Survey Manual

429.1 - Space Management

This Chapter establishes policy and prescribes procedures governing the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS's) acquisition and management of space through the General Services Administration (GSA) and other sources.


OPR: Admin/Facilities and Management Services

1. Purpose. This Chapter establishes policy and prescribes procedures governing the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS's) acquisition and management of space through the General Services Administration (GSA) and other sources. It also describes the space and lease management responsibilities of USGS officials.

2. Authority. The Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended, the Public Buildings Act of 1959, the Public Buildings Amendments of 1972, Executive Order 12411 of March 29, 1983 (Government Work Space Management Reforms), Executive Order 12512 of April 29, 1985 (Federal Real Property Management), Federal Property Management Regulations Subchapter D, and Part 425 of the Departmental Manual are the chief authorities governing the acquisition and management of space occupied by USGS activities.

3. Policy. It is USGS policy to acquire and use space in the essential minimum amounts needed to support USGS mission requirements and to provide a quality, safe workplace environment. It is also USGS policy to meet established space utilization standards, to maximize the use of available Government-owned space before leasing or otherwise acquiring space, and to provide handicapped access to USGS-occupied facilities consistent with established Governmentwide and Departmental rules.

4. Responsibilities. The Assistant Director for Administration is responsible for the USGS space management program. The program is carried out through these Administrative Division offices: the Branch of Management Support, Office of Facilities and Management Services, for the USGS Eastern Region; and the Branch of Facilities and Management Services in the Regional Management Offices of the Central and Western Regions. Where used in this chapter, "servicing Administrative Division office" or "servicing office" refers to these branches. The responsibilities of designated officials follow:

A. Chief, Office of Facilities and Management Services has the following space management responsibilities:

(1) Interprets GSA policy and implements GSA and Departmental procedures Bureau-wide.

(2) Provides program oversight and establishes Bureau policies and procedures governing the acquisition, utilization, and management of USGS-occupied space and facilities, and the operations of delegated GSA buildings.

(3) Oversees the USGS lease management program nationwide.

(4) Formulates and executes the USGS budget for GSA Rent, and exercises the responsibilities in paragraph 429.1.4B below for the Eastern Region.

B. Regional Management Officers (RMO's) have the following space management responsibilities:

(1) In maintaining functional oversight of the space management program within their regions, help USGS tenants develop space and facilities plans and budgets, improve space utilization, reduce space costs, prepare space requirements packages, and perform lease management and other space and facilities functions.

(2) Review, approve, and otherwise process Standard Forms 81 (SF 81), Requests for Space, Reimbursable Work Authorizations (GSA Forms 2957), and accompanying material to the servicing GSA regional office or USGS headquarters, as prescribed in paragraph 429.1.6 below.

(3) Where authorized, acquire leasehold interests in real property to meet emergency, short-term, or special-purpose space needs of USGS program activities.

(4) In maintaining functional oversight of the lease management program within their regions, approve alterations requests that require submission to GSA for approval, and designate an individual to serve as the primary Contracting Officer's Representative (COR) for each lease management location under their purview.

C. Office heads (the senior tenant Division officials, e.g., Water Resources Division District Chiefs) have the following space management responsibilities:

(1) Provide a safe and quality workplace environment for USGS employees and operations through efficient space utilization, effective layouts, the proper disposition of records and excess personal property, and other appropriate measures.

(2) Where additional or replacement space is required, complete the space requirements documentation described in paragraph 429.1.6 below and forward a signed SF 81 to the servicing Administrative Division office. Certify that the required space is the minimum amount required, that the request complies with established space-utilization standards and other regulations, and that funds are available for payment of all expenses incident to the provision of the space (e.g., rent, "above-standard" costs, moving expenses, and telecommunication expenses).

(3) Develop telecommunications requirements and obtain telecommunications equipment and services through the Information Systems Division.

(4) Implement the lease management program in offices where lease management responsibilities have been delegated, designate the alternate COR, and ensure that the alternate COR takes the GSA test and effectively carries out delegated responsibilities, as described in paragraph 429.1.9 below.

5. Space Utilization. Effective management of Federal real property assets has been the focus of ongoing Governmentwide initiatives, with primary emphasis on improving workspace utilization. GSA regulations require each executive agency to maintain an average adjusted utilization rate of 135 square feet or less per person in existing space. This utilization rate excludes a supplemental space factor for office support space. The regulations apply to all space housing USGS activities, including GSA-controlled space and all USGS-controlled space. The utilization standard applies to USGS space owned, constructed, leased, or obtained under cooperative agreement, joint funding agreement, interagency agreement, purchase order, memorandum of understanding, or any other mechanism. GSA has more stringent utilization standards for new or reconfigured GSA-controlled space, including space acquired through the processes described in paragraph 429.1.6 below. The target for these space assignments is 125 square feet per person for primary office space plus a maximum of 22 percent for support space.

