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entitled 'Capitol Visitor Center: Construction Expected to Be Completed 
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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 10:00 a.m. EDT:
Thursday, July 23, 2009: 

Capitol Visitor Center: 

Construction Expected to Be Completed within Current Budget Estimate: 

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


[End of section] 

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 September 24, 
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; and our discussions 
with AOC. 

Construction Is Essentially Complete: 

On December 2, 2008, the CVC opened, as discussed at the Subcommittee's 
September 2008 CVC hearing. Since the opening, AOC and its contractors 
have worked to complete punch list items[Footnote 2] and have reduced 
their number from about 3,000 at the time of the last CVC hearing to 
fewer than 300 as of July 20, 2009. In addition, AOC and its 
contractors have continued to work to reduce the number of open 
(outstanding) proposed change orders (PCO),[Footnote 3] and the number 
of open orders has declined since our last statement (see fig. 1). AOC 
expects that most punch list items and work being conducted under 
change orders will be completed by September 30, 2009. However, AOC 
expects a few activities will extend beyond this time, including work 

* install way-finding signs for House and Senate expansion spaces, 

* design and install new environmental control equipment in the Senate 
curator storage room, and: 

* remove trailers from the project management compound and restore the 

While the remaining work is important to ensuring a complete and usable 
facility, CVC operations have not been materially affected by 
incomplete work. AOC expects all work to be completed by early 2010. 

Figure 1: Outstanding Proposed Change Orders by Quarter, 2006 through 
June 2009: 

[Refer to PDF for image: line graph] 

Year/Quarter: 2006, Q1; 
Number of outstanding PCOs: 336. 

Year/Quarter: 2006, Q2; 
Number of outstanding PCOs: 340. 

Year/Quarter: 2006, Q3; 
Number of outstanding PCOs: 369. 

Year/Quarter: 2006, Q4; 
Number of outstanding PCOs: 417.

Year/Quarter: 2007, Q1; 
Number of outstanding PCOs: 421. 

Year/Quarter: 2007, Q2; 
Number of outstanding PCOs: 443. 

Year/Quarter: 2007, Q3; 
Number of outstanding PCOs: 432. 

Year/Quarter: 2007, Q4; 
Number of outstanding PCOs: 425. 

Year/Quarter: 2008, Q1; 
Number of outstanding PCOs: 385. 

Year/Quarter: 2008, Q2; 
Number of outstanding PCOs: 382. 

Year/Quarter: 2008, Q3; 
Number of outstanding PCOs: 278. 

Year/Quarter: 2008, Q4; 
Number of outstanding PCOs: 255. 

Year/Quarter: 2009, Q1; 
Number of outstanding PCOs: 293. 

Year/Quarter: 2009, Q2; 
Number of outstanding PCOs: 118. 

Source: AOC's monthly reports and Gilbane's weekly PCO reports. 

[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 4] remains 
about $621 million. We believe this estimate is realistic and contains 
a sufficient allowance for contingencies, provided that remaining 
change orders and potential delay claims are settled at the amounts 
anticipated by AOC. Sustained attention to outstanding change orders 
and potential claims is, however, needed to reduce uncertainty about 
the project's final costs. 

To date, about $607 million has been approved for CVC construction. In 
addition, AOC has $11 million more in fiscal year 2009 CVC 
appropriations that it may use for construction after it obtains 
congressional approval to obligate these funds. AOC did not request any 
CVC construction funds in its fiscal year 2010 budget request. If AOC 
needs the additional $3 million contemplated in its $621 million cost- 
to-complete estimate, AOC plans to obtain those funds from 

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, Heather Frevert, 
Jackie Hamilton, and Joshua Ormond. 

[End of section] 


[1] GAO, Capitol Visitor Center: Update on Status of Project's Schedule 
and Cost as of September 24, 2008, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 24, 

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

[3] Change orders are directives or written agreements between 
contracted parties that represent an addition, deletion, or revision to 
the contract and indicate associated adjustments to the contract's cost 
and schedule. Change orders may be used for new work to correct design 
problems or scope gaps. 

[4] GAO, Capitol Visitor Center: Update on Status of Project's Schedule 
and Cost as of September 25, 2007, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 25, 

[End of section] 

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