Site Selection Process Step 2 Develop the Work Plan
The Site Selection Work Plan is an important project management tool. The site selection process is complex and requires careful management of the schedule, budget, and team resources. Creating and using the Work Plan establishes a framework for organizing and leading the site selection effort.
- Provide guidance to ensure that site selection is performed accurately and completely;
- Ensure that the appropriate experts and professionals participate at the right time;
- Complete the site selection tasks in an efficient manner; and
- Keep stakeholders informed and aid in reaching consensus for the recommended sites(s).
Select Site Investigation Team
Develop a project-staffing plan that addresses roles, responsibilities, reporting structures, and decision-makers. The plan also should identify at what point in the process each member joins the team.
Develop Work Plan
Develop a Work Plan that addresses scope, schedule, approval process, and budget.
Review and Revise General, Technical, and Financial Site Criteria
Review and customize site selection criteria for the specific needs of the project, customer agency, location, and budget.
Develop Communications Plan
Develop a communications strategy that informs the customer agency, GSA, local community, congressional delegations, and other stakeholders of the process, activities, and results.
|GSA always provides the leadership and “in-house" subject matter expertise on site selection, even if some expertise and roles are outsourced.|
This task typically takes two (2) weeks. Factors impacting duration:
- The project type and location (Some properties will need more analysis and require more specialized evaluation than others. For example, dense urban sites or brownfield properties may require greater investigation on historic preservation, renovation, or remediation efforts.)
- Customer agency participation and expectations
- Ability of Team Leader to manage the process based on experience, workload,
|When determining team composition, it is important to consider the following:
Select Site Investigation Team
A strong and competent Project Team contributes more to successful site selection than any other item identified in this Guide.
The Asset Business Team is organized by Portfolio during initial project planning and is responsible for project creation. In the early stages, the Asset/Portfolio Manager typically leads the team, which comprises representatives from major GSA disciplines and the
customer agency. The Asset Business Team evolves into the Project Team. This team brings in particular specialties (as contractor/consultants or as team members), based on the individual needs of the project. When the project scope is fully identified, the Project Team is restructured. Led by a Project Manager, the reorganized team includes other members, such as an appraiser, Urban Development Officer, or Historic Preservation Officer, as required. The Project Manager designates a Team Leader, as appropriate, for project planning and delivery. The Team Leader develops the Work Plan and the Communications Plan.
The Site Investigation Team can be viewed as a subset of the overall Project Team. The Project Manager manages the overall construction project and ensures that each program subteam has the necessary resources and assistance to accomplish their “part" of the project. The program areas such as procurement and sites, which are subsets of the overall project, also may have Team Leaders, that is, the Site Investigation Team Leader leads the Site Investigation Team and coordinates acquisition and relocation of real property.
Staffing for the project addresses roles, responsibilities, reporting structures, and decision-making authority. The size of a Site Investigation Team is determined by the complexity of the project. The composition is dependent on which GSA staff are available, what expertise must be contracted, and when team members’ expertise is required.
|Site Investigation Teams (including any GSA Central Office members) should have regular meetings with Regional Management (ARA or RA).|
- Identify the Team Leader (usually a Portfolio Manager or Site Acquisition Contracting Officer from the Region); select members for the Site Investigation Team, including core GSA team members (ideally continuing from the Feasibility Study effort); and choose a Program Coordinator from the GSA Central Office.
- Write the project-staffing plan. This plan should include roles, responsibilities, functions, and a detailed list of activities and should articulate decision-making and leadership/management responsibilities. (See Exhibit 2.1: Site Investigation Team Member Worksheet for potential team members.) Use the tools in “Appendix C: Site Investigation Team Roles/Responsibilities and Worksheet" for a description of team member roles and responsibilities and for help when mapping team member responsibilities. Identify requirements for contractors to support the Site Investigation Team.
- Initiate the selection of contractors and manage their participation. Contracted services may include architectural programming, real estate market surveys, real estate appraisals, NEPA and environmental site assessments, NHPA and historic preservation and cultural investigations, civil engineering, and other specialty functions.
|Team Leaders and members should have access to and be familiar with GSA Guidebook 1: Acquisition of Real Property, which offers a comprehensive look at all aspects of the process.|
- Identification and definition of team members and contractor roles
- The right expertise on the team
This task typically takes two (2) weeks.
