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entitled 'Capitol Visitor Center: Update on Status of Project's 
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Before the Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, Committee on 
Appropriations, House of Representatives: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

For Release on Delivery: 
Expected at 11 a.m. EDT:
September 24, 2008: 

Capitol Visitor Center: 

Update on Status of Project's Schedule and Cost as of September 24, 

Statement of Terrell G. Dorn, Director: 
Physical Infrastructure Issues: 


Madam Chair and Members of the Subcommittee: 

I appreciate the opportunity to be here today to assist the 
Subcommittee in monitoring progress on the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) 
project. My remarks will focus on (1) the Architect of the Capitol's 
(AOC) construction progress since the last CVC hearing on July 8, 2008, 
[Footnote 1] and (2) the project's expected cost at completion and 
funding status. 

Today's remarks are based on our review of schedules and financial 
reports for the 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) 
and AOC's Chief Fire Marshal. We also reviewed AOC's construction 
management contractor's periodic schedule assessments. 

Construction Is Essentially Complete: 

Since the July 8, 2008, CVC hearing, the project has passed a 
significant milestone--the fire marshal's issuance of a temporary 
certificate of occupancy--and although issues in certain CVC and 
expansion space work remain, AOC expects to have the project ready for 
opening on December 2, 2008, as scheduled. According to AOC's 
construction management contractor, in dollar terms, the overall CVC 
project remains 99 percent complete.[Footnote 2] Some risks to the 
project's schedule remain in completing work needed to start up and 
open the building as planned. In addition, many punch list[Footnote 3] 
items remain to be completed, and a number of proposed change orders 
have to be resolved. At this time, AOC does not expect the punch list 
items or the proposed change orders to affect the project's opening 

Since the last hearing, the fire marshal has substantially completed 
fire alarm acceptance testing.[Footnote 4] While the fire marshal has 
issued a temporary certificate of occupancy, incomplete work in several 
areas still has the potential to limit preparations for the project's 
planned opening or make portions of the facility unusable at the 
opening. For example, repairs to exit stairs are taking longer than 
planned and, if not completed in October, we believe could delay 
preparations for the opening. AOC has also requested several changes to 
the restaurant to accommodate the food service vendor, and although the 
restaurant is expected to be operational, certain sections of its 
serving line are likely to be incomplete when the CVC opens. In 
addition, some repairs to plaza pavers and landscaping work may not be 
complete by the planned opening. 

The CVC team has continued to gradually reduce the number of punch list 
items, which we have identified as a concern at the last several 
hearings. According to AOC, the number of punch list items has been 
reduced from over 15,000 to under 3,000. In addition, the planned 
repairs to the plaza pavers that we discussed at the last hearing have 
begun and are ongoing. Although it is still not clear who will 
ultimately be financially responsible for the repairs, we do not 
anticipate a need for additional appropriations to address this issue. 

Each month, the CVC team continues to identify proposed change orders. 
AOC and its contractors have continued to work together to reduce the 
number of open (outstanding) proposed change orders, and the number of 
open orders has declined since our last statement. Sustained attention 
to this issue is, however, needed to reduce uncertainty about the 
project's costs. Figure 1 compares the number of outstanding proposed 
change orders with the number settled each month. 

Figure 1: Outstanding and Settled Proposed Change Orders by Month, 
March 2006 through August 2008: 

[See PDF for image] 

This figure is a combination line graph showing outstanding and settled 
proposed change orders my month, March 2006 through August 2008. 

Date: March 31, 2006; 
Outstanding PCOs: 336; 
PCOs settled this month: 27. 

Date: April 30, 2006; 
Outstanding PCOs: 360; 
PCOs settled this month: 32. 

Date: May 31, 2006; 
Outstanding PCOs: 372; 
PCOs settled this month: 24. 

Date: June 30, 2006; 
Outstanding PCOs: 340; 
PCOs settled this month: 23. 

Date: July 31, 2006; 
Outstanding PCOs: 403; 
PCOs settled this month: 26. 

Date: August 31, 2006; 
Outstanding PCOs: 367; 
PCOs settled this month: 19. 

Date: September 30, 2006; 
Outstanding PCOs: 369; 
PCOs settled this month: 19. 

Date: October 31, 2006; 
Outstanding PCOs: 374; 
PCOs settled this month: 26. 

Date: November 30, 2006; 
Outstanding PCOs: 391; 
PCOs settled this month: 23. 

Date: December 31, 2006; 
Outstanding PCOs: 417; 
PCOs settled this month: 10. 

Date: January 31, 2007; 
Outstanding PCOs: 445; 
PCOs settled this month: 29. 

Date: February 28, 2007; 
Outstanding PCOs: 456; 
PCOs settled this month: 16. 

