Agencies Should Encourage Greater Computer Use on Federal Design Projects

LCD-81-7: Published: Oct 15, 1980. Publicly Released: Oct 15, 1980.

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Federal agencies are not actively seeking or encouraging the use of computers on Federal design projects. As a result, they are missing opportunities to achieve significant savings and to improve the quality of Federal building designs.

GAO found that Federal officials and agency procedures and practices often limit and hamper the use of computers on Federal projects. Agencies generally have not created an environment wherein the efficient use of computers is possible. Fee proposal forms used by most engineering services do not recognize the possible use of computers or provide a place for computer service costs to be included as direct costs in proposals. During contract negotiations, agency personnel rarely discuss the planned use of computers on a project. Even during the architect-engineer selection process, most agencies ignore computer capability.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The heads of departments and agencies procuring architect-engineer services should encourage employees to stay current on new and improved uses of computers in their individual areas of expertise.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The heads of departments and agencies procuring architect-engineer services should encourage employees to stay current on new and improved uses of computers in their individual areas of expertise.

    Agency Affected: Heads of Federal Agencies

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The heads of departments and agencies procuring architect-engineer services should provide appropriate training--courses, seminars, newsletters, etc.-- on the capabilities and uses of computers in design to their employees. Employees receiving this training should include those involved in selecting design firms, negotiating contracts, managing projects, and reviewing designs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The heads of departments and agencies procuring architect-engineer services should provide appropriate training--courses, seminars, newsletters, etc.-- on the capabilities and uses of computers in design to their employees. Employees receiving this training should include those involved in selecting design firms, negotiating contracts, managing projects, and reviewing designs.

    Agency Affected: Heads of Federal Agencies

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The heads of departments and agencies procuring architect-engineer services should require that architect-engineer contract negotiators routinely discuss and evaluate planned use of computers when negotiating design contracts.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The heads of departments and agencies procuring architect-engineer services should require that architect-engineer contract negotiators routinely discuss and evaluate planned use of computers when negotiating design contracts.

    Agency Affected: Heads of Federal Agencies

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The heads of departments and agencies procuring architect-engineer services should revise the criteria used in evaluating the overall qualifications of firms for design contracts to include computer capability and expertise.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The heads of departments and agencies procuring architect-engineer services should revise the criteria used in evaluating the overall qualifications of firms for design contracts to include computer capability and expertise.

    Agency Affected: Heads of Federal Agencies

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The heads of departments and agencies procuring architect-engineer services should provide sufficient technical support to contract negotiating teams. This support should include personnel with sufficient knowledge about computer use and the related costs to enable teams to realistically evaluate the planned use of computer methods and negotiate a fair and reasonable fee for the services to be provided.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The heads of departments and agencies procuring architect-engineer services should provide sufficient technical support to contract negotiating teams. This support should include personnel with sufficient knowledge about computer use and the related costs to enable teams to realistically evaluate the planned use of computer methods and negotiate a fair and reasonable fee for the services to be provided.

    Agency Affected: Heads of Federal Agencies

  11. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The heads of departments and agencies procuring architect-engineer services should: (1) direct that computer use be required for those analyses and design functions which can be done more efficiently and accurately by computer-aided methods and which are critical to the end product, in terms of safety, energy consumption, and life-cycle costs; and (2) encourage computer use in all areas when the quality of the design or the structure to be built can be improved when computer aids are used.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  12. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The heads of departments and agencies procuring architect-engineer services should: (1) direct that computer use be required for those analyses and design functions which can be done more efficiently and accurately by computer-aided methods and which are critical to the end product, in terms of safety, energy consumption, and life-cycle costs; and (2) encourage computer use in all areas when the quality of the design or the structure to be built can be improved when computer aids are used.

    Agency Affected: Heads of Federal Agencies

  13. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The heads of departments and agencies procuring architect-engineer services should require computer capabilities and expertise to be considered and evaluated when selecting architects and engineers for projects on which computer-aided design methods, such as energy analyses, can be used.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  14. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The heads of departments and agencies procuring architect-engineer services should require computer capabilities and expertise to be considered and evaluated when selecting architects and engineers for projects on which computer-aided design methods, such as energy analyses, can be used.

    Agency Affected: Heads of Federal Agencies

  15. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy with the concurrence of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should require the Department of Defense and the General Services Administration to implement the new policy by revising the Defense Acquisition Regulations and the Federal Procurement Regulations, respectively, and jointly insuring that this policy is incorporated into the new Federal Acquisition Regulations currently being developed.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy

  16. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy with the concurrence of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should promulgate an architect-engineer policy which establishes that: (1) fee negotiations will be based on proposals which clearly identify tasks which will be performed by firms providing architect-engineer services and, when applicable, indicate how computers will be used on the project; (2) procedures for pricing computer services will be flexible, as long as the method used is the same as the firm uses for all its clients, both public and private, and conforms with existing Federal procurement regulations; and (3) a structured task-oriented fee proposal format will be developed and the use of preprinted fee proposal forms will be discontinued, permitting architect-engineer firms to submit their fee proposals in the prescribed structured format on their own stationery.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy

  17. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The Executive Secretary, Federal Construction Council, Building Research Advisory Board, should direct the Council to take an active role in the training of the appropriate Federal personnel about the capabilities and uses of computers by: (1) pulling together the diverse information available on the general use of computers in design, existing computer-aided design tools and methods, and advances in the state of the art of computer-aided design; (2) developing the information into specific educational sessions for presentation to Federal personnel; and (3) actively sponsoring these special educational sessions and other conferences.

    Agency Affected: Federal Construction Council

 

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