New Senate Office Building:

Escalated Costs and Delayed Competition

LCD-78-333: Published: Aug 14, 1978. Publicly Released: Aug 14, 1978.

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To date, $85,147,000 has been appropriated for construction of a new Senate Office Building to be known as the Philip A. Hart Office Building, and the Architect of the Capitol is seeking an additional $37.5 million. The project under construction differs considerably from that envisioned by authorizing legislation. The office building itself includes office space, galleries, an atrium, a dining room, automated systems for handling materials and mail, and environmental control and life safety systems. The project also includes a two-story multimedia room, a physical fitness facility, a parking garage, expansion of the cafeteria in the Dirksen Office Building, and extension of the capitol subway.

As presently designed, the project cannot be completed for $122,647,000. The $55.5 million estimate for the interior contract is understated, and the low bid price on the interior contract could exceed available funds. Allowances for contingencies are insufficient; the estimate does not include certain indirect costs; and the inclusion of deductible alternatives in the bid package for the interior contract is intended to increase flexibility in awarding the contract. Delays have been due to preliminary planning and design program development, congressional review and approval, the degree of perfection required in contract documents, and design changes. A realistic timetable for the project is probably not feasible. The Architect of the Capitol's procedures deviated from standard federal practices concerning selection of the architectural firm, lack of written policies and procedures, and inadequate project control systems. There is no evidence to suggest that the associate architect purposely or intentionally delayed the project.

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