“Appendix C: Site Investigation Team Roles/Responsibilities and Worksheet"
GSA Guidebook 1: Acquisition of Real Property, “Chapter 1, Section 2: Authority"; “Chapter 1, Section 3: Site Selection Criteria"; “Chapter 1, Section 13: Site Acquisition Report" (especially the notes about team composition); “Chapter 1, Section 14: Responsibilities of the Site Specialist"
|Site Investigation Team: GSA|
|Team Leader||Site Selection Specialist|
|Contracting Officer||Project Manager|
|Property Development Manager||Portfolio Manager|
|Regional Counsel||Regional Historic Preservation Officer|
|Office of the Chief Architect Representatives||Other GSA Specialists|
Center for Courthouse Programs
Border Station Center
Urban Development Specialist
Regional Environmental Quality Advisor
|Site Investigation Team: Customer Agency|
|Administrative Services Representative||Human Resources Representative|
|National Office Representative||Real Estate Group Representative|
|Site Investigation Team: Contractor/Consultant|
|Historic/Cultural Preservation Consultant||Archaeologist|
|Code Review Expert||Geotechnical Engineer|
|Civil Engineer||Environmental Engineer (Conservation)|
|Structural Engineer (Seismic)||Security/Blast Assessment Consultant|
|Industrial Hygienist||Real Estate Broker|
|Real Estate Appraiser||Cost Estimator|
|Constructability Advisor||Demographic Analyst|
|Labor Analyst||Local Tax Advisor|
|Title Search Consultant||Acquisition Law Advisor|
|Financial Advisor (Negotiation of Transaction)||Zoning Attorney|
|Land Use Planner||Urban Planner|
|The Work Plan includes information in the following areas:
Develop Work Plan
Develop a detailed Site Selection Work Plan. Review the Project Management Plan (PMP) and coordinate the site investigation activities with it. The Work Plan is a key tool that the team can use to manage the work. The plan can be shared with the customer agency and some stakeholders to explain the process and its requirements, as well as the schedule.
- Develop the project budget. Evaluate funding (BA61 or RWA) for contractors, travel, and other expenses. Determine whether funds are sufficient for the project needs. Review site acquisition budget and update as necessary. Review procurement requirements in order to bring in contractors on schedule.
- Review project characteristics. Identify key factors about the project or the location that impact the Work Plan. Document project history and local context. Verify coordination with other completed or ongoing studies. Review project requirements and location characteristics to identify key criteria that impact scope, schedule, and budget.
Typical site selection activities average nine (9) months to complete. Longer, more complex site selections may require two (2) years to complete.
- Update the site selection schedule. Review typical schedule milestones. Determine whether there are any long-lead-time items, such as NEPA, NHPA, or other special studies or lengthy negotiations with community groups, that have a strong influence on scope, schedule, budget, or team composition. Include time for team meetings, GSA and customer agency review periods, and vacations.
- Use Exhibit 2.2: Site Selection Process Schedule as an initial planning baseline for typical schedule and task durations. Determine how this project deviates from Exhibit 2.2 to develop an appropriate time line and schedule, as every project and process is unique in some aspect. Identify and commit to major site selection milestones.
Determine when to initiate contracting for NEPA, NHPA (Section 106), and other required documentation.
- Identify project approval processes. Review the approval processes for GSA, the customer agency, local government, and others. Determine typical time frames and milestones. Add this information to the project schedule and understand coordination requirements.
- Establish project management controls for site investigation in coordination with the PMP. Plan how to work together as a team and how to manage the release of predecisional information, including the budget and schedule. Identify measures of success or project performance metrics.
- Update the project directory from the PMP to include all GSA and customer agency representatives, local officials, and other team members.
There are three categories of site selection criteria:
- Project requirements,
- Technical factors, and
- Financial factors .
