Federal Facilities Council's Report on the Role of Facility Design Reviews in Facilities Construction

GGD-00-172R: Published: Jul 11, 2000. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 2000.

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Bernard L. Ungar
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Federal Facilities Council's (FFC) study on the role of federal agencies' facility design reviews in the facility acquisition process.

GAO noted that: (1) according to the FFC study, opportunities exist to significantly reduce total project cost (TPC) by conducting an effective design review process; (2) the study found that effective design review practices result in less rework on the part of the construction contractor, fewer change orders to correct design errors and omissions, and lowering the cost of belatedly adding project upgrade features that should have been addressed in the original design; (3) FFC reported that, historically, 30 to 50 percent of all construction change orders result from errors in the design documents directly related to improper interfaces between design disciplines (civil, structural, architectural, electrical, and mechanical); (4) the FFC study notes that attention should be focused on review of designs during the conceptual planning and design phases, where the ability to influence ultimate functionality and cost of the project is the greatest; (5) the study states that the potential savings resulting from conducting effective design reviews range from a minimum of 3 percent to as much as 20 percent of TPC, and even higher indirect savings are taken into account; (6) the FFC study concludes that, in the end, effective review of designs maximizes the probability that a mission or operational requirement will be successfully supported by a facility that was conceived, designed, constructed, and placed into operation efficiently and effectively; (7) the study identifies 18 best practices that federal agencies and other facility owners can use to manage or oversee design reviews throughout the facility acquisition process; and (8) it organized the best practices into 5 categories related to: (a) the role of the owner; (b) teamwork and collaboration; (c) advance planning; (d) process; and (e) benchmarking.

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