6. Obtaining Space through GSA. USGS space requests follow one of two tracks, either directly to the servicing GSA regional office or through USGS and Department of the Interior headquarters to GSA.

A. Space Requests Forwarded Directly to GSA. Requests for space must be forwarded through the servicing Administrative Division office. The servicing office will review, approve, and submit the space requests directly to the appropriate GSA regional office unless they require Departmental approval, as prescribed in paragraph 429.1.6B below.

B. Space Requests Forwarded through the Department. Space requests in certain categories must be submitted through the headquarters Office of Facilities and Management Services, Administrative Division, and the Office of Administrative Services, Department of the Interior, for review, approval, and forwarding to GSA. Departmental approval is required for space in the following metropolitan areas: (1) Albuquerque, New Mexico; (2) Anchorage, Alaska; (3) Atlanta, Georgia; (4) Billings, Montana; (5) Boise, Idaho; (6) Boston, Massachusetts; (7) Denver, Colorado; (8) Menlo Park, California; (9) Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; (10) Phoenix, Arizona; (11) Portland, Oregon; (12) Sacramento, California; (13) Salt Lake City, Utah; (14) San Francisco, California; (15) Santa Fe, New Mexico; and (16) the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Also, coordination through the Department is required for all USGS requests for space in Federal Buildings under construction, regardless of location.

C. Space Request Procedures. Obtaining space requires effective planning and special emphasis on defining the requirement with precision, thoroughness, and attention to detail. The following procedures apply:

(1) Tenant activities should consult with the servicing Administrative Division office for their geographic area as soon as they identify the need to acquire or release space.

(2) The servicing office will provide copies of, and assistance in completing, the required documentation. Space request packages usually contain the completed SF 81, Request for Space; multiple copies of the SF 81-A, Space Requirements Worksheet; and a Space Requirements Questionnaire that addresses the requesting office's unique needs.

(3) After receiving divisional clearance, if necessary, office heads are required to submit a signed SF 81 and supporting documentation to the servicing Administrative Division office. Do not send any of this material directly to GSA. Any increase in the amount of space or a requirement for a specific location requires a justification. Usually programmatic reasons such as an explanation of the program expansion or the nature and location of field work constitute adequate justification. Office heads must ensure that the requested amount of office space meets GSA utilization standards.

(4) The servicing office will review the SF 81 and supporting documentation and make any required changes in coordination with the requesting office. It will then approve the request by completing and signing a new SF 81. The servicing office will forward the package to the servicing GSA regional office, either directly or through the Office of Facilities and Management Services, as appropriate.

7. Obtaining Space Using USGS Authority. The USGS may meet certain space needs through the use of existing or construction of new USGS facilities, the acquisition of leasehold interests in real property (i.e., leasing), and other non-GSA sources. Refer to Chapter 427.1 of the Survey Manual for policy and procedures governing USGS quarters and reporting and other requirements for USGS real property. The following procedures apply:

A. USGS-owned Facilities. USGS activities interested in using existing, vacant Bureau-owned space or funding the construction of a new building should contact the servicing Administrative Division office for assistance.

B. Leasing. Pursuant to 41 CFR 101-18, GSA has delegated the USGS blanket leasing authority for certain types of special-purpose space, including garage space and space for field crews. Pursuant to 41 CFR 101-17, GSA also may delegate 180-day leasing authority when it is unable to respond to short-deadline SF 81 space requests. USGS leasing authority is reserved to the Assistant Director for Administration, the Chief, Office of Facilities and Management Services, the Regional Management Officers, and other Administrative Division personnel who have assigned space management responsibilities.

(1) USGS offices requiring space in commercial facilities for conferences, meetings, and other short-term use must first determine that Government-controlled space is not available. They should contact their servicing office (or Administrative Division facility staff at the Reston, Denver, and Menlo Park centers), which will contact GSA to determine if space is available. This determination will be annotated on the originating office's requisition.

(2) For continuing space requirements acquired pursuant to delegated 41 CFR 101-18 authority, office heads should notify the servicing Administrative Division office at least 90 days prior to the expiration of the current lease. Requirements for new or additional space that would be leased under this delegation should be forwarded to the servicing office at least 120 days prior to the date the space is required.

(3) USGS leasing will be accomplished with due regard to USGS program activities and consistent with delegations of authority, the provisions of 41 CFR 101, and applicable GSA leasing guidelines and practices. To the maximum possible extent, USGS leases awarded under a 41 CFR 101-17 delegation will incorporate standard GSA terms and conditions.

C. Other non-GSA Space Sources. Activities with which the USGS collaborates on joint research and other projects may propose to provide space under the terms of a cooperative or similar agreement. The space utilization provisions of paragraph 429.1.5 above apply to the space provided under these agreements. The head of the affected USGS office should consult with the servicing Administrative Division office to examine comparable costs of other space sources.

8. Releasing Space. Whenever space is no longer needed, office heads should notify their servicing Administrative Division office, which will process the release of the space to GSA. GSA generally requires at least a 120-day notice for the release of space.

