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Artistic Concerns In Public Buildings And Improvements


Artistic Concerns In Public Buildings

Artistic concerns are also relevant. GSA regulations provide: “Federal agencies must incorporate fine arts as an integral part of the total building concept when designing new Federal buildings, and when making substantial repairs and alterations to existing Federal buildings, as appropriate. The selected fine arts, including painting, sculpture, and artistic work in other media, must reflect the national cultural heritage and emphasize the work of living American artists.”  -- Regulation; 41 C.F.R. § 102-77.10. This provision does not have an explicit statutory basis, but has long been in the regulations.

Public Buildings Act and the General Services Administration

The Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 created the General Services Administration (GSA) and centralized a number of the government’s housekeeping functions in that agency. Ten years later, Congress enacted the Public Buildings Act of 1959, Pub. L. No. 86-249, 73 Stat. 479 (Sept. 9, 1959), to do essentially the same thing for public buildings acquisition and construction.

Amendment  -- The Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 created the General Services Administration (GSA) and centralized a number of the government’s housekeeping functions in that agency. Ten years later, Congress enacted the Public Buildings Act of 1959, Pub. L. No. 86-249, 73 Stat. 479 (Sept. 9, 1959), to do essentially the same thing for public buildings acquisition and construction.


The Statute

Gives a fairly complicated definition of “public building.” The term means “a building, whether for single or multitenant occupancy, and its grounds, approaches, and appurtenances, which is generally suitable for use as office or storage space or bothby one or more federal agencies or mixed ownership Government corporations.” 40 U.S.C. § 3301(a)(5)(A). The definition then goes on to list a number of specific types of buildings and facilities that are includedin the general definition. Id. § 3301(a)(5)(B).See also the definition in GSA’s Federal Management Regulation at 41 C.F.R. § 102-71-20.

Note -- Public Buildings Amendments of 1972, Pub.L. No. 92-313, 86 Stat. 216 (June 16, 1972); Public Buildings Cooperative Use Act of 1976, Pub. L. No. 94-541, 90Stat. 2505 (Oct. 18, 1976); Public Buildings Amendments of 1988, Pub. L. No. 100-678,102 Stat. 4049 (Nov. 17, 1988).

Declaring Policy - GSA

Section 3302 of title 40 sets the policy by declaring that “Only the Administrator of General Services may construct a public building.” Section 3304 of title 40 of the United States Code deals with site acquisition. GSA is authorized to acquire sites needed for public buildings “by purchase, condemnation, donation, exchange, or otherwise.” 40 U.S.C. § 3304(a). GSA may solicit proposals but is not required to follow the competition requirements of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act or the Federal Acquisition Regulation. 40 U.S.C. § 3304(d)(2).

GSA Authority

Section 3305(b) of title 40 authorizes GSA to alter public buildings.“Alter” includes “repairing, remodeling,improving, or extending or other changes in a public building.” 40 U.S.C. § 3301(a)(1)(B). As with construction, the term includes related planning, engineering, architectural work, and similar actions. 41 C.F.R. § 102-71.20. GSA may do the work itself or may carry out any authorized construction or alteration by contract if deemed to be “most advantageous to the Government.” 40 U.S.C. §  3305(c). GSA may delegate most of its construction functions. 40 U.S.C. § 3313. For projects whose estimated cost does not exceed $100,000, delegation is mandatory upon request. 


Other Agencies  -- It may also contract with other agencies, such as the Army Corps of Engineers, under the Economy Act, 31 U.S.C. § 1535. See B-172186, Apr. 5, 1971.

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