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Highlights

GAO has been providing ongoing assistance to the Capitol Preservation Commission and the Senate and House Appropriations Committees in their monitoring and oversight of the Capitol Visitor Center construction project. Given the current decisions facing the Congress, this testimony covers (1) management of the project, (2) the estimated cost for the project, (3) the status of the project's schedule, and (4) actions that Congress and the AOC should consider taking to address funding gaps and other current project issues and risks.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Architect of the Capitol 1. Although the AOC has already initiated some actions to address some issues, the AOC should and Congress may wish to ask the AOC to develop a plan to mitigate risk factors, to the extent practicable, and implement recommendations made by Tishman Construction Company in the May 16, 2003, report including, but not limited to: (1) revalidate the program of requirements for each cost element; (2) identify, contract for, and begin coordination of all operator requirements with existing design and construction efforts; (3) identify and involve the exhibit and audio visual equipment operators as soon as possible; and (4) institute a proactive schedule management and tracking system related to potential contractor delay claims.
Closed - Implemented
AOC has included all program requirements in its updated cost-to-complete estimates for the CVC project since our July 2003 testimony. In addition, AOC hired a contractor to assist with planning for CVC operations, thus facilitating coordination of operator requirements with design and construction efforts. AOC has also contracted for all exhibit and audio/visual requirements and has been more proactive in managing the CVC project schedule--including utilizing outside experts in its analysis of project delays. Through these actions, AOC fully responded to this recommendation.
Architect of the Capitol 2. Although the AOC has already initiated some actions to address some issues, the AOC should and Congress may wish to continue to resolve the scope, requirements, estimated costs, and funding sources for unresolved items in the base project, such as fitout of the CVC administration, guide service, first aid and gift shop spaces.
Closed - Implemented
AOC executed contract modifications for fitout of the CVC administration, guide service, first aid, and gift shop spaces since our July 2003 testimony. As a result, AOC fully responded to this recommendation.
Architect of the Capitol 3. Although the AOC has already initiated some actions to address some issues, the AOC should and Congress may wish to continue to resolve the scope, requirements, estimated costs, and funding sources for the items not in the base project, including the House and Senate expansion space.
Closed - Implemented
AOC contracted for all additional work required within the Senate and House expansion space since our July 2003 testimony. Therefore, AOC fully responded to this recommendation.
Architect of the Capitol 4. Although the AOC has already initiated some actions to address some issues, the AOC should and Congress may wish to implement controls for the approval of changes and AOC's use of contingency funds.
Closed - Implemented
AOC documented an approval process for CVC project change orders and its use of contingency funds in November 2003, including approval by the Capitol Preservation Commission of changes deemed optional, as well as approval of all changes by senior AOC management. AOC fully responded to our recommendation through this action. By documenting this process, AOC improved its controls over funds appropriated for the CVC project.
Architect of the Capitol 5. Although the AOC has already initiated some actions to address some issues, the AOC should and Congress may wish to continue to resolve contingency tracking and reporting issues to achieve a single and standardized budget and reporting format.
Closed - Implemented
Beginning in March 2004, AOC added a construction contingency report to its monthly progress report on CVC that is provided to Congress, thus fully responding to this recommendation. The new report provides data, by CVC project component, on contingency funds (a) budgeted, (b) approved by the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, (c) obligated/committed, and (d) available. By developing and implementing a monthly report on CVC project contingency funds, AOC provides enhanced accountability to Congress on its use of those funds.
Architect of the Capitol 6. Although the AOC has already initiated some actions to address some issues, the AOC should and Congress may wish to expeditiously develop a comprehensive, integrated master project schedule.
Closed - Implemented
AOC currently has a comprehensive, integrated master project schedule. AOC provides monthly schedule updates for all Sequence 2 and expansion space work to its construction management contractor, Gilbane Building Company. Gilbane integrates schedules for other work, such as exhibit space, operations, and audio/visual, to produce a complete overall project schedule. Thus, AOC has fully responded to this recommendation.

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