great Lakes. Of the seven recommendations, five are resolved but will remain open until further actions are taken, and two are closed. Below is a description of the management comments to three of the resolved recommendations. Please see the management comments and our response section of the report for additional details on the other recommendations.

The Commanding Officer of Naval Station Great Lakes, responding for the Commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic and the PWO of the Public Works Department Great Lakes, partially agreed with the recommendation to ensure compliance with current UFC and NFPA requirements, stating that Naval Station Great Lakes plans to correct all remaining deficiencies identified in the 2012 audit report, and 14 of 17 additional deficiencies identified during this audit. The Commanding Officer stated that repairs to correct the remaining 3 of 17 deficiencies identified during this audit would be costly, and would provide no direct increase in functionality to the fire station. However, the Commanding Officer also stated that he may develop an on-site mitigation strategy or seek a waiver to exempt them from compliance with UFC and NFPA requirements to address the remaining three deficiencies. The Commanding Officer addressed the specifics of the recommendation; therefore, the recommendation is resolved. We will close this recommendation once we verify that the actions taken to address each deficiency from the prior report and this audit were completed.

The Commanding Officer of Naval Station Great Lakes, responding for the PWO of the Public Works Department Great Lakes, agreed with the recommendation to develop and implement a building monitor training program in accordance with Navy policy, stating that a curriculum for the building monitor training program was being developed, and the PWO would implement the training in accordance with Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Instruction 11000.2A in FY 2021. The Commanding Officer’s comments addressed the specifics of the recommendation; therefore, the recommendation is resolved but will remain open. We will close this recommendation once we receive the training curriculum used and verify it contains the information required by the Instruction.

The Commanding Officer of Naval Station Great Lakes, responding for the Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, agreed with the recommendations to inspect building 2801 for noncompliance with current UFC 4-730-10 and NFPA requirements. The Commanding Officer also stated that an inspection of building 2801 would be conducted in accordance with UFC and NFPA requirements and that required modifications resulting from the inspection would be completed either individually or as part of an overall building renovation by FY 2022. The Commanding Officer’s comments addressed the specifics of the recommendations; therefore, the recommendations are resolved but will remain open. We will close these recommendations when we receive documentation showing that actions were taken to address each deficiency.

 

This report is the result of Proj. No. D2019-D000AH-0197.000.