The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) commends the U.S. House of Representatives for its recent passage (February 7, 2012) of the “Civilian Property Realignment Act,” (CPRA) H.R. 1734, a bill which promises to reduce the size of the federal government’s footprint and save taxpayers billions of dollars through realignment and consolidation of the federal real estate portfolio. IFMA was joined by industry partners including the American Institute of Architects (AIA), ASHRAE, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, International Code Council (ICC), National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), National Institute of Building Services (NIBS), and U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in supporting the proposed legislation, which will now make its way to the U.S. Senate.
Introduced last year by Representative Jeff Denham, R-A, chair of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, the bill addresses federal real estate holdings and seeks to maximize space utilization, create value in underperforming assets, reduce reliance on costly leasing, improve the overall management and controls related to federal properties, and maximize the return to the taxpayer. Thirty-one House members co-sponsored the bill.
IFMA recognizes the co-sponsors of this bill as leaders in Congress and applauds them for their hard work in promoting it and for recognizing the important role space and asset utilization play in achieving high performance buildings and maximizing the value of federal property.
“The Civilian Property Realignment Act is a critical next step in achieving true high performance federal buildings capable of supporting the ever changing federal workforce,” said Tony Keane, CAE, IFMA president and CEO.
“The act incorporates industry leading facility management practices to streamline the portfolio of federal buildings. Facility managers routinely do more with less. The association and its members are pleased to serve as a resource to Congress and the administration as they try to do the same,” Keane added.
The White House Office of Management and Budget estimates that the benefit to taxpayers from passage of the proposed legislation will be at least US$15 billion, with the potential for even greater savings. The bill is self-funding, providing for a one-time appropriation of US$88 million, after which proceeds from the sale of excess federal properties would be used to repay the treasury and give taxpayers a 60% windfall on any property sold.
“I believe the potential to save billions of dollars is real,” said Denham. “Given our trillion dollar deficit and skyrocketing debt, we must examine every area of government and look for ways to cut spending. My bill establishes a nine person Civilian Property Realignment Commission to take politics out of the process, increase transparency and save billions of taxpayer dollars.”
An amendment to the bill introduced on February 6, 2012 by Representative Russ Carnahan, D-MO, requires federal agencies to conduct a full life cycle cost analysis of any building design, construction, or operations and maintenance projects, thereby helping the U.S. government further reduce operating costs.
“We can’t be a penny wise and a pound foolish when it comes to building construction,” said Carnahan. “Life cycle cost analysis is common sense. That’s why I’m glad to see my colleagues vote for this amendment. We can save taxpayer money and energy just by making sure we take into account all the costs of construction.”
As the nation’s largest holder of real estate, the federal government has the opportunity and resources to influence the development and implementation of integrated building operation, maintenance, and space utilization practices. Federal buildings should serve as leading examples of economically sustainable facility management practices and can do so by maximizing the use of existing space in the manner envisioned by the CPRA. For more information about high-performance federal buildings, visit the High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition.