Capitol Visitor Center:
Update on Status of Project's Schedule and Cost as of March 12, 2008
GAO-08-545T: Published: Mar 12, 2008. Publicly Released: Mar 12, 2008.
Today's remarks are based on our review of schedules and financial reports for the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) project and related records maintained by Architect of the Capitol (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, proposed change order log, and weekly reports on construction progress. In addition, we reviewed the contract modifications made to date.
Since the February 7, 2008, CVC hearing, the project's construction has continued, and AOC is still anticipating a November 2008 opening date, but risks to the project's schedule remain in several time-critical activities, especially fire alarm acceptance testing. This testing has been slowed by problems identified in the wiring of the fire alarm system and the capacity of the smoke exhaust system. According to AOC officials, these problems are being addressed and sufficient contingency funds exist to address the costs. Under the current schedule, the fire alarm acceptance testing must be completed on time for the CVC to open on time. In addition, delays in work on the East Front, the Exhibit Gallery, and the House Hearing Room have continued, reducing the extra time built into the project's schedule for contingencies. These delays pose risks to the project's construction schedule, as do the many items on the project's punch list and a steady number of proposed change orders. At this time, however, AOC does not expect the punch list items or the proposed change orders to affect the project's completion date. Summary AOC's current estimate of the cost to complete the CVC project's construction, first reported at the September 25, 2007, hearing, is about $621 million. We believe this estimate is reasonable, provided there are no unusual delays. To date, about $566.2 million has been approved for CVC construction, and AOC has $16.2 million more in fiscal year 2008 CVC appropriations that it plans to use for construction after it obtains congressional approval to obligate these funds. In addition, AOC requested and was recently granted authority to transfer $3.2 million from other activities to fund CVC construction. AOC has estimated that it will still need an additional $2.6 million in fiscal year 2008 to fund CVC construction. Furthermore, AOC has requested $31.1 million in fiscal year 2009 funds for CVC construction. Based on its current cost-to-complete estimate, AOC believes it will still need an additional $2 million in fiscal year 2009 to complete the project.