This is the accessible text file for GAO report number GAO-07-897T 
entitled 'Capitol Visitor Center: Update on Status of project's 
Schedule and Cost as of June 27, 2007' which was released on June 27, 
2007. 

This text file was formatted by the U.S. Government Accountability 
Office (GAO) to be accessible to users with visual impairments, as part 
of a longer term project to improve GAO products' accessibility. Every 
attempt has been made to maintain the structural and data integrity of 
the original printed product. Accessibility features, such as text 
descriptions of tables, consecutively numbered footnotes placed at the 
end of the file, and the text of agency comment letters, are provided 
but may not exactly duplicate the presentation or format of the printed 
version. The portable document format (PDF) file is an exact electronic 
replica of the printed version. We welcome your feedback. Please E-mail 
your comments regarding the contents or accessibility features of this 
document to Webmaster@gao.gov. 

This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright 
protection in the United States. It may be reproduced and distributed 
in its entirety without further permission from GAO. Because this work 
may contain copyrighted images or other material, permission from the 
copyright holder may be necessary if you wish to reproduce this 
material separately. 

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 9:00 a.m. EDT: 

Wednesday, June 27, 2007: 

Capitol Visitor Center: 

Update on Status of Project's Schedule and Cost as of June 27, 2007: 

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

GAO-07-897T: 

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 April 24, 
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 stonework. In 
addition, we reviewed the contract modifications made to date. 

Summary: 

Since the April 24, 2007, CVC hearing, the project's construction has 
progressed, and AOC is still projecting a June 27, 2008, completion 
date.[Footnote 2] Although the CVC team has avoided further delays in 
the project's critical path (i.e., the work on the fire alarm system), 
activities on most of the project's near-critical paths have fallen 
behind schedule, and further delays are possible.[Footnote 3] During 
the past 2 months, the CVC team has made progress on the project's 
heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system, interior wall 
stone and ceiling installation, and other interior and exterior 
construction work. However, problems have occurred in such near- 
critical activities as the ceiling close-ins in the upper level 
security and orientation lobbies and elements of the House and Senate 
expansion spaces, and a number of risks to the project's schedule 
remain. These include potential problems in completing the 
installation, integration, operation, and testing of complex, major 
building systems, including the fire alarm, security, and HVAC systems. 
For example, the subcontractor that is installing the fire alarm system 
told AOC in April that the installation may not proceed as scheduled 
because of cash flow issues and delays in other subcontractors' work. 
The subcontractor's cash flow issues are, in turn, related to another 
risk to the project's schedule--unsettled change order requests. 
Finally, a new risk emerged this month, when problems with the HVAC 
automated control system delayed the completion of efforts to test and 
balance of the HVAC units. Given these and other risks to the project's 
schedule, we believe that AOC will be able to meet or come close to 
meeting its scheduled construction completion date only if the CVC team 
promptly makes significant improvements in its execution of the project 
and the project's schedule. 

At the November 15, 2006, CVC hearing, we reported 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. Because the project's expected 
completion date remains uncertain, we have not updated these estimates. 
To date, about $538.4 million has been approved for CVC construction, 
including about $7.4 million in fiscal year 2007 appropriations. For 
fiscal year 2007, AOC has also received an additional appropriation of 
$36.4 million for the CVC project, which AOC has not yet received 
approval to obligate. AOC has indicated that of this amount, 
approximately $23.8 million will be used for construction and $12.6 
will be used for 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 claims. 

Construction Is Progressing, but Delays in Work on Near-critical Paths 
and Other Risks Could Affect the Scheduled Completion Date: 

According to AOC's construction management contractor, in dollar terms, 
the overall CVC project is 95 percent complete, compared with 93 
percent reported complete at the April 24 CVC hearing. Twenty-one of 
the CVC's 23 air handling units were reportedly operating full time as 
of June 21, and work has progressed in the East Front. 

Project's Completion Date Remains Unchanged, but Delays in Near- 
critical Paths Could Jeopardize Progress on Critical Path: 

According to AOC's construction management contractor, there have been 
no delays in the critical path shown in the project's May 2007 
schedule, but there have been delays in 13 of 17 near-critical paths. 
As we noted at the April 24 hearing, this schedule includes about 3 
additional months for slippages, risks, and uncertainties. Despite this 
additional time, further substantial delays in some near-critical paths 
could affect the project's completion date. For example, delays in 
ceiling installation, a near-critical-path activity, could limit the 
installation of fire alarm devices, a critical-path activity. Work on 5 
near-critical paths fell at least 3 weeks further behind in May. For 
example, according to the construction management contractor, the 
schedule for the ceiling close-ins in the upper level security and 
orientation lobbies slipped by 22 days, or 4.4 work weeks. 

