General Services Administration's Use of New Construction Concept for Federal Buildings Not Yet Successful

LCD-77-322: Published: Oct 6, 1977. Publicly Released: Oct 6, 1977.

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The General Services Administration (GSA) used the "innovative building systems concept" in constructing three Social Security Administration (SSA) program centers at a cost of about $115 million. This was the pilot for the new concept, which emphasizes performance specifications--setting down what a building should do regardless of the materials used--rather than the traditional specifications, such as how to build and what materials to use. Bidders had to prepare acceptable technical proposals before bidding competitively on the entire package of seven individual systems to be included in each of the three SSA centers.

Although GSA established adequate procedures to monitor contract compliance, they did not use them to assure that the building systems portion met the performance specifications. Despite GSA's project controls, the project goals were not fully met because the project was not complete in 3 years due to site, funding, design, and foundation problems. The project cost was more than $110.5 million due to additional fire protection, acoustical work, and the cost incident to schedule delays, and the project did not provide buildings with lower life-cycle costs such as energy conservation and reduced cost of maintenance and operation. The project has not stimulated innovative approaches to construction and precipitated demand for the building systems concept in the Government and private industry, since only a few firms that participated in the program centers project are participating in the GSA followon projects using the concept.

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