A-53680, MAY 15, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 351

A-53680: May 15, 1934

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RELATING TO SLUM CLEARANCE AND LOW-COST HOUSING PROJECTS INCIDENT TO WHICH THE EMPLOYMENT OF ARCHITECTURAL SERVICES IS REQUIRED. AS FOLLOWS: I HAVE UNDER CONSIDERATION THE CONSTRUCTION OF A LOW-COST HOUSING PROJECT IN THE CITY OF ATLANTA. THE COMPENSATION PROVIDED FOR IS A FIXED FEE COMPUTED AT THIS TIME AS APPROXIMATELY 4.2 PERCENT OF THE ESTIMATED CONSTRUCTION COST OF $1. THIS PROJECT WAS ORIGINALLY PRESENTED IN AN APPLICATION BY A LIMITED DIVIDEND CORPORATION BUT THE APPLICANT WAS UNABLE TO FURNISH THE EQUITY REQUIRED AND THE PROJECT WAS TAKEN OVER BY ME TO BE CARRIED OUT DIRECTLY BY THE GOVERNMENT. THE ARCHITECTS CHOSEN WERE MEMBERS OF THE ORIGINAL APPLICANT GROUP AND HAVE GIVEN ABOUT A YEAR'S STUDY TO THIS PROJECT.

A-53680, MAY 15, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 351

PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION - HOUSING - CONTRACTS - ARCHITECTURAL SERVICES IN CARRYING OUT THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 202 OF THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL RECOVERY ACT OF JUNE 16, 1933, RELATING TO SLUM CLEARANCE AND LOW-COST HOUSING PROJECTS INCIDENT TO WHICH THE EMPLOYMENT OF ARCHITECTURAL SERVICES IS REQUIRED, SUCH EMPLOYMENT SHOULD BE BY CONTRACTING WITH PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS OR FIRMS ONLY WHEN IT HAS BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT THE CARRYING OUT OF THE HOUSING PROJECT CANNOT BE ACCOMPLISHED BY USING REGULAR EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE PURPOSE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATOR OF PUBLIC WORKS, MAY 15, 1934:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF MAY 2, 1934, AS FOLLOWS:

I HAVE UNDER CONSIDERATION THE CONSTRUCTION OF A LOW-COST HOUSING PROJECT IN THE CITY OF ATLANTA, GEORGIA, KNOWN AS THE UNIVERSITY PROJECT, ON A SITE NOW BEING ACQUIRED, AND I SUBMIT HEREWITH A PROPOSED CONTRACT FOR THE REQUIRED ARCHITECTURAL SERVICES. THE COMPENSATION PROVIDED FOR IS A FIXED FEE COMPUTED AT THIS TIME AS APPROXIMATELY 4.2 PERCENT OF THE ESTIMATED CONSTRUCTION COST OF $1,600,000.

THIS PROJECT WAS ORIGINALLY PRESENTED IN AN APPLICATION BY A LIMITED DIVIDEND CORPORATION BUT THE APPLICANT WAS UNABLE TO FURNISH THE EQUITY REQUIRED AND THE PROJECT WAS TAKEN OVER BY ME TO BE CARRIED OUT DIRECTLY BY THE GOVERNMENT. THE ARCHITECTS CHOSEN WERE MEMBERS OF THE ORIGINAL APPLICANT GROUP AND HAVE GIVEN ABOUT A YEAR'S STUDY TO THIS PROJECT. THEY ARE BELIEVED TO BE OF EXCELLENT STANDING IN THEIR PROFESSION AND THOROUGHLY FAMILIAR WITH CONDITIONS IN ATLANTA, AND HAVE BEEN SELECTED BECAUSE OF THE VERY VALUABLE RESEARCH DATA, PRELIMINARY DRAWINGS AND STUDIES WHICH THEY MADE AS MEMBERS OF THE APPLICANT GROUP AND COULD IMMEDIATELY MAKE AVAILABLE TO THE PROJECT. THEY HAVE RECEIVED NO COMPENSATION FOR THIS WORK.

I AM ADVISED BY EXPERIENCED ARCHITECTS IN THE HOUSING DIVISION THAT THE PROPOSED FEE IS FAIR, TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION FEES CUSTOMARILY CHARGED FOR HOUSING WORK, THE EXTENSIVE STUDIES REQUIRED IN THE PLANNING OF THE SITE AND IN SOCIAL SURVEYS AND THE FACT THAT THE TOPOGRAPHY OF THE SITE MAKES IMPOSSIBLE ANY CONSIDERABLE REPETITION OF UNITS; AND THAT IT IS LESS THAN FEES CUSTOMARILY PAID BY THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, OR FEES USUAL IN PRIVATE PRACTICE FOR CORRESPONDING SERVICES, BOTH IN GROSS AND NET RETURNS.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION I ENCLOSE ALSO A MEMORANDUM BY MR. ROBERT D. KOHN, DIRECTOR OF HOUSING, MAKING GENERAL COMMENTS ON ARCHITECTURAL FEES FOR HOUSING PROJECTS, AND A COPY AS REQUESTED OF THE SCALE OF FEES WORKED OUT BY THAT DIVISION.

