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entitled 'Capitol Visitor Center: Update on Status of Project's 
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Testimony: 

Before the Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, Committee on 
Appropriations, House of Representatives: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

GAO: 

For Release on Delivery Expected at 10:00 a.m. EDT: 

Tuesday, March 13, 2007: 

Capitol Visitor Center: 

Update on Status of Project's Schedule and Cost as of March 13, 2007: 

Statement of Terrell G. Dorn, Director: 
Physical Infrastructure Issues: 

GAO-07-601T: 

Madam Chair and Members of the Subcommittee: 

I appreciate the opportunity to be here today to assist the 
Subcommittee in monitoring progress on the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) 
project. My remarks will focus on (1) the Architect of the Capitol's 
(AOC) construction progress since the last CVC hearing on February 16, 
2007; and (2) the project's expected cost at completion and funding 
status.[Footnote 1] 

Today's remarks are based on our review of schedules and financial 
reports for the CVC project and related records maintained by AOC and 
its construction management contractor, Gilbane Building Company; our 
observations on the progress of work at the CVC construction site; and 
our discussions with the CVC team (AOC and its major CVC contractors), 
AOC's Chief Fire Marshal, and representatives from the U.S. Capitol 
Police. We also reviewed AOC's construction management contractor's 
periodic schedule assessments, potential change order log, and weekly 
reports on the progress of interior wall and floor stone installation. 
In addition, we reviewed the contract modifications made to date. 

At the last CVC hearing, we reported that our assessment of the 
project's schedule and expected cost at completion was still somewhat 
constrained because the CVC team was analyzing the impact on the 
project's schedule and cost of recently identified changes required for 
certain components of the fire protection and security systems. The 
impact of these changes on the project is still not fully known. 
Therefore, we could not thoroughly assess the project's schedule or 
estimated cost at completion and are basing our views on the 
information available as of March 6, 2007, recognizing our views could 
change as more information on the impact of these changes becomes 
available. 

In Summary: 

Since the February 16, 2007, CVC hearing, the CVC team has continued to 
move the project's construction forward, but work in a number of 
important areas has been delayed. According to AOC's construction 
management contractor, there were no delays in the critical path last 
month, but all of the project's 17 near-critical paths lost 
time,[Footnote 2] including 8 paths that lost a month or more. The CVC 
team has made progress on the project's heating, ventilation, and air- 
conditioning (HVAC) system; interior floor stone and ceiling 
installation; and other interior and exterior construction work. As 
noted at the last hearing, problems and uncertainty associated with the 
project's most critical activity--the fire protection system--are 
leading AOC to re-examine the project's schedule. AOC is considering 
adding time for further pretesting of major building systems, risks and 
uncertainties, and operations preparation. According to AOC, it 
anticipates that this additional time would likely move the dates for 
completing the CVC's construction to the spring of 2008 and for opening 
the CVC to the public to the summer of 2008. AOC expects to have more 
specific dates when it completes its schedule reassessment. In 
addition, problems with other important activities, including work on 
the East Front and the exhibit gallery, have not yet affected the 
project's completion date, but could do so in the future. The project 
also continues to face risks and uncertainties that could affect its 
progress, especially risks associated with the final testing of its 
major building systems, which is not scheduled to begin until July 
2007, according to the project's most recent schedule, dated January 
2007. 

As we reported at the February CVC hearing, we roughly estimate that 
the total cost of the entire CVC project at completion is likely to be 
about $592 million without an allowance for risks and uncertainties and 
over $600 million with such an allowance. We have not updated our 
estimate of the project's cost at completion with an allowance for 
risks and uncertainties. To date, about $538.4 million has been 
approved for CVC construction, including about $7.4 million in fiscal 
year 2007 appropriations. In fiscal year 2007, AOC has received an 
additional appropriated amount of $36.4 million for the CVC project, 
which AOC has not yet received approval to obligate. AOC has not 
indicated how much of the additional money is needed for construction 
or operations. AOC has also requested $20 million in fiscal year 2008 
CVC construction appropriations to cover remaining costs, and we 
estimate that AOC may need further appropriations in future fiscal 
years for construction changes and claims. 