While the date for completing the CVC's construction remains unchanged, 
the sequence 2 contractor extended the schedule for completing the 
construction of the House and Senate expansion spaces because of delays 
in the House hearing room and in several near-critical-path activities, 
including testing and balancing the HVAC system, mounting fire alarm 
devices, and framing ceilings. As a result, the schedule for completing 
the expansion spaces slipped by about 1.5 weeks--to November 20, 2007-
-according to the project's May 2007 schedule. 

One indicator of construction progress we have been tracking--the 
completion date for certain work activities--shows that the project is 
not progressing as well as planned. For example, as shown in table 1, 
the sequence 2 contractor completed 6 of 16 scheduled completion dates 
on time and completed 3 others late. 

Table 1: Activities Being Tracked for the Capitol Visitor Center, April 
11 through June 22, 2007: 

Activity: Fabric ceiling panels; 
Location: West lobby & assembly; 
Scheduled completion: 4/23/2007; 
Actual completion: 3/23/2007. 

Activity: Security furniture installed; 
Location: Security; 
Scheduled completion: 6/7/2007; 
Actual completion: 3/27/2007. 

Activity: Stone stairs #29; 
Location: East Front ground; 
Scheduled completion: 5/23/2007; 
Actual completion: 4/05/2007. 

Activity: Front stage millwork; 
Location: Visitor auditorium; 
Scheduled completion: 6/18/2007; 
Actual completion: 5/8/2007. 

Activity: Wall stone Area #2; 
Location: East Front principal; 
Scheduled completion: 5/29/07; 
Actual completion: 5/25/2007. 

Activity: Testing & balancing AHU #7; 
Location: Security lobbies; 
Scheduled completion: 6/11/2007; 
Actual completion: 6/5/2007. 

Activity: Receive pretest plan; 
Location: Life safety; 
Scheduled completion: 5/01/2007; 
Actual completion: 5/08/2007. 

Activity: Plaster walls; 
Location: Library of Congress tunnel; 
Scheduled completion: 6/1/2007; 
Actual completion: 6/5/2007. 

Activity: Testing & balancing AHU #1; 
Location: Exhibit gallery; 
Scheduled completion: 5/28/2007; 
Actual completion: 6/11/2007. 

Activity: Complete glass floor installation; 
Location: Exhibit gallery; 
Scheduled completion: 5/22/2007; 
Actual completion: [Empty]. 

Activity: Ceiling stone; 
Location: East Front principal; 
Scheduled completion: 5/29/2007; 
Actual completion: [Empty]. 

Activity: Stone stairs; 
Location: East Front principal; 
Scheduled completion: 5/29/2007; 
Actual completion: [Empty]. 

Activity: Carpet; 
Location: Visitor auditorium; 
Scheduled completion: 5/30/2007; 
Actual completion: [Empty]. 

Activity: Floor stone; 
Location: East Front basement; 
Scheduled completion: 6/9/2007; 
Actual completion: [Empty]. 

Activity: Wall stone Area #2; 
Location: East Front gallery; 
Scheduled completion: 6/9/2007; 
Actual completion: [Empty]. 

Activity: Testing & balancing AHU #20; 
Location: South circulation; 
Scheduled completion: 6/21/2007; 
Actual completion: [Empty]. 

Source: AOC and its construction management and sequence 2 contractors. 

[End of table] 

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. Delays continue, and technical problems remain a 
risk until these systems have been installed, integrated, and 
successfully tested. Moreover, problems with these systems may not be 
evident until their final acceptance testing. 

In April the subcontractor responsible for installing the fire alarm 
system told AOC that the system's installation may not proceed as 
scheduled because of contractual issues affecting the subcontractor's 
receipt of payments and delays in other subcontractors' work that must 
be completed before the fire alarm system can be installed. They 
attribute these payment issues to unsettled change order requests. AOC 
and its construction management contractor have worked to settle these 
change order requests, which were intended to increase the funds 
available to the subcontractor. This month, the same subcontractor told 
AOC that there are additional issues to be addressed. AOC officials 
told us they are investigating the issues. 

