Returning to Facilities - Federally Owned Building Management

GSA is following all CDC considerations and recommendations for building operations. Additionally, GSA has modified its custodial contracts and cleaning and disinfection procedures [PDF - 69 KB] for federal buildings to require disinfection using either EPA-registered disinfectants. GSA will continue to perform cleaning and disinfection as part of the daily custodial services in all GSA-controlled and -operated federal buildings in accordance with recommended CDC guidance.

Enhanced Entry Screening Services Guidance

  • Access Restriction Authority and Process: Occupant agencies in GSA-controlled facilities may close or restrict access to the public to provide for the orderly conduct of government business. To implement enhanced entry screening procedures at a GSA-controlled facility, the building’s Facility Security Committee (FSC) must convene, consult with the GSA facility manager and the highest ranking representative of the law enforcement organization responsible for protecting the property or the area -- which for GSA-controlled facilities is either the Federal Protective Service (FPS) or the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) -- and vote to adopt the enhanced entry screening procedures.
  • Procuring Screening Services: If the FSC votes to implement enhanced entry screening procedures at a multi-occupant, GSA-controlled facility, the occupant agencies are responsible for providing the funding based on their pro rata share of rentable square footage in the facility. In these cases, the occupant agencies must provide PBS with a reimbursable work authorization (“RWA”) for their pro rata share of the estimated cost before GSA can award the contract for enhanced entry screening services.
  • Compliance and Enforcement: FPS will assist in the enforcement of partial building closures (i.e., restrict access to certain individuals).

Signage Guidance

  • CDC Signage: GSA posted two CDC signs in all GSA-controlled federal buildings in late February 2020. To prepare for increased building occupancy and operations, GSA is providing more signage to post at building entrances and in common areas and restrooms in all GSA-controlled federal buildings.
  • Additional Signage: Occupant agencies are responsible for posting any additional signage in their immediate work areas. GSA is providing print-ready signage PDFs for tenant interior spaces in the workspace section [PDF - 658 KB]. They must coordinate with the building’s Designated Official (DO), FSC, and facility manager, if proposing to post any signage in the building’s entrances or common areas. Order signage from the Multiple Awards Schedules signage vendors.

HVAC Guidance

  • CDC recommendations: GSA is following the CDC’s COVID-related guidance, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) recommendations and reopening after prolonged shutdown recommendations. The CDC recommends improving the engineering controls for the building ventilation system, which may include the following activities:
    • Increasing ventilation rates.
    • Confirming ventilation systems operate properly and provide acceptable indoor air quality for each space’s current occupancy level.
    • Increasing outdoor air ventilation and using caution in highly polluted areas. With fewer people in the building, these measures increase the effective dilution ventilation per person.
    • Opening outdoor air dampers as feasible, considering outdoor weather conditions.
    • Improving central air filtration to MERV-13 or the highest compatible with the filter rack, and sealing edges of the filter to limit bypass.
    • Keeping systems running longer hours if possible, to increase air exchanges.
  • GSA HVAC activities: In GSA-operated buildings, CDC HVAC recommendations will be incorporated based on existing equipment, current configuration, and reoccupancy schedule, including disabling demand-control ventilation, increasing operating hours, increasing use of outside air, ensuring air filters are properly sealed, and upgrading air handler filtration efficiency.

    GSA is documenting the specific actions taken and planned for each government-owned, non-delegated building and will share with the occupant agencies. The information will be shared with agency points of contact and will cover HVAC systems, air filtration and plumbing systems.

Face Coverings Guidance

  • Face Coverings: Since early April 2020, CDC advised the use of face coverings (masks) while in public places. Each occupant agency is responsible for establishing any requirements or guidance for face coverings usage among its employees, contractors, and visitors. Some agencies have already issued such guidance. Each Facility Security Committee (FSC), coordinating with the GSA facility manager, is responsible for determining whether face coverings will be universally required in the facility.

