U.S. General Services Administration’s
Public Buildings Service
The largest public real estate organization in the United States and a provider of workspace and workplace solutions to more than 100 federal departments and agencies (8,920 government buildings comprising 342.6 million square feet of space), the GSA’s Public Buildings Service (PBS) is on a mission: to provide superior workplaces to federal agencies at good economies to the American taxpayer. All PBS resources are deployed in two fundamental activities. The first is space acquisition, either by leasing, construction, or purchase. Primarily a project management activity, this translates a customer agency’s space needs into discrete requirements, marshals the resources necessary to fulfill the requirement, and manages the execution of the project for the resulting delivery of space. The second fundamental activity - asset management - includes whether (and how much) to invest in maintaining a property, as well as the physical supervision of the buildings in the portfolio, fulfillment of contractual objections to federal customer agencies, and when (and by what means) property disposal will occur at the end of its useful life.
What makes PBS so unique, however, is that, although it is a government agency, it operates much like a private-sector real estate organization. For instance, in FY05, PBS was 10.5-percent below private-sector benchmarks for operating office buildings and reduced the vacancy rate of its inventory to a record low of 4.1 percent. Moreover, a 2005 tenant survey designed to measure tenant satisfaction gave PBS an overall satisfaction rating of 77.5 percent from tenants working in government-owned and leased buildings. In fact, PBS operates as a customer-driven organization that can rapidly accommodate the changing space needs of its customers by delivering a complete array of acquisition and disposal services for vendor management services, special support operations, and consulting services. This allows PBS customers to concentrate their efforts on their own core missions.
Other standout qualities include PBS’ recognized green initiatives, energy-reduction measures, and its Design and Construction Excellence programs. With GSA as the first agency to be recognized by the Bush Administration for achieving green status on the Presidential Management Agenda scorecard in Federal Real Property Asset Management, PBS was able to maintain operating costs at 12-percent below market costs. PBS was also the first federal agency member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Sustainability is vital to PBS’ mission, and the agency advocates high-performance design strategies that can produce efficient buildings that operate with increased asset value and higher occupant productivity. As such, certification through the USGBC’s LEED Green Building Rating System® is now required for all new GSA building projects. Need proof? Since 2002, 11 GSA projects have earned such certification, and over 60 projects are registered and currently working toward LEED certification.