9. Lease Management. The May 1986 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the Administrator of General Services and approved by the Secretary of the Interior commits the Department of the Interior to accept lease management responsibilities for leased locations where it is the sole or primary tenant. The lease management program delegates authority for the USGS to engage in direct contact with lessors to promote efficient facility support and ensure compliance with lease terms. GSA formally designates USGS representatives as CORs once they pass an examination administered through the servicing Administrative Division office.

A. Restrictions. There are both GSA and USGS restrictions on the lease management authority delegated to CORs pursuant to this program. The MOU includes specific limitations on delegated authority. GSA does not delegate, for example, the authority to acquire space through this program, and retains the ultimate authority for lease administration. Similarly, only the GSA contracting officer may amend a GSA lease. As to USGS restrictions, CORs may acquire services and expend funds under this program only if they otherwise have delegated DOI and USGS authority for these purposes. If they do not have the required USGS authority, they should complete all assigned technical tasks but must rely on assigned support staff (who have requisite authority) to complete the necessary transaction. For example, since USGS procurement rules apply to certain lease management actions, CORs without procurement warrants must rely on warranted personnel to issue orders. Also, both primary and alternate CORs must ensure compliance with the MOU's approval and other requirements governing tenant alterations.

B. Primary CORs are space management specialists located in the Regional Management Office or the Office of Facilities and Management Services, Administrative Division. The primary CORs:

(1) Maintain a current file copy of the lease. When requested by GSA, obtain a copy of the official lease enforcement file from the alternate COR and provide it to the GSA Contracting Officer.

(2) Approve alternate COR requests to negotiate the overtime rate for a one-time or sporadic need for overtime services. If overtime services are required on a frequent and continuing basis, the primary COR will contact the GSA Contracting Officer for appropriate action.

(3) In accordance with paragraph II. c. of the MOU, review proposed space alteration requirements for technical sufficiency, prepare necessary Government cost estimates, clear the project through GSA (as required), and submit completed requirements packages to the servicing USGS procurement and contracts office.

(4) Assist the alternate COR in the performance of lease management functions, as needed, and evaluate alternate COR performance through site visits or other means.

(5) Assist GSA during on-site delegation evaluations.

C. Alternate CORs, located on-site, have the following responsibilities:

(1) Maintain the official lease enforcement file, including a copy of the current lease with all amendments, documentation of contacts with lessor, copies of correspondence pertaining to the space, alteration approvals and documentation, and lease inspection reports for each delegated location under their jurisdiction. On request, submit a copy of the official lease enforcement file to the primary COR.

(2) Deal directly with the lessor on matters relating to the provision of building support such as heating, air conditioning, utilities, and janitorial services within the guidelines established by GSA. Maintain a file of all oral and written communications with the lessor.

(3) At least every 30 days, conduct and document inspections of the leased space to ensure lessor compliance with lease terms such as those governing delivery of services, utilities and maintenance. This requires a working knowledge of all lease provisions.

(4) If the Government pays for utilities, verify utility bills to ensure charges to the Government are proper and forward the bills to the appropriate office for payment.

(5) Where local resolution is not possible, submit to the primary COR any disputed claims received from the lessor for repairs, overtime services, or other expenses.

(6) Accomplish alterations in accordance with paragraph II. c. of the MOU and applicable USGS procurement directives. Obtain written permission for any alteration and a waiver of restoration from the lessor prior to proceeding with any alteration.

(7) Inspect completed alteration work prior to acceptance to ensure that established GSA, safety, and other applicable standards are met. Forward copies of all documents, receipts, and related alteration documents to the primary COR.

(8) Assist GSA in conducting on-site delegation evaluations.

D. GSA Approval. Tenant alterations require prior GSA approval if they have an estimated value exceeding $50,000, result in a change in the classification of the space (e.g., converting office space to ADP space), or result in a change in the utilities and/or maintenance requirements of the leased space. If any of these conditions are expected, the alternate COR must advise the primary COR, who will seek GSA approval through the Director of Real Estate at the servicing GSA region. As detailed in paragraph II. c. (5) of the MOU, GSA requires a written request, accompanied by narratives, plans, drawings, schematics, and (upon completion) as-built drawings of all building changes resulting from the alterations.

E. Alterations Performed under the Lease. For alterations covered by unit price agreements in the GSA lease, alternate CORs may initiate and a local warranted contracting officer (CO), within the limits of the CO's delegated procurement authority, may issue orders to the lessor. The alternate COR must send the servicing GSA regional office a copy of the orders. Each order must cite the appropriate USGS account and instruct the lessor to bill the USGS directly.

F. Alterations not Performed under the Lease. Where alterations cannot be accommodated under the lease, alternate CORs must process their requirements through the primary COR. Among other things, the primary COR will review the proposed requirements for technical sufficiency, prepare necessary Government cost estimates, clear the project through GSA (as required), and forward the requirements to the USGS procurement and contracts office servicing that location.