Capitol Visitor Center:
Update on Status of Project's Schedule and Cost As of August 2, 2006
GAO-06-828T: Published: Aug 2, 2006. Publicly Released: Aug 2, 2006.
Our remarks will focus on the Architect of the Capitol's (AOC) progress in achieving selected project milestones and in managing the project's schedule since Congress's June 28, 2006, hearing on the project. As part of this discussion, we will address a number of key challenges and risks that continue to face the project, as well as actions AOC has taken or plans to take to address these risks. In addition, we will discuss the status of the project's costs and funding. Our remarks today are based on our review of schedules and financial reports for the Capitol Visitor Center (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, the General Services Administration, and the Office of Compliance. We also reviewed AOC's construction management contractor's periodic schedule assessments and daily reports on the progress of interior wall and floor stonework.
Since Congress's June 28 CVC hearing, the CVC team has continued to move the project's construction forward, and the project's overall targeted completion dates have remained about the same as we reported at that hearing. However, risks have materialized, especially in connection with the CVC's fire protection system, and a number of important activities have been delayed, lessening our confidence in the likelihood of the CVC team's meeting the targeted completion dates. We will reassess the project's schedule and monitor the team's progress in achieving effective management control over the CVC's fire protection system work during the next several weeks and report our results to Congress in September. We previously estimated that the total cost to complete the entire CVC project would be about $556 million without an allowance for risks and uncertainties and $584 million with such an allowance. To date, about $530 million has been provided for CVC construction. AOC and its construction management contractor have completed their reassessments of the cost to complete the project and believe that sufficient funding will be available except for potential delay-related costs, assuming that AOC receives about $26 million in fiscal year 2007 appropriations for CVC construction. This is the amount our previous cost-to-complete estimate showed would be necessary without provision for risks and uncertainties. We have not increased our $556 million estimate (which includes this $26 million) to reflect recent events. The results of our reassessment of the cost to complete the project, which we expect to have by mid-September, will include an assessment of the impact of these events. Although we anticipate that our $556 million estimate is likely to increase, we have no specific indication at this time that the cost to complete the entire project will exceed our $584 million estimate, which does include an allowance for risks and uncertainties, such as potential delay-related costs. In addition, as we have previously indicated, AOC preliminarily expects to need about $950,000 in fiscal year 2007 AOC general administration appropriations to pay for the contractual support needed to complete acceptance testing of the facility's fire protection system in time to meet the project's schedule. AOC plans to determine if it can reduce the amount needed for this contractual support; we will keep Congress apprised of this situation.