- Review the draft Work Plan with key stakeholders, including the customer agency, GSA Regional Office, and GSA Central Office. Confirm coordination requirements within GSA and among GSA, tenant agencies, and other outside organizations. Provide a clear understanding of roles, responsibilities, and time frames for activities. Determine major project concerns, limitations, and key milestones involved in site selection, scheduling, funding, procurement, and so forth.
This task typical takes two (2) weeks.
- Confirmation of scope of site selection activities
- Establishment of approval process and participants
- Definition of schedule and milestones
- Validation of budget
“Troubleshooting Guide”; “NEPA Activities in Site Selection”; “Appendix C: Site Investigation Team Roles/ Responsibilities and Worksheet”
GSA Guidebook 1: Acquisition of Real Property, “Chapter 1, Section 2: Authority”; “Chapter 1, Section 3: Site Selection Criteria”; “Chapter 1, Section 4: Site Sustainability Considerations”; “Chapter 1, Section 5: Environmental Justice”; “Chapter 1, Section 13: Site Acquisition Report” (especially the notes about team composition); “Appendix 18: Specifications for GSA Site Investigation Report: GSA Form 1433”; “Appendix 19: Site Acquisition Time Line”; “Appendix 20: Utilities List Form”; “Appendix 21: Site Investigation—List of Items Needed”; “Appendix 22: Tabulation of Undesirable Characteristics”; “Appendix 23: Construction Management Site Data Inventory: GSA Form 1239”
Review and Revise General, Technical, and Financial Site Criteria
The site selection process comprises a series of data collection and evaluation activities. Appropriate criteria topics are identified for each project and used as an evaluation framework. The criteria topics always must be selected based on each project’s need and each community’s offerings of sites. As a result, there are no universal lists of criteria for every site selection. The evaluation framework is developed each time. This evaluation framework ensures that each site selection is based on a complete and correct set of criteria. Each step uses the framework, but the criteria may become more specific as the process proceeds, defining the evaluation standard in each step.
This Guide includes four criteria checklists to help review and define the appropriate evaluation criteria for each step of the process. Each checklist uses three categories of criteria:
- Project requirements are based on the customer agency’s needs, facility and parking requirements, and operation.
- Technical factors reflect technical functions such as best practices in site design, architecture, and facility construction and operation; as well as federal requirements and policies, including historic preservation, sustainability, and so forth.
- Financial factors are those that contribute to the facility’s design, construction, and operation.
Each of these three categories comprises a series of subcategory topics, which are included in every checklist. Examples of the type of criteria and the level of evaluation are provided in the checklist for each step. Remember that not every criteria topic is needed for every project.
- Review Exhibit 2.3: Site Selection Criteria Category Checklist to identify the criteria categories appropriate for this project and to eliminate categories that are not needed. The criteria categories are offered as a menu of possibilities. It is unlikely that a project requires all of the categories. Make sure to refer to the Feasibility Study for local and site factors previously identified.
- Prioritize the major criteria. Consider how the type and importance of criteria for this project may impact the Work Plan and success of the site selection.
- Identify potential topics for future NEPA, NHPA, and special studies. Determine whether contractors or GSA specialists should be brought on board to support the Site Investigation Team.
- Identification of the site selection criteria categories early in the Work Plan
- Fine-tuning of the team’s effort, based on the project and location
This task typically takes two (2) weeks.