PLEASE ADVISE ME WHETHER, IN THE EVENT OF MY ENTERING INTO THE PROPOSED CONTRACT, PAYMENT OF THE FEE PROVIDED FOR WILL BE APPROVED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.

THE ARCHITECT'S CONTRACT TO WHICH YOU HAVE REFERENCE IS PROPOSED TO BE ENTERED INTO WITH THE FIRM OF EDWARDS AND SAYWARD, A PARTNERSHIP COMPOSED OF WILLIAM A. EDWARDS AND WILLIAM J. SAYWARD, BOTH OF ATLANTA, AND THE CONSIDERATION OR ARCHITECT'S FEE AS SET OUT IN THE CONTRACT IS $67,000, PAYABLE IN FIVE INSTALLMENTS AS THE PLANNING AND CONSTRUCTION WORK PROGRESSES.

IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE ARCHITECTS CHOSEN WERE MEMBERS OF THE ORIGINAL APPLICANT GROUP WHICH AT FIRST PROPOSED TO CARRY OUT THIS PROJECT AS A LIMITED DIVIDEND CORPORATION, AND THAT SAID ARCHITECTS HAVE GIVEN ABOUT A YEAR'S WORK TO THE PROJECT. YOU STATE THEY ARE BELIEVED TO BE OF EXCELLENT STANDING IN THE PROFESSION AND THOROUGHLY FAMILIAR WITH CONDITIONS IN ATLANTA AND HAVE BEEN SELECTED BECAUSE OF THE VERY VALUABLE RESEARCH DATA, PRELIMINARY DRAWINGS AND STUDIES WHICH THEY HAVE MADE AS MEMBERS OF THE APPLICANT GROUP AND WHICH THEY COULD IMMEDIATELY MAKE AVAILABLE TO THE PROJECT. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, THERE NECESSARILY ARISES THE QUESTION WHETHER THE FEE PROVIDED FOR IN THE CONTRACT IS IN PAYMENT FOR SERVICES PERFORMED NOT UNDER SUCH CONTRACT BUT FOR SERVICES HERETOFORE PERFORMED AT LEAST IN PART APPARENTLY UPON THEIR OWN INITIATIVE AND NOT AT THE INSTANCE OF THE GOVERNMENT.

IT SHOULD BE UNDERSTOOD THAT IN GOVERNMENT PROJECTS SUCH AS INVOLVED IN THE PRESENT MATTER, THERE SHOULD BE FOR CONSIDERATION FIRST WHETHER THE SERVICES INCIDENT TO SUCH PROJECTS, INCLUDING ARCHITECTURAL SERVICES, CAN BE PERFORMED BY OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT. THE EMPLOYMENT OF OUTSIDE PROFESSIONAL SERVICES UNDER A CONTRACT SUCH AS PROPOSED IN THE PRESENT MATTER SHOULD BE RESORTED TO ONLY WHEN, DUE TO THE HIGHLY TECHNICAL FEATURES OF THE PROJECT, OR FOR OTHER REASONS, THE USE OF REGULAR EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT BE ADEQUATE TO ACCOMPLISH THE PURPOSE AUTHORIZED BY LAW.

THE FOREGOING SHOULD BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION IN THE UNDERTAKING BY YOUR ADMINISTRATION OF LOW-COST HOUSING AND SLUM CLEARANCE PROJECTS, BOTH IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROJECT AT ATLANTA AND ELSEWHERE. AS TO THE PARTICULAR PROJECT AT ATLANTA UNDER CONSIDERATION, IF, AFTER TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION THE ABOVE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES, IT IS DETERMINED THAT THE PROPOSED CONTRACT SHOULD BE ENTERED INTO WITH PAYMENT OF FEES AS PROPOSED, IT WILL BE UNDERSTOOD BY THIS OFFICE THAT IT HAS BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT THE CARRYING OUT OF THE HOUSING PROJECTS IN QUESTION CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED ONLY BY CONTRACTING FOR ARCHITECTURAL SERVICES AS PROPOSED AND AT THE RATE FIXED, AND, UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, THIS OFFICE WILL INTERPOSE NO OBJECTION TO THE ENTERING INTO SUCH CONTRACT AND THE PAYING OF THE FEE AGREED UPON.