Cleaning and Disinfection Guidance

  • Hand Sanitizer: In early March, GSA procured and made available alcohol-based hand sanitizer (ABHS) in all GSA-controlled and operated federal buildings. The products and dispensers are located in common areas and entrances. GSA will continue to provide hand sanitizer for the foreseeable future. GSA is making sanitizer products, disinfectant wipes, and similar products available to GSA employees in GSA work areas. Occupant agencies are responsible for funding, procuring, and making available sanitizer products, disinfectant wipes, and similar products for their employees and visitors to use within their work areas. Written approval from GSA is required to store ABHS in quantities of 10 gallons or more for all GSA owned and delegated facilities.
  • Disinfecting: CDC recommends disinfecting agency-owned personal property such as desks, workstations, computer accessories, and phones. Agencies are responsible for procuring and providing services and/or products to clean and disinfect these items as desired. This service is also available from GSA on a reimbursable basis, upon request. You can find GSA resources to help you procure disinfecting supplies at
  • Procuring cleaning products: Occupant agencies are responsible for funding, procuring, and making available sanitizer products, disinfectant wipes and similar products for use by their employees and visitors to use. Products for disaster relief and pandemic protection are available through GSA Advantage!
  • Cleaning Cost Responsibility: GSA’s COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions page has more information on the cleaning services GSA is financially responsible for.
  • Cleaning Standards: GSA has modified the existing cleaning contracts for federally owned buildings to include disinfecting requirements for high contact surfaces in common and high traffic areas as part of routine cleaning.

    Cleaning staff must wipe down all solid, high contact surfaces in building common areas (defined as those areas used or accessed by the government’s employees and visitors) at least daily. They must use a disinfectant from the EPA-registered list of products identified as effective against Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, or other products containing the same active ingredient(s) at the same or greater concentration than those on the list. Cleaning staff must use products according to the manufacturer's directions. Cleaning staff must wear disposable gloves (e.g., latex, nitrile, etc.), facemasks, and any additional personal protective equipment (PPE) that the cleaning and disinfectant product manufacturers recommend and choose disinfection applications and products that won’t damage interior finishes or furnishings.

Examples of solid, high contact surfaces in building common and high traffic areas include, but are not limited to, handrails, door knobs, key card scan pads, light switches, countertops, table tops, water faucets and handles, elevator buttons, sinks, toilets and control handles, restroom stall handles, toilet paper and other paper dispensers, door handles and push plates, water cooler and drinking fountain controls.

It does not include agency-owned equipment such as desks, telephones, computers, keyboards, docking stations, computer power supplies, and computer mouse, personal fans and heaters, desk lighting, etc.

Guidance for Confirmed or Suspected Cases

When an occupant organization at a GSA-owned facility becomes aware of a COVID-19 incident involving an employee, contractor or visitor of that organization, the organization must immediately notify all of its staff, contract employees and the GSA Facility Manager. The organization must also notify the Designated Official (“DO”) and the Facility Security Committee (“FSC”) for the facility. Furthermore, the building occupants must notify their visitors that, if they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms within 14 days of the visit, the visitor must notify the building occupant. Notification is required to vacate building occupants from potentially infected areas, including the impacted individual’s path of travel, and to restrict access to those areas to the extent the areas can be restricted without compromising the means of egress in the event of an emergency to protect other building occupants, and to ensure complete cleaning and disinfection of all affected portions of the building. Notifications to POCs for building occupants, contractors, DO and FSC, must be as soon as possible, but not later than 24 hours after the incident was first reported to GSA. When an occupant agency notifies GSA of a COVID-19 incident, they must not send any PII, such as the affected individual’s name, symptoms, COVID-19 status, or any other data that is likely to identify a particular person. The CDC has additional guidance for sick employees including: train staff to self-monitor for symptoms, isolate the individual from others and provide face coverings while in the building, prepare the sick employee for safe travel home, and seek immediate care for someone severely sick.

Additional Guidance

Last Reviewed: 2020-11-03