Norfolk Naval Shipyard

Trump Defunds Critical Life-Safety Upgrades At Navy Building 

  September 19, 2019

By Greg Zimmerman

Facility managers are probably used to the powers-that-be arbitrarily yanking critical funding that had been earmarked for much-needed preventive maintenance or facility upgrades. It happens all the time, despite how much such penny-pinching or "funding redirection" inhibits the overall health of an organization. Facility managers at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard were again given a stark reminder of how common and regrettable this defunding can be.

To fund his border wall, Trump has pulled money from 127 military construction projects. This includes a project on the drawing board to replace Building #510 at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, which is in dire need of upgrades to key fire and life safety systems. The building has been cited for “numerous life-safety violations,” according to the Washington Post, and has been labeled a “high-risk environment.” The building has no sprinkler system, inadequate fire alarms, and not enough exits. 

A budget request for $26 million, which had been granted but has now been pulled to fund the wall, puts 330 members of the military and civilians working 256,000 man-hours at high risk, according to the Post. In addition to the life-safety issues, the heat and humidity in the building are such that a 60-ton portable HVAC unit is required, but even that hasn’t been enough to avoid equipment problems. 

This post was submitted by Greg Zimmerman, executive editor, Building Operating Management and Read his cover story about Chris Walinski and his mission to make open offices flexible and productive


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