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aspect of the matter was not brought to the attention of the gentleman who raised the question. That may have been the fault of our people who presented the case.
Mr. Bates. There is a great deal of difference between laying a floor on the second story and laying it on the ground.
General YOUNG. And also, of course, there is a great deal of difference in putting down a surface on an existing surface and putting down a waterproofing membrane and resurfacing it.
Mr. Bates. What was the material you say they were going to
Mr. MERREL A. CoE (Municipal Architect). That is a trade name for magnesium oxychloride flooring.
General Young. Mr. Coe is the Municipal Architect.
Mr. BATES. Is it your opinion that magnesite that was suggested yesterday, instead of waterproof compound, will not stand up!
Mr. CoE. I think it is necessary to put in a membrane under the finished floor to permanently remedy the situation, and as far as the estimates that we have in our office, I am satisfied that the magnesite flooring alone will cost as much as the removing of the existing finish and replacing it with a membrane and a cement floor. I think in the estimate prepared by this other gentleman, he did not take into consideration the removal of the existing kitchen equipment, the replacing of that equipment after the floor was finished, and relocation of certain existing floor drains that do not function properly.
Mr. BATEs. Now, is it your opinion that this so-called waterproof membrane, which is your description of it, cannot be laid on the concrete base and then the floor put on top of that?
Mr. Cor. I think it would take up too much room and interfere with the floor level. I think it would be better to put in a new flooring before the membrane is applied.
Mr. BATES. Well, that is a small matter in a budget of 92 million, yet it is a case in point where if you just elaborate on it and bring it into every activity of the Government, I think that was his viewpoint, that these estimates and the work within the Department is not carefully planned and thought out.
Now, for the benefit of the record, Mr. Coe, will you please tell the committee just what your method of estimating these jobs is. Do you carefully estimate every job of any consequence?
Mr. COE. We do, sir.
Mr. Bates. So that you have a staff of competent men that can go out quickly and make an estimate?
Mr. Coe. That is right.
Mr. BATES. And then, of course, all the work is done on a contract basis of this character?
Mr. Cor. That is right. On small items the repair shop at times does the work.
Mr. Bates. And you keep a cost schedule on that, too?
Mr. BATES. So that you have a very close understanding of what ('osts actually are in the reconstruction of the buildings.
Mr. COE. Yes, sir.
Mr. BATES. So that it comes down to a question of specifications as to how you are going to do the job in this particular case, and probably all others. You can do it on a temporary patchwork basis or you can do a permanent job, and thereby eliminate all your maintenance costs.
Mr. Cor. I even question the estimate with the magnesite flooring as being too low.
Mr. BATEs. You do? So, you make a very minute study of all projects of that type that call for remodeling?
Mr. COE. That is right, sir.
Mr. Bates. Or reconstruction of any public buildings, and how much of a staff have you got of your own!
Mr. COE. Well, we have a maintenance engineer with an assistant who works on buildings other than schools. The District of Columbia Repair Shop has a force of men who make up estimates after the engineering is done by our office; they are familiar with costs of labor and costs for repair work and the cost of materials.
Mr. Bates. So, you actually have men capable of going into the field and making up these estimates.
Mr. COE. We do, sir.
Mr. BATEs. And then submitting them to you or somebody else for double checking.
Mr. COE. That is right.
Mr. Bates. If there is any major job, then you draft specifications and plans and submit them out to contract?
Mr, COE. That is right.
Mr. Cor. We prepare plans and specifications for even these small jobs.
Mr. BATEs. For a job such as this?
Mr. Bates. Of course, that is very fine. Well, I think that answers the question so far as the general policy of the District is concerned in the treatment of problems of that character that require the renovation, repair, or overhaul of buildings of that kind, and I wish you would submit also at this point in the record, just what your organization consists of so that we will have a full understanding as to how it is headed up and down by engineers and architects. Your pay rolls will show you that, of course.
Mr. Cor. Yes, sir.
Mr. BATES. I don't think you will be called again unless it is in regard to the over-all costs of maintaining the buildings of the District. if you are going to testify along that line.
(The document referred to faces the preceding page.)
Mr. HAROLD L. Booch (assistant to Representative Horan). Mr. Horan's illustration may or may not have been fortunately adapted yesterday, and it was on the basis of a request of his at the hearing of the subcommittee on appropriations for the details of this structure or bid, and he discovered that there were no drawn details and that there were no specifications in factual figures that were immediately available to the request that was made, on the basis that it was already approved and sent to the subcommittee on appropriations for action.
Mr. BATES. I believe he made that statement that insofar as the facts of the case were concerned, there were no plans and specifications. I think you just made the statement that on that job you worked out the plans.
Mr. Cor. We would have before the contract was put out for bid. At the present time we have a preliminary plan that indicates the extent of the work and amount of the work to be done; there are no specifications.
Mr. Bates. Your estimate is what on the job? This is probably one job of several thousand in the District.
Mr. Coe, they made a rough estimate, based on experience as to what they thought the costs would be, and brought some preliminary plans to justify that estimate; and those unit costs were approved by somebody in your Department, including yourself?
Mr. Cor. Our office works in the main on percentage of construction service money. It would not be possible for us to work out complete plans and specifications before an appropriation is made. We did work up enough to get a picture and make a reasonable estimate.
Mr. Bates. In this case did Mr. Horan ask your Department for plans and specifications or some preliminary plans and estimates; how did you arrive at the cost ? Mr. Booch is assistant to Mr. Horan. To whom did you write and what was the response that you got?
Mr. Booch. To the Superintendent of Weights and Markets who presented it before the subcommittee, and who replied 2 days later to Mr. Horan's request that there were no plans nor detailed specifications drawn; that it was based entirely upon the visual estimate made by someone who went to the site; and Mr. Horan then raised the question of whether or not it was the general policy for all the appropriation requests from the Department.
Mr. Bates. I do not know what your experience has been with building construction; I have had a lot of it myself, and I do not think that we ought to require the District engineers or the Building Department to go out and make complete details of a floor. A floor, after all, is a pretty simple project.
Mr. Boocii. I used the word “fortunately” or “unfortunately," as it applied to Mr. Horan's illustration.
Mr. Bates. Then, you know, as I know, that it is not necessary to work out a detailed drawing of the floor based on the actual experience that you would have in the field, especially when it is not known whether or not you are going to get an appropriation. I think it costs a little money to get up a detailed drawing; it costs a hundred dollars at least even on a floor. But did you inquire as to any preliminary plans, or what the estimate was based on?
Mr. Boocu. Yes, sir. I just stated that the reply was that it was on visual observation of what might be needed there.
Mr. BATES. What is your answer to that?