The following is an excerpt from the report that was published by the California State Auditor, Bureau of State Audits –
December 2011 Report 2011-116.
For the full report, in PDF format, click here.
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
Our review of the Department of General Services’ implementation of the Field Act (act), revealed the following about the Division of the State Architect (division):
- While the division must certify school construction projects when they comply with the act, as of December 2010 approximately 16,400 projects statewide remained uncertified.
- Statewide, 23 percent of projects closed in the last three fiscal years remain uncertified.
- The division inconsistently used its authority to order districts to stop work on projects after identifying a potential threat to public safety.
- The division did not effectively document its determinations about the risk level of uncertified projects or to use these determinations to guide its approach to following up on those projects.
- The division’s level of oversight of school construction processes is not comprehensive—of 24 projects we reviewed, three did not have evidence of any site visits by its field engineers and eight had evidence of only one site visit.
- Although districts must submit inspectors for approval prior to construction, for 22 of 34 projects we reviewed, the division did not approve the inspectors until after construction began.
- The division does not provide the same level of construction oversight for fire and life safety and accessibility as it does for structural safety even though it reviews plans for all three disciplines.
For the results of the audit, recommendations, and Agency comments, please read the full review (PDF) here.