Construction Management Problems Have Delayed Completion of the New Plutonium Facilities at Rocky Flats, Colorado

PSAD-78-90: Published: Jun 2, 1978. Publicly Released: Jun 2, 1978.

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Cost, schedule, and performance data of new plutonium facilities under construction at Rocky Flats, Colorado, and Los Alamos, New Mexico, were reviewed. Both projects are under the administration and management of the Department of Energy's Albuquerque Operations Office (A00). The Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant is the key producer of plutonium parts used in nuclear weapons, and the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory is one of the agency's two nuclear weapons research and development facilities.

Unnecessary cost growth and schedule delays were experienced at the Rocky Flats project because of poor design control, unrealistic schedules, premature contract awards for mechanical equipment installations, and poor estimating and cost control practices. The AOO compounded cost and schedule problems by not exercising adequate project management. It relied on its contractors to manage the project, and its success or failure depended on the contractor's performance rather than on agency management. AOO employed similar organizational and management approaches at Rocky Flats and Los Alamos, but the Los Alamos project was more successful because the agency and its contractors worked together more effectively. New procedures implemented by AOO should improve the management of future construction projects.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: The Secretary of Energy should ensure that AOO implements its procedures and considers the use of construction management firms for future construction projects if it does not have adequate in-house capabilities. He should provide Congress with cost estimates of ongoing projects which identify all project-related costs including those funded by operating expense appropriations. AOO should develop cost estimating guidelines for use by its staff and contractors to assure that such estimates include all necessary cost elements and provide a sound basis for evaluation.


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