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Highlights

The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is responsible for the maintenance, renovation, and new construction of the Capitol Hill complex, which comprises more than three dozen facilities and consists of nine jurisdictions, such as the U.S. Capitol and the Senate and House Office Buildings. In 2003, at the request of Congress, GAO issued a management review of AOC that contained recommendations in seven areas to help AOC become more strategic and accountable. GAO reported on AOC's progress in implementing those recommendations in January and August 2004. In 2005 and 2006, GAO briefed Congress on AOC's recent progress in implementing GAO's recommendations and on issues related to AOC's project and facilities management. This report summarizes GAO's (1) assessment of AOC's progress in implementing previous GAO recommendations and in improving project and facilities management and (2) delineation of remaining management challenges.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Architect of the Capitol 1. To improve internal controls related to project management, the AOC should develop a method to establish and track more accurate budget targets, which could include tracking and reporting on the accuracy of cost estimates compared with bids, the accuracy of project budgets compared with final project costs, the amount of excess project funds and how these funds are used, and cost data for the Construction Branch.
Closed - Implemented
AOC's Technical Services Division Cost Estimating Group is using a new system to develop estimates for project contracts over $250,000. Additionally, for in-house projects executed by AOC's Construction Division, Technical Services and Construction Division personnel are collaboratively working to standardize and prepare cost estimates. AOC has implemented a Construction Division peer review process and also reorganized the division to include a program analyst. The Construction Division also holds monthly program reviews to monitor cost and schedule, including current working estimates for projects conducted by the division. Work still remains to achieve full implementation of this recommendation. AOC needs to produce data and information that accurately reflects current working estimates for projects, accounting for changes in project allotments, obligations, expenditures and schedules, among other things. AOC's current Construction Division Program Reviews, which are issued monthly, do not accurately reflect such changes.
Architect of the Capitol 2. To improve internal controls related to project management, the AOC should expedite the development of a customer satisfaction survey for construction services.
Closed - Implemented
AOC completed the development of its customer satisfaction survey for construction services in March 2006.
Architect of the Capitol 3. To improve internal controls related to project management, the AOC should clarify the roles and responsibilities of staff in the new Project Management Organization.
Closed - Implemented
AOC defined roles and responsibilities and completed position descriptions for the jurisdictional executives, project managers, and construction managers. AOC has discussed and plans to continue discussing these roles and responsibilities at its staff meetings and individually with the jurisdictional executives, project managers, and construction managers.
Architect of the Capitol 4. To improve internal controls related to project management, the AOC should review project management guidance manuals.
Closed - Implemented
AOC has identified revisions for and continuously revises its project management manuals. These manuals are made available through AOC's internal network. AOC tracks compliance with the manuals through its project performance measures.
Architect of the Capitol 5. To improve internal controls related to project management, the AOC should develop or modify information systems to provide needed cost and schedule data on projects and track reasons for changes across all projects.
Closed - Implemented
AOC currently tracks cost and schedule data and reasons for changes across all projects in its quarterly status report--a report that is manually prepared and not supported by AOC's current information systems. AOC's steering group, the Project Information Center Business Reengineering Task Force, identified AOC's project information system requirements, which included the automation of AOC's quarterly construction projects progress report. AOC officials noted that reengineering of the project information system is one of AOC's top project management priorities for AOC. AOC requested funding for an assessment of the current system in its fiscal year 2007 budget. In the interim, AOC plans to begin modifying the current project information system with available in-house resources in fiscal year 2007 and requested funding for further modifications in its fiscal year 2008 budget. AOC needs to complete the modification of its project information system to assist managers in more proactively managing projects, provide needed cost and schedule data on projects, and track reasons for changes across all projects.
Architect of the Capitol 6. To improve how AOC measures its performance in the areas of timeliness and cost, the agency should develop and track more specific timeliness measures that more accurately reflect the amount of time required to complete tasks.
Closed - Implemented
In February 2006, we reported that the Architect of the Capitol's (AOC) timeliness measures for facilities management could be improved to better represent the amount of time required for specific tasks. For example, AOC used a standard timeliness measure of 30 days for all tasks, even though many tasks take less time to complete. In response to this recommendation, AOC assigned priorities (Priority 1, 3, or 5) to various tasks and developed timeliness measure for each priority; priority 1 tasks should be completed within 7 days, priority 3 tasks should be completed within 2 days, and priority 5 tasks should be completed within 4 hours. Accomplishment report GAO-10-2612A is being prepared.
Architect of the Capitol 7. To improve how AOC measures its performance in the areas of timeliness and cost, the agency should develop the capability to comprehensively and routinely track cost measures.
Closed - Implemented
AOC is tracking timeliness of work order fulfillment with its facilities management information system and will use system data to inform expected service delivery times, which AOC's Standards Committee will validate this year. AOC officials said the committee is also in the process of determining what type of service standards AOC should further develop.
Architect of the Capitol 8. To improve how AOC measures its performance in the areas of timeliness and cost, the agency should benchmark appropriate existing and new performance measures against those of similar institutions, such as the Smithsonian Institution and state capitols.
Closed - Implemented
To benchmark performance measures, AOC met with the General Services Administration in late 2007 and has plans to meet with the Smithsonian Institution in early 2008. Additionally, AOC performed benchmarking for cleaning services in several jurisdictions and continues to use the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) operations and maintenance benchmarks to further develop performance measures. AOC officials said the agency will also use workload data collected throughout fiscal years 2007 and 2008 as a management tool for benchmarking.
Architect of the Capitol 9. AOC should use the new computer-aided facility management system to track preventative maintenance and demand work orders across all jurisdictions, including the time taken to complete work orders.
Closed - Implemented
In February 2006, we reported that the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) used its facilities management information system to track demand work orders, but did not consistently track preventive maintenance work orders. By not tracking preventive maintenance work orders, AOC could not compare how much preventive maintenance AOC's jurisdictions were performing with how much was recommended. At the time of our report, AOC was replacing its existing facilities management information system. We recommended that AOC use the new facilities management information system to track preventive maintenance and demand work orders across all jurisdictions. As of March 31, 2009, AOC was using its new facilities management information system to track preventive maintenance work orders and had developed measures to track performance. Accomplishment report GAO-10-2617A is being prepared.

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