NSF OIG Sends Alert Concerning Headquarters Construction Delays

September 23, 2014 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

construction-1-1189654-mIf you’ve ever had major remodeling work done on your house, you know how frustrating it can be if delays in progress extend the completion date. I personally considered myself lucky when the three-week kitchen remodel our family went through a couple of years ago took a little over a month, knowing that some projects often take much longer. Still, as the days mounted, we grew increasingly weary of the noise and the dust, and were more than ready for the work to be done.

Thus, I can understand the frustration felt by the National Science Foundation’s Office of Inspector General, which released an alert memorandum this month concerning NSF’s relocation to its new headquarters location in Alexandria, Va. The OIG expressed its “strong and immediate concerns about the missed schedule milestone dates that have occurred and could continue to occur” due to an ongoing impasse between NSF and AFGE Local 3403, and the possible financial impact of the schedule slippage.

In June 2013, the General Services Administration selected and signed a 15-year lease agreement on behalf of NSF for the construction of a new headquarters. NSF was scheduled to occupy the new building by Dec. 30, 2016, and begin paying rent on it on Jan. 1, 2017. However, those dates are now threatened and any delays in the occupancy date caused by NSF could have a significant cost to the agency, the OIG said.

NSF officials in charge of the relocation efforts have met with the union to discuss various issues associated with the new building, which have added several weeks of delays to the work on the facility. “The impasse on the outstanding issues has caused milestone dates for the design of the new building to be missed and could affect the construction schedule,” the NSF OIG alert states. “Due to the building schedule’s milestone dates that NSF has already missed, the potential cost of any delays, and the potential for protracted negotiations with the union, it is imperative that NSF senior management focus the highest level of attention on this issue.”

Hopefully these issues can be resolved in a timely manner to help NSF get back on track. If not, these costs potentially could impact federal grant oversight. They always say there’s no place like home, and I’m sure NSF would like to get there sooner rather than later.

What is your reaction to the NSF’s construction conflict? Let us know.

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