Problems in commissioning the project's HVAC system remain a risk even 
though, as of June 21, 2007, 21 of the CVC's 23 air handling units were 
reportedly providing conditioned air to their designated spaces full 
time. According to AOC, the 2 remaining units were ready to operate as 
soon as additional ductwork could be completed. However, all 23 units 
still require some work, such as final air flow testing and balancing, 
connection to the fire alarm system, punch-list work, and 
commissioning.[Footnote 4] The CVC team still expects the HVAC system's 
commissioning to be completed by October 2007, but some activities are 
taking longer than planned, and the achievability of this time frame is 
not certain. Risks to completing this work on schedule include 
insufficient manpower, technical problems that could arise given the 
sophistication of the system (e.g., stair pressurization), coordination 
problems among subcontractors, and delays in preparing spaces for the 
remaining units. Recent problems with the automated controls for these 
units demonstrate some of these risks. 

The number of outstanding proposed change orders for sequence 2 work 
also poses a risk to the project's schedule. Although this number fell 
in March for the first time in several months, it continued to grow in 
April and May, increasing from 376 in March to 451 in May. The 
increases occurred even though AOC settled almost twice as many 
proposed change orders during the past month--49 for May--as it 
averaged over the last year (about 25 per month). Proposed change 
orders that result in contract modifications for new work or rework 
could delay the project's scheduled completion, as well as increase the 
project's costs. Even though the dollar values of recent proposed 
change orders have been relatively small compared with the project's 
total cost, unsettled change order requests are a cause for concern. 
They can, for example, contribute to payment delays such as those 
affecting the subcontractor that is installing the fire alarm system. 
Figure 1 compares the number of outstanding proposed change orders with 
the number settled each month. 

Figure 1: Outstanding and Settled Proposed Change Orders by Month, 
March 2006 through May 2007: 

[See PDF for Image] 

Source: AOC's construction management contractor. 

[End of figure] 

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

Because the project's expected completion date remains uncertain, we 
have not updated our cost-to-complete estimate since the November 15, 
2006, CVC hearing--$592 million without provision for risks and 
uncertainties and over $600 million with such provision. To date, about 
$538.4 million has been approved for CVC construction, including about 
$7.4 million in fiscal year 2007 appropriations. AOC also received an 
additional $36.4 million in fiscal year 2007 appropriations for the CVC 
project, which AOC has not yet received approval to obligate. AOC has 
indicated that of this amount, approximately $23.8 million will be used 
for construction and $12.6 will be used for 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 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, Lindsay Bach, Maria Edelstein, Elizabeth 
Eisenstadt, Jeanette Franzel, Jackie Hamilton, Bradley James, David 
Merrill, and Joshua Ormond. 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] GAO, Capitol Visitor Center: Update on Status of Project's Schedule 
and Cost As of April 17, 2007, GAO-07-755T (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 24, 
2007). 

[2] This date does not allow time for installing artifacts in the 
exhibit gallery or preparing for operations. 

[3] 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. 

[4] 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. 

GAO's Mission: 

The Government Accountability Office, the audit, evaluation and 
investigative arm of Congress, exists to support Congress in meeting 
its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance 
and accountability of the federal government for the American people. 
GAO examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and 
policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance 
to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding 
decisions. GAO's commitment to good government is reflected in its core 
values of accountability, integrity, and reliability. 

Obtaining Copies of GAO Reports and Testimony: 

The fastest and easiest way to obtain copies of GAO documents at no 
cost is through GAO's Web site (www.gao.gov). Each weekday, GAO posts 
newly released reports, testimony, and correspondence on its Web site. 
To have GAO e-mail you a list of newly posted products every afternoon, 
go to www.gao.gov and select "Subscribe to Updates." 

Order by Mail or Phone: 

The first copy of each printed report is free. Additional copies are $2 
each. A check or money order should be made out to the Superintendent 
of Documents. GAO also accepts VISA and Mastercard. Orders for 100 or 
more copies mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. 
Orders should be sent to: 

U.S. Government Accountability Office 441 G Street NW, Room LM 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 

To order by Phone: Voice: (202) 512-6000 TDD: (202) 512-2537 Fax: (202) 
512-6061: 

To Report Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in Federal Programs: 

Contact: 

Web site: www.gao.gov/fraudnet/fraudnet.htm E-mail: fraudnet@gao.gov 
Automated answering system: (800) 424-5454 or (202) 512-7470: 

Congressional Relations: 

Gloria Jarmon, Managing Director, JarmonG@gao.gov (202) 512-4400 U.S. 
Government Accountability Office, 441 G Street NW, Room 7125 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 

Public Affairs: 

Paul Anderson, Managing Director, AndersonP1@gao.gov (202) 512-4800 
U.S. Government Accountability Office, 441 G Street NW, Room 7149 
Washington, D.C. 20548: