Audit Cites Waste in Shoddy Work for Military

The Defense Department has wasted millions of dollars because of poor construction of military facilities built by private contractors who were allowed to inspect their own work, Pentagon auditors said in a new report.

The audit, performed by the department's inspector general, charged Friday that new buildings and other facilities erected for the department are being accepted despite serious defects.

The inspection program for military construction, begun in 1961, "is unique to the Department of Defense," the auditors said. "Other government agencies rely upon their own personnel to inspect the contractor's work."

Of 39 facilities visited by the auditors between November, 1982, and May, 1983, 32 of them had defects, including two costing $6.5 million and $2.3 million that "were not usable when accepted by the government," the report said.

"On one facility costing $4.9 million, there were so many deviations from the specifications that the architectural-engineering firm requested and received relief of accountability for the structural integrity of the facility," it said.

The audit found the Army Corps of Engineers and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command were spending millions of dollars to repair the defective structures instead of pursuing claims against the contractors. The two agencies were responsible for overseeing installations worth $11.2 billion in fiscal 1982.

"Approximately $3.1 million had or will be spent to repair 21 of the 32 facilities in which we found construction deficiencies," the auditors said.

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