“NEPA Activities in Site Selection”; “Appendix B: Major Federal Laws, Executive Orders, Regulations, and GSA Directives”
GSA Guidebook 1: Acquisition of Real Property, “Appendix 1: Fact Sheet on Summaries of NEPA, Associated Laws, and Executive Orders”; “Appendix 2: Fact Sheet—Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)”; “Appendix 3: Statutes, Regulations, and Administrative Directives That Influence and Control Site Selection”; “Appendix 4: List of Regional Environmental Specialists”; “Appendix 5: Examples of Site Selection Criteria”; “Appendix 6: E.O. 12072—Federal Space Management“; “Appendix 7: Fact Sheet on E.O. 11988—Floodplain Management”; “Appendix 8: P-100—Facilities Standards and Site Planning Criteria” (excerpts); “Appendix 9: U.S. Courts Design Guide” (excerpts); “Appendix 10: Commissioner Robert Peck’s Memorandum to Assistant Regional Administrators, dated July 31, 1998, Implementation of E.O. 13006—Locating Federal Facilities on Historic Properties in Our Nation’s Central Cities”; “Appendix 11: Fact Sheet—Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)”; “Appendix 12: Fact Sheet—GSA Policy on Environmental Justice”
U.S. General Services Administration, Office of Real Property, March 2001, Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service; U.S. General Services Administration, Office of Governmentwide Policy, Office of Real Property, April 1998, General Reference Guide for Real Property Policy; American Institute of Architects, 1994, The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice: Site Analysis (Section 3.62) “Chapter 2”, Washington, DC: AIA
Develop Communications Plan
Effective communications bring important benefits to the project by managing customer agency, stakeholder, and community expectations; building consensus; supporting the project schedule; and enhancing coordination within the team and with the customer agency. The Communications Specialist team member can assist the Team Leader and others with these activities.
- Understand the context of the project and the community.
- Review previous communications approaches and strategies. Review contacts made with federal, state, and local agencies during the Feasibility Study.
- Review project and local history, local issues, and activities that may create interest or controversy around the project, such as local elections and other development activities.
- Identify key stakeholders in terms of the following:
Organization (size and structure);
Level of influence;
Issues of interest; and
Leaders and spokespersons, for contact information.
Exhibit 2.3: Site Selection Criteria Category Checklist Project Requirements Required Site Area
- Minimum/Maximum Area
- Expansion Capabilities
- Delineated Area Boundaries
- Building Footprint Area
- Circulation and Open Space
- Entry Control
- Site Access
- Redevelopment and Rehabilitation Potential
- Alternative Transit Availability
- Energy Efficiency or Reduction in Usage
- Habitat Preservation or Improvement
- LEED Credit Potential
Neighborhood Character/Immediate Surroundings Traffic and Transportation
- Public Transit/Walkability
- Service Access
- Public Parking
- Traffic Capacity
Image and Visibility Local Planning Requirements/
- Land Use Plans
- Local Initiatives
Budget Site and Design Prospectus Schedule Technical Factors Physical Elements
- Site Context/Location
- Physical Features
- Existing Improvements and Buildings
- Vegetation and Landscape
- Archaeological Features
- Environmental Hazards
- Threatened, Rare, and Endangered Species
Zoning and Local Codes Public Streets and Alleys, Drives, Curbs and Walks Subsurface/Geotechnical Conditions Seismic Conditions/Requirements Energy Conservation/Utilities
- Voice and Data
- Sanitary Sewer
- Storm Drainage
Historic Preservation/Site History
- Historic Preservation Eligibility or Designation
- Former Site Uses, History of Existing Structures
- Local Groups
Existing Use, Ownership, and Control
- Current Uses
- Adjacent Uses
- Type of Land Ownership
- Function and Pattern of Land Use
Community Services Location, Type, and Size Financial Factors Site Acquisition and Relocation Costs Demolition/Remediation Costs Site Construction and Preparation Costs Infrastructure Improvements Local Economic Development Impact Funding Sources Through Partnering GSA Financial Performance
- Develop a schedule of planned communications around project milestones, such as activity commencement and completion dates. Develop a protocol for tracking and responding to potential problems.
- Identify communications venues that may be used to distribute information about the project, such as the following:
- GSA website.
- Customer agency website or newsletter.
- City or local customer agency website.
- Local newspapers, TV, and radio.
- Local interest newsletters and websites.
- Summarize this information and prepare the Communications Plan. Review the Communication Plan with the Site Investigation Team and the communications staff for the Region, GSA Central Office, and customer agency.
Communications Plan with analysis of stakeholders, potential issues, and media venues
This typically takes two (2) weeks. Factors impacting duration:
- Number of stakeholders
- Size and scope of project
- Volatility of issues
“Appendix E: Professional Organizations and Resources for Site Selection”
U.S. General Services Administration, Office of Real Property, October 2001, Real Estate and Workplace Contacts Directory: A Guide to Real Estate Contacts in the Federal Government, International Organizations, and Related Association