Construction Is Progressing, but Substantial Delays Have Occurred in 
Near-Critical Paths: 

According to AOC's construction management contractor, contractor 
billings indicated that the overall CVC project is now 91 percent 
complete, compared with 90 percent reported complete at the February 16 
CVC hearing. Twelve of the CVC's 23 air-handling units were operating 
full time as of March 1; about 84 percent of interior floor stone has 
reportedly been installed; and work has progressed in the East Front. 
In addition, AOC's Chief Fire Marshal has essentially approved all shop 
drawings[Footnote 3] submitted for the fire protection system except 
those for a special fire suppression system for the exhibit gallery. In 
addition, the fire marshal expects to complete his review of the 
contractor's final plan for the fire alarm system's acceptance testing 
by mid-April. 

All Near-Critical Paths Have Been Delayed: 

The construction management contractor maintains that there have been 
no delays in the critical path shown in the January 2007 schedule. 
However, delays have occurred in all 17 near-critical paths, and 
further delays in some of these paths could affect the project's 
completion date. Work on 8 near-critical paths fell at least 4 weeks 
further behind in January. For example, according to the construction 
management contractor, the schedules for the East Front principal level 
and for the exhibit gallery's fire protection system slipped by 9 weeks 
and 5 weeks, respectively, between the December 2006 and the January 
2007 schedules. 

Because of the delays in the fire alarm system work and in several near-
critical paths, AOC has extended the scheduled construction completion 
date for the House and Senate expansion spaces. For the expansion 
spaces, the schedule slipped by 8 days--from July 27 to August 9, 2007--
according to the January 2007 schedule. The near- critical paths 
include millwork, bronze doors, and above-ceiling work. Of even greater 
concern, the dates shown in the January 2007 schedule for completing 
six near-critical paths were within 20 workdays of the critical path, 
meaning that additional delays of 12 to 20 workdays or more in these 
paths could delay the overall completion of the expansion spaces. 
Furthermore, the expansion space subcontractor has said that it has not 
yet determined whether scope changes requested by the government will 
affect the scheduled construction completion date. 

Barring further construction delays, the House and Senate expansion 
spaces will be completed before the CVC's construction, but both the 
CVC and the expansion spaces will be available for occupancy at the 
same time, because AOC is planning to test the fire protection and 
other major building systems in both facilities concurrently. 

Indicators of Construction Progress Are Mixed: 

The indicators of construction progress that we have been tracking 
continue to suggest that, despite some progress, the project's 
construction is not likely to be completed on December 21, 2007, as 
shown in the project's January 2007 schedule, unless the actions AOC is 
taking to improve the CVC team's schedule performance are effective in 
stopping slippages. First, as shown in table 1, the sequence 2 
contractor[Footnote 4] completed 8 of 9 milestones[Footnote 5] 
scheduled for completion by March 7, 2007, the date of our analysis. 
Six of these milestones were completed on time. While the number of 
completed milestones is greater this month than last,[Footnote 6] our 
analysis for this month is based on a new baseline established for the 
February schedule. Had we used the same baseline we used for the 
previous hearing, all but 1 of the milestones would have been completed 
late. AOC changed the baseline because it recognized that the older 
schedule was unrealistic, and we agree that a change in the baseline 
was necessary. 

Table 1: Sequence 2 Contractor's Progress in Meeting Selected 
Milestones Scheduled for Completion by March 13, 2007: 

Activity: Set escalator 35 truss; 
Location: West Lobby and Assembly; 
Scheduled completion: 02/12/2007; 
Actual completion: 02/20/2007. 

Activity: Set escalator 34 truss; 
Location: West Lobby and Assembly; 
Scheduled completion: 02/16/2007; 
Actual completion: 02/16/2007. 

Activity: Install glass floor, north end 1/3; 
Location: Exhibit Gallery; 
Scheduled completion: 02/28/2007; 
Actual completion: 02/19/ 2007. 

