Report 2011-116.1 Recommendation 1 Responses

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 (Release Date: December 2011)

Recommendation #1 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.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2013

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 Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement

According to the division, its new inspection card process ensures "school buildings are constructed in accordance with approved plans by providing sign-offs for significant milestones of the construction process." Further, the Legislature considered a bill during the 2011-12 session to create a workgroup to review school construction oversight and to consider changes to the Field Act. However, that bill died. We remain concerned that allowing school districts to occupy buildings with significant safety concerns places students at risk. Should there be future legislative action in this area, the division should provide an update to us.

1-Year Agency Response

According to General Services, the State Architect determined that the division could achieve the objective of this recommendation through an inspection card system similar to one used in municipalities throughout the State. It indicated that such a system would allow for the verification of structural integrity and fire and life safety at the completion of each phase of a project and should result in timely certification upon completion of project construction. The division expects to implement the inspection card system in April 2013. (See 2013-406, p. 39)

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Partially Implemented

All Recommendations in 2011-116.1

Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.