VA Health Care:

Delays in Awarding Major Construction Contracts

HRD-89-75: Published: Mar 31, 1989. Publicly Released: Mar 31, 1989.

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In response to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) contracting delays for reportable construction projects, focusing on the impoundment implications under the Impoundment Control Act.

GAO found that: (1) the contracting delays for 22 projects did not constitute an impoundment of budget authority; (2) VA did not intentionally refrain from using the funds, since programmatic considerations, such as changes in project scope or design and receipt of bids exceeding the available funds, caused the delays; (3) VA awarded or expected to award contracts for 18 of the 22 projects by September 1989; (4) VA did not report two projects for which it had not awarded primary construction contracts because it believed that one project's additional funding requirement obviated the reporting requirement and its award of a contract for site preparation satisfied the act's requirement for the other project; and (5) the delays in those two projects did not constitute impoundments of budget authority.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO reported (HRD-90-91) that in November 1989, VA Office of Facilities issued new guidelines for reporting delinquent major construction projects. GAO believes that these guidelines provide a reasonable framework for deciding which construction projects should be reported to congressional committees.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Veterans Affairs should report on all major construction projects that do not have working drawings or construction contracts awarded within the specified time limits for the primary activity for which the funds were appropriated. With respect to projects for which additional funding has been requested or received, the time limits established when the projects were originally funded should be used to determine whether a project is reportable.

    Agency Affected: Department of Veterans Affairs


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