Report 2011-116.1 Recommendations and Responses in 2014-041

Report 2011-116.1: Department of General Services: The Division of the State Architect Lacks Enforcement Authority and Has Weak Oversight Procedures, Increasing the Risk That School Construction Projects May Be Unsafe

Department Number of Years Reported As Not Fully Implemented Total Recommendations to Department Not Implemented After One Year Not Implemented as of 2013-041 Response Not Implemented as of Most Recent Response
Department of General Services 2 14 12 2 1

Recommendation To: General Services, Department of

To address areas in which its staff do not currently have expertise, the division should finalize its field pilot and take subsequent steps to ensure it has qualified staff to provide oversight of accessibility; fire and life safety; and the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing aspects of construction.

Response

DSA revisited the results of the field pilot to determine the current feasibility of expanding its construction oversight for schools beyond structural safety. DSA determined that, based on the current statutory based fee structure, sufficient resources are available for project oversight activities involving only structural safety, fire and life safety and accessibility issues.

As to ensuring that adequate oversight is provided, DSA has reviewed the field pilot report's recommendations and developed alternative means to achieve the objectives of the field pilot for enhanced oversight of the fire and life safety and accessibility aspects of project construction. Specifically, the division developed a training program for its field engineers that will increase their expertise in the fire and life safety elements of construction as well as accessibility compliance.

The accessibility training was provided to all field staff and supervisors in October 2013. Additional training for field review of fire and life safety based on the new inspection card process was provided to all field staff and supervisors in May 2014.

Overall, the training program in conjunction with an automated statewide metric to measure field oversight workload and the new inspection card system addresses the field oversight issues that initiated the field pilot project. Therefore, the DSA determined that an update to the field pilot project was not necessary.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: May 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Recommendation To: General Services, Department of

To ensure public safety and provide public assurance that school districts construct projects in accordance with approved plans, the department, in conjunction with the division, should pursue legislative changes to the Field Act that would prohibit occupancy in cases in which the division has identified significant safety concerns.

Response

The objective of this recommendation has been achieved through the implementation of an inspection card process similar to that used in most municipalities throughout the state. On June 1, 2013, the inspection card process was implemented for all new construction projects. The process allows for verification of structural integrity and fire and life safety at the completion of each applicable phase of the project. The use of the inspection card will result in the timely certification of structural and fire and life safety upon completion of project construction. This initial certification may also identify outstanding items to be completed for full accessibility compliance, which will be required to be addressed by the project's owner within a prescribed timeline in order to achieve final certification of the project by DSA.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Will Not Implement
  • Completion Date: June 2013
  • Response Date: October 2013

Current Status of Recommendations

All Recommendations in 2014-041