Activity: Servery area stone tile; 
Location: Food Service; 
Scheduled completion: 02/28/2007; 
Actual completion: 02/28/2007. 

Activity: Carpet; 
Location: Food Service; 
Scheduled completion: 02/28/ 2007; 
Actual completion: 03/01/2007. 

Activity: Finish drywall bulkheads; 
Location: Orientation Lobby; 
Scheduled completion: 02/28/2007; 
Actual completion: 02/15/2007. 

Activity: Foot grilles; 
Location: Great Hall; 
Scheduled completion: 03/ 05/2007; 
Actual completion: 02/26/2007. 

Activity: Ceiling installation; 
Location: House Service Level; 
Scheduled completion: 03/07/2007; 
Actual completion: [A]. 

Activity: Install glass wall north end 2/3; 
Location: Exhibit Gallery; 
Scheduled completion: 03/09/2007; 
Actual completion: 02/27/2007. 

Activity: Complete testing and balancing; 
Location: Great Hall; 
Scheduled completion: 03/09/2007; 
Actual completion: [A]. 

Source: AOC for the scheduled completion dates and AOC and its 
construction management contractor for the actual completion dates as 
of March 7, 2007. 

[A] As of March 7, 2007, AOC did not expect this work to be completed 
on time. 

[End of table] 

Second, as figure 1 shows, the sequence 2 contractor's monthly billings 
through January 2007 continue to indicate that construction work is 
about 2 months behind the scheduled completion date. Because the line 
for actual billings falls below the line for billings based on the late 
finish dates in the schedule, the work is likely to be completed later 
than scheduled. 

Figure 1: Total Billings by the Sequence 2 Contractor for the Entire 
CVC Project Compared with the Billings Needed to Finish Construction 
Work on Schedule: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: AOC's construction management contractor. 

Notes: 

The early and late lines on this figure reflect the cumulative billings 
that would be required to complete the project through contract 
modification number 160 ($242.4 million total contact value) by the 
early and late finish dates shown in the sequence 2 contractor's 
schedule. 

The actual line reflects the sequence 2 contractor's actual monthly 
billings. 

Although bills are typically submitted for payment after work is 
completed, it is often likely that construction work will be completed 
on schedule when the actual billing line falls between the early and 
the late lines in the figure. Even with the lag in billings, this 
figure indicates that the amount of work being completed and billed 
each month is not sufficient to keep the project on schedule. 

[End of figure] 

Other indicators of construction progress that we have been tracking, 
such as the number of proposed change orders, also point to further 
delays. The number of proposed change orders has continued to grow 
during sequence 2 work, even at this relatively late stage in the 
project. Proposed change orders that result in contract modifications 
for new work or rework could adversely affect the schedule, as well as 
the costs, of the project. 

Project Continues to Face Risks and Uncertainties: 

Problems in completing the installation, integration, operation, and 
testing of complex, major building systems, including the fire alarm, 
security, and HVAC systems, remain the most significant risk facing the 
project's schedule. Technical problems may not be evident until these 
systems undergo testing and commissioning.[Footnote 7] According to the 
January 2007 schedule, the HVAC system's commissioning is not planned 
to be completed until July 2007, and in the interim, much work remains. 
As of March 1, 12 of the CVC's 23 air-handling units were providing 
conditioned air to their designated spaces full time. The remaining 11 
units were reportedly ready to operate as soon as the initial control 
programming could be installed, spaces for the units could be prepared 
and cleaned, and in some cases, other work could be completed. All 23 
units still require air flow testing and balancing, control-related 
work, connection to the fire alarm system, punch-list work, and 
commissioning. [Footnote 8] While the CVC team expects the 
commissioning of the entire HVAC system to be completed in July, the 
achievability of this date is uncertain. We continue to believe that 
AOC needs to ensure that all of the remaining work and testing related 
to the CVC's major building systems is well coordinated, as we 
discussed at the Subcommittee's February CVC hearing. 

