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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 7:00 p.m. EDT:
Tuesday, July 8, 2008: 

Capitol Visitor Center: 

Update on Status of Project's Schedule and Cost as of June 27, 2008: 

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 May 22, 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, and Fire Alarm Testing Continues: 

Since the May 22, 2008, CVC hearing, work on the project has moved 
forward, and despite issues in certain CVC and expansion space work, 
AOC still believes the fire alarm testing will be completed late next 
month and the project will be available to open in November 2008. 
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 testing some components of 
the CVC's fire alarm system. Many punch list[Footnote 3] items also 
remain to be completed, and a steady 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 completion 

Since the last hearing, work on the project's current critical path,
[Footnote 4] fire alarm acceptance testing, has continued, and AOC has 
taken steps to address other concerns. For example, the fire marshal 
has continued testing the building's smoke exhaust system. Although 
some issues have arisen during this testing, such as the potential 
need for additional or larger smoke exhaust fans for a portion of the 
building, no new significant issues have emerged. AOC still expects to 
receive a temporary certificate of occupancy for the project on or 
before July 31, 2008. In addition, 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 
about 4,700. Finally, AOC is developing plans to repair the damage to 
plaza pavers that we discussed at last month's hearing. AOC has 
determined that substantial rework of the plaza may be required and is 
planning the repairs to avoid interference with the CVC's opening and 
with inaugural activities. It is still not clear who will ultimately be 
financially responsible for the repairs, but 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 (PCO). However, the 
number of open orders has increased since our last statement while the 
number of orders settled during the same period has declined. Sustained 
attention to this issue is 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 April 2008: 

This figure is a combination line graph showing outstanding and settled 
proposed change orders my month, March 2006 through May 2008. The 
horizontal axis represents the date, and the vertical axis represents 
the number of PCOs. One line represents Outstanding PCOs, and the other 
line represents PCOs settled this month. 

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: 329; 
PCOs settled this month: 26. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: AOC's construction management contractor. 

[End of figure] 

AOC's Cost Estimate Remains the Same, and Additional Funds Will Be 

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 over the next month, when construction is scheduled 
to be complete. To date, about $583.3 million has been approved for CVC 
construction, and 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] In 
addition, AOC has estimated that it will still need another $2.6 
million in fiscal year 2008 to fund CVC construction. Furthermore, AOC 
has requested $31.1 million in fiscal year 2009 funds for CVC 
construction. Given its current cost-to-complete estimate, AOC may need 
an additional $2 million in fiscal year 2009 to finish the project. 

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 May 22, 2008, GAO-08-811T (Washington, D.C.: May 22, 

[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] The critical path is the single longest path of activities through 
a project's schedule. Each day of delay in the critical path could 
delay the completion of the entire project. 

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