Council Receives OLO Report

The Montgomery County Council received a report on July 300 from the Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) that reviewed the County’s policies and procedures regarding the design and construction of public facilities. The report, which compared the County’s policies with those of 13 other jurisdictions and agencies, found that Montgomery’s written policies are as strong as the best of the others. However, the report says a next step would be to see if the policies are properly followed.

The report, entitled “Managing the Design and Construction of Public Facilities: A Coparative Review,” was compiled by Craig Howard and Kristen Latham of OLO. The report was requested by Council President Nancy Navarro and Roger Berliner, chair of the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, in light of the problems encountered in the construction of the Silver Spring Transit Center.

“I am pleased this report finds that Montgomery County’s formal procedures regarding the design and construction of public facilities conform to national best practices,” said Council President Navarro. “The Council will continue exercising its oversight responsibly to ensure these procedures are adequately followed.”

The report looked at policies and procedures for building public buildings of 13 other entities, including seven local governments (Prince George’s County, Fairfax County, Va.; Arlington County, Va.; Loudoun County, Va.; the District of Columbia; and the State of Maryland); two agencies (Montgomery County Public Schools and the Maryland Stadium Authority); and five jurisdictions beyond the Washington Region (the City of Austin, Tx.; Miami-Dade County, Fl.; New York City; Santa Clara County, Ca.; and Ventura County, Ca.).

“Designing and constructing a public facility is a complex and detailed process,” states the executive summary of the OLO report. “OLO found that the County Government’s Department of General Services (DGS) has established several key oversight structures for each phase of the process. These key structures do not vary substantially from the structures or models used by the other jurisdictions and agencies surveyed.”

Among the procedures used by the County and other jurisdictions include:

  • Require formal quality control plans in both the construction and design phases to ensure that contractors perform activities in conformance with project specifications.
  • Standardize monitoring and reporting during the construction process, including standardized progress meetings; daily, weekly and/or monthly written reports; and routine site-visits from the project management team.
  • Multiple layers of inspections, tests and approvals. Most of the jurisdictions reviewed use independent, third-party contract inspectors for formal inspections not conducted by a permitting authority, while a few jurisdictions use internal staff to conduct some inspections.

The OLO report goes on to say that now that it has been determined that the County has solid practices in place, there may be a desire to see if those practices are followed—and if not, why.

“A logical next step in the Council’s oversight of public facility design and construction is to examine the County Government’s performance in implementing these structures in practice,” said the report’s executive summary. “Along those lines, OLO’s FY14 Work Program includes a project to review the process and results of ‘change orders’ for County Government construction contracts, including case studies of recent facility projects. Some jurisdictions and agencies use change order rates as a performance measure to assess the design and construction process.”

The complete report is available on the OLO web site at: http://www6.montgomerycountymd.gov/csltmpl.asp?url=/Content/council/olo/index.asp .

 

 

 

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Comments

4 Responses to “Council Receives OLO Report”

  1. On August 1, 2013 at 7:20 am responded with... #

    facts: The SSTC is under construction, behind schedule, and over budget. It is cracked throughout. There are slabs that are thinner than the construction documents call for. There is exposed reinforcement and missing reinforcement. Separate reports by Montgomery County and WMATA blame the contractor, the engineer, and the concrete inspection/testing firm. These reports say that there were design, construction and inspection/testing errors.

    questions: Who selected the contractor, the engineer and the concrete inspection/testing firm? Why? How did political contribution$ affect these selections? Will systemic problems in the management of design and construction of public facilities in Montgomery County ever be corrected?

    • On August 2, 2013 at 3:17 am responded with... #

      Also, if “Montgomery County’s formal procedures regarding the design and construction of public facilities conform to national best practices”, then explain these conclusions (Vol. 1, next-to-last page) in the SSTC structural evaluation report that Montgomery County commissioned (which can be found on Montgomery County’s website: (1) “…the design depicted in/on the Contract Documents was not prepared in accordance with the applicable Building Code(s), the WMATA Manual of Design Criteria or Industry Standards. Based on our analysis, failure of the design to follow applicable codes and standards resulted in widespread cracking in the slabs, beams, and girders, and reductions of minimum concrete cover requirements.” (2) “…the independent inspectors, Special Inspections Program Special Inspector, Quality Assurance, Quality Control, etc. did not raise sufficient concern regarding the numerous issues that were known and/or became visible in the concrete during construction, apparently did not follow up on solutions to those issues, and did not perform their services in accordance with Industry Standard, their Contract, or the Statement of Special Inspections.” (3) “…the Contractor did not construct structural elements of the SSTC facility in accordance with the Contract Documents, ASIs, and RFI responses. The Contractor, among other things as detailed herein, placed concrete materials not in accordance with the Contract Documents.” 

  2. On August 2, 2013 at 3:09 am responded with... #

    If “Montgomery County’s formal procedures regarding the design and construction of public facilities conform to national best practices”, then explain these statements from from the conclusions (Vol. 1, next-to-last page) to the SSTC structural evaluation report that Montgomery County commissioned (which can be found on Montgomery County’s website): (1) “…the design depicted in/on the Contract Documents was not prepared in accordance with the applicable Building Code(s), the WMATA Manual of Design Criteria or Industry Standards. Based on our analysis, failure of the design to follow applicable codes and standards resulted in widespread cracking in the slabs, beams, and girders, and reductions of minimum concrete cover requirements.” (2) “…the independent inspectors, Special Inspections Program Special Inspector, Quality Assurance, Quality Control, etc. did not raise sufficient concern regarding the numerous issues that were known and/or became visible in the concrete during construction, apparently did not follow up on solutions to those issues, and did not perform their services in accordance with Industry Standard, their Contract, or the Statement of Special Inspections.” (3) “…the Contractor did not construct structural elements of the SSTC facility in accordance with the Contract Documents, ASIs, and RFI responses. The Contractor, among other things as detailed herein, placed concrete materials not in accordance with the Contract Documents.” 

  3. On August 2, 2013 at 3:16 am responded with... #

    If “Montgomery County’s formal procedures regarding the design and construction of public facilities conform to national best practices”, then explain these conclusions (Vol. 1, next-to-last page) in the SSTC structural evaluation report that Montgomery County commissioned (which can be found on Montgomery County’s website): (1) “…the design depicted in/on the Contract Documents was not prepared in accordance with the applicable Building Code(s), the WMATA Manual of Design Criteria or Industry Standards. Based on our analysis, failure of the design to follow applicable codes and standards resulted in widespread cracking in the slabs, beams, and girders, and reductions of minimum concrete cover requirements.” (2) “…the independent inspectors, Special Inspections Program Special Inspector, Quality Assurance, Quality Control, etc. did not raise sufficient concern regarding the numerous issues that were known and/or became visible in the concrete during construction, apparently did not follow up on solutions to those issues, and did not perform their services in accordance with Industry Standard, their Contract, or the Statement of Special Inspections.” (3) “…the Contractor did not construct structural elements of the SSTC facility in accordance with the Contract Documents, ASIs, and RFI responses. The Contractor, among other things as detailed herein, placed concrete materials not in accordance with the Contract Documents.” 




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