While work on the fire alarm system has advanced, it still requires 
substantial acceptance testing, as well as testing to ensure that it 
and the other major building systems operate together as intended. In 
addition, the project's schedule remains vulnerable to other risks and 
uncertainties, including design or scope changes, late identification 
or slow resolution of problems, and insufficient manpower. AOC is 
currently reassessing the schedule and considering adding more time for 
such items as further pretesting of major building systems, risks and 
uncertainties, and operations preparation. According to AOC, it 
anticipates that this additional time would likely move the CVC's 
completion date to the spring of 2008 and the CVC's date for opening to 
the public to the summer of 2008. AOC expects to have more specific 
dates when it completes its schedule reassessment. 

Cost Estimate Remains Unchanged, but Additional Funds Have Been 
Provided and More Are Likely to Be Needed: 

Our estimate of the project's cost at completion remains the same as we 
have reported since the November 15 CVC hearing--$592 million without 
provision for risks and uncertainties and over $600 million with such 
provision. As we reported at the November hearing, the $592 million 
estimate is rough, and we have not updated the $600 million estimate to 
reflect our assessment of the cost impact of risks and uncertainties. 

To date, about $538.4 million has been approved for CVC construction, 
including about $7.4 million in fiscal year 2007 appropriations. In 
fiscal year 2007, AOC has received an additional appropriated amount of 
$36.4 million for the CVC project, which AOC has not yet received 
approval to obligate. AOC has not indicated how much of the additional 
money is needed for construction or operations. AOC has also requested 
$20 million in fiscal year 2008 CVC construction appropriations to 
cover remaining costs. In addition to this requested fiscal year 2008 
funding, we estimate that AOC may need further appropriations in future 
fiscal years for construction changes and claims. 

Madam Chair, this completes my prepared statement. I would be pleased 
to answer any questions that you or Members of the Subcommittee may 
have. 

Contacts and Acknowledgments: 

For further information about this testimony, please contact Terrell 
Dorn at (202) 512-6923. Other key contributors to this testimony 
include Shirley Abel, Maria Edelstein, Elizabeth Eisenstadt, Jeanette 
Franzel, Jackie Hamilton, Bradley James, Kelly Slade, and Bernard 
Ungar. 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] GAO, Capitol Visitor Center: Update on Status of Project's Schedule 
and Cost As of February 16, 2007, GA0-07-507T (Washington, D.C.: Feb, 
16, 2007). 

[2] The critical path is the single longest path of activities through 
a project's schedule. Each day of delay in the critical path could 
delay the completion of the entire project. Near-critical paths are the 
next longest paths through the project's schedule. 

[3] Shop drawings are submittals required by the contract that provide 
detailed information on work that is to be done. 

[4] AOC decided to implement the CVC construction project in two 
phases, or sequences. The sequence 1 contract, for excavation and 
structural work, was awarded to Centex Construction Company, and the 
sequence 2 contract, for mechanical, electrical, plumbing and interior 
finishing work, was awarded to Manhattan Construction Company. In 
addition, AOC, which has overall responsibility for managing the CVC 
project, has been receiving construction management services from 
Gilbane Building Company. These services include coordinating the 
activities of the major construction contractors, monitoring worker 
safety, and providing AOC with status information for reporting to 
Congress. See Capitol Visitor Center: Priority Attention Needed to 
Manage Schedules and Contracts, GAO-05-714T (Washington, D.C.: May 17, 
2005). 

[5] The table also includes a tenth milestone, scheduled for completion 
by March 9, 2007, but as of March 7, AOC did not expect this work to be 
completed by that date. 

[6] As we reported at the February hearing, the contractor completed 4 
of 21 milestones scheduled for completion by December 30, 2006--2 
milestones on time and 2 late. 

[7] Final acceptance testing is the last test of a system's operation, 
conducted to ensure that the system meets all contract specifications 
and relevant fire and life safety code requirements and operates as 
intended. 

[8] Commissioning is a systematic process to ensure, by verification 
and documentation, that all of a facility's systems perform 
interactively as designed and intended to meet the owner's operational 
needs.  

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