Use of New Construction Method on Federal Projects at Three Agencies Can Be Improved

LCD-77-348: Published: Oct 26, 1977. Publicly Released: Oct 26, 1977.

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The use of conventional construction and phased construction were compared at the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW), the General Services Administration (GSA), and the Veterans Administration (VA). Under conventional construction, the federal agency hires an architect to design the building. Once the design is completed, a general contractor is hired to construct the building and the agency's in-house staff supervises the design and construction. Under the construction manager and phased construction method, a construction manager is hired as a consultant on the design and as the manager of the construction. To reduce the design and construction time, construction contracts are awarded as phases of the building are designed rather than after all design is completed.

In 1975 the three agencies completed a combined total of 10 projects and were working on 33 projects which used the construction manager, phased construction method. Nine of these projects, estimated to cost $272 million, were compared to seven conventionally constructed projects, estimated to cost $207 million. The three agencies used different criteria for determining which projects should use the construction manager, phased construction method. These agencies were using construction managers without evaluating their effect on workloads. There was mixed success with the new method. Design and construction time was reduced on three of the nine construction manager, phased construction projects and reduced somewhat on one other project. For the remaining projects, design and construction overlapped little and, therefore, caused little or no time savings. The agencies claimed value management savings on several projects. The savings may or may not be attributable to the construction managers. The three agencies' procedures for selecting construction managers were not consistent.

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