Date: March 31, 2007; 
Outstanding PCOs: 421; 
PCOs settled this month: 28. 

Date: April 30, 2007; 
Outstanding PCOs: 444; 
PCOs settled this month: 28. 

Date: May 31, 2007; 
Outstanding PCOs: 451; 
PCOs settled this month: 49. 

Date: June 30, 2007; 
Outstanding PCOs: 443; 
PCOs settled this month: 35. 

Date: July 31, 2007; 
Outstanding PCOs: 437; 
PCOs settled this month: 21. 

Date: August 31, 2007; 
Outstanding PCOs: 432; 
PCOs settled this month: 54. 

Date: September 30, 2007; 
Outstanding PCOs: 432; 
PCOs settled this month: 33. 

Date: October 31, 2007; 
Outstanding PCOs: 451; 
PCOs settled this month: 39. 

Date: November 30, 2007; 
Outstanding PCOs: 425; 
PCOs settled this month: 18. 

Date: December 31, 2007; 
Outstanding PCOs: 425; 
PCOs settled this month: 21. 

Date: January 31, 2008; 
Outstanding PCOs: 398; 
PCOs settled this month: 30. 

Date: February 29, 2008; 
Outstanding PCOs: 413; 
PCOs settled this month: 42. 

Date: March 31, 2008; 
Outstanding PCOs: 385; 
PCOs settled this month: 41. 

Date: April 30, 2008; 
Outstanding PCOs: 333; 
PCOs settled this month: 37. 

Date: May 31, 2008; 
Outstanding PCOs: 359; 
PCOs settled this month: 26. 

Date: June 30, 2008; 
Outstanding PCOs: 382; 
PCOs settled this month: 28. 

Date: July 31, 2008; 
Outstanding PCOs: 349; 
PCOs settled this month: 25. 

Date: August 31, 2008; 
Outstanding PCOs: 336; 
PCOs settled this month: 14. 

Source: AOC's construction management contractor. 

[End of figure] 

AOC's Cost Estimate Remains the Same, and Additional Funds Will Be 
Needed in 2009: 

AOC's current estimate of the cost to complete the CVC project's 
construction, first reported in September 2007,[Footnote 5] remains 
about $621 million. We believe this estimate is realistic and contains 
a sufficient allowance for contingencies, provided there are no 
unexpected delays. To date, about $583.3 million has been approved for 
CVC construction, and of the amounts approved for operations, AOC 
includes $1.1 million (net of certain construction items) in its total 
estimated cost to complete. In addition, AOC has $2.4 million more in 
fiscal year 2008 CVC appropriations that it plans to use for 
construction after it obtains congressional approval to obligate these 
funds.[Footnote 6] Furthermore, AOC has requested $31.1 million in 
fiscal year 2009 funds for CVC construction; however, in its current 
cost-to-complete estimate, AOC indicates it may need an additional $3 
million in fiscal year 2009 funds to finish the project. According to 
AOC, if necessary, the additional $3 million could be reprogrammed. 

Madam Chair, this completes my prepared statement. I would be pleased 
to answer any questions that you or Members of the Subcommittee may 

Contacts and Acknowledgments: 

For further information about this testimony, please contact Terrell 
Dorn on (202) 512-6923 or Other key contributors to this 
testimony include Shirley Abel, Michael Armes, Lindsay Bach, Maria 
Edelstein, Elizabeth Eisenstadt, Jeanette Franzel, Jackie Hamilton, 
Kara Patton, and Joshua Ormond. 

[End of section] 


[1] GAO, Capitol Visitor Center: Update on Status of Project's Schedule 
and Cost as of June 27, 2008, [hyperlink,
bin/getrpt?GAO-08-900T] (Washington, D.C.: July 8, 2008). 

[2] In other words, the sequence 2 contractor has received about 99 
percent of the current contract value. This value does not include the 
costs of unsettled proposed change orders, potential claims, and work 
performed outside the current sequence 2 contract, such as the fire 
marshal's fire alarm acceptance testing. 

[3] A punch list identifies tasks, usually minor, to be completed at 
the end of a project. 

[4] All regularly scheduled testing has been completed. However, 
portions of the system will be retested in the coming weeks to verify 
the effectiveness of changes made following the initial system tests. 

[5] GAO, Capitol Visitor Center: Update on Status of Project's Schedule 
and Cost as of September 25, 2007, [hyperlink,
bin/getrpt?GAO-07-1249T] (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 25, 2007). 

[6] For fiscal year 2008, AOC received $28,753,000 (before rescission) 
in appropriations for the CVC project. Pub. L. No. 110-161. Of that 
amount, AOC is allowed, but not required, to use up to $8.5 million for 
operations. AOC is currently planning to use the $8.5 million for 

[End of section] 

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