Page images
PDF
EPUB

Mr. Cor. Well, we do have a very preliminary floor plan showing the size of the kitchen, the location of the kitchen equipment, and a detailed estimate of the work to be done.

Mr. BATEs. Did you have it at the time Mr. Booch asked for it?
Mr. Cor. I believe we did.
Mr. Booch. It was drawn at Mr. Horan's request a week later.

Mr. BATEs. Well, it may be the basis for a little disagreement, but I do not think I would criticize the Department too heavily for not drawing up detailed plans on the floor because it is so fundamental that it is such an easy problem to estimate the costs on it.

General Young. It seems to me that you covered it in your remarks, Mr. Chairman; that is, that it is impossible for us to make detailed plans and specifications for every item for which we request an appropriation. As you say, many of those things may not be appropriated for, and in that case we would have spent a great deal of money preparing needless plans. Now, it is perfectly possible for an expert maintenance man to make a very close estimate of what a job done in a certain manner will cost. He will probably look it over, make some checks from a handbook, make some computations on a piece of paper, and come up with an answer which is within 10 or 15 percent of the correct amount.

Mr. BATES. That is a common practice for what we call general work. If we put a competent architect on that kind of a job and he takes all the measurements and puts all of the unit costs and gets up a detailed drawing, why we would be overwhelmed.

Mr. Booch. Mr. Bates, not to belabor the point, there may be differences of techniques. Mr. Horan secured Mr. Clancy from the office of the Architect of the Capitol, who did this on the same basis; he visited the scene, looked it over, on the the basis of figures that he jotted down on a notebook at that time, he submitted a figure of $1,675, as contrasted to the $3,500, so, you see, there can be a variance.

Mr. Bates. But that is on the basis of a different type of flooring. Now, with all due respect to Mr. Clancy, whoever he is, Architect of the Capitol, give me a man who has been working in a municipal department over a period of years dealing with similar projects, what you might call small-scale buildings, who daily, every day in the week, is struggling with kindred problems of that type; give me his experience in preference to a man who, say, is working out the problems of a great big building such as the Architect of the Capitol may be doing, if that is his job here. As I say, we do not need to belabor the point, but I just want to bring out the fact that the method by which the thing is set up and the method through which an estimate is brought up to be submitted to the Distriet Committees of the House and Senate, is one on which I thoroughly agree with General Young that we cannot work out a detailed drawing of a little project where it comes up for the repair of a building. It ought to be thoroughly worked out before any bids are asked, and you assure me that that

Mr. Cor. That is the policy.

Mr. Bates. General Young, I do not have any other questions that I am interested in. You covered the question of increased costs of labor due to legislative act up here during the past 10 years, and you are including in the record the expenditures over that period of time so that we will have it.

is the policy:

General Young. Yes, sir.

Mr. BaTEs. So that we will have an idea what those expenditures were over that period of time, particularly with relation to the percent of the so-called tax dollar that is spent on highways.

General YOUNG. Yes, sir.
Mr. Bates. Or building construction by way of contract labor.

What I am trying to develop in the record is that the work of this District is done on a competitive basis wherever it is possible to do so, is that and the only thought that I have in that regard, in order to determine the efficiency and economy of the work that is being done, first of all, proper plans are worked out in complete detail, and then plenty of competition is present. You see to it that you do have plenty of competition.

General Young. We get the most we can, sir.

Mr. Bates. That is fine. I do not know of anything else, General, that I could ask you specifically. Your department heads are here

General Young. My department heads are here; yes, sir.
Mr. BATES. Will you enumerate them for me?

General Young. "The Department of Sanitary Engineering, is the Department among those present which spends the largest amount of money; it includes the Sewer Division, the Refuse Division, and the Water Department. The head of the Department of Sanitary Engineering, and the heads of the three subordinate divisions, are ready to make such explanation as you desire.

Mr. BATES. I will be glad to hear them. General Young. This is Mr. Kemp, the head of the Department of Sanitary Engineering.

STATEMENT OF HAROLD A. KEMP, DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF

SANITARY ENGINEERING, WASHINGTON, D. C. Mr. KEMP. The Department of Sanitary Engineering is divided into five divisions, namely, water, sewer, refuse, sewage treatment, and public convenience. It directly serves the public with essential utilities, and must respond to the city's growth.

Our cost trends closely follow that of the Engineering News Record Construction Cost Index which was 235 in 1937, and 391 in 1947, or an increase of 66 percent in the 10-year period.

For example, labor costs per day, senior mechanics $7.84 in 1937; $12.32 in 1947; and that is an increase of 57 percent.

Mechanics, $6.64 in 1937; $10.56 in 1947, an increase of 59 percent. A submechanic $4.64 in 1937, and $7.44 in 1947, an increase of 60 percent.

Skilled laborer, $4.24 in 1937, and $7.20 in 1947, an increase of 70 percent. Labor, $3.60 in 1937, and $6.32 in 1947, an increase of 76 percent.

Now, the sewer costs per foot installed—these are actual averages of contract prices—

Mr. Bates. May I interject a moment on the labor costs. The labor cost was $3.60 in 1937 and $6.32 in 1947? How did that increase come about? That was not by legislation, was it?

Mr. KEMP. That was made by the wage board, but it followed the trend of costs established by legislative action for classified employees.

Mr. Bates. Well, I think the increase of classified employees was about 42 percent, was it not?

Mr. KEMP. That is right; except the increases for the lower brackets are much higher.

Mr. BATES. I see.

Mr. KEMP. If you will notice, it is only a 57 percent-increase for the senior mechanic, but a 76-percent increase in the labor position. Now, if you will consider my salary, I only had an increase of about 25 percent, so the increase decreases as your salary goes up.

Now, I want to give you the sewer costs per foot installed. Mr. BATES. Is this contract or byMr. KEMP. This is contract. I want it understood that practically all of our work is done by contract; we do certain work, which I will discuss in a while, by maintenance forces.

Mr. BATEs. So, you know in your own organization the maintenance costs?

Mr. KEMP. The sewer costs for 10-inch pipe, in 1937, installed, was $3.40 a foot; in 1917 it is $6.10 a foot, an increase of 79 percent.

A 15-inch sewer cost, installed, in 1937, $1.70 a foot; in 1947 it is $8.10 a foot, an increase of 72 percent.

A 4-foot sewer cost, installed, in 1937, $23.50; in 1947, $39, an increase of 66 percent.

Now, water pipe per foot, installed, an 8-inch water pipe, in 1937

Mr. Bates. Now, the same thing applies to water pipe as to the percent of contract work?

Mr. KEMP. Yes, sir; that is correct.
Mr. Bates. By competition !
Mr. KEMP. That is correct.

Mr. BATEs. At this point, how many bids do you invariably receive? And how do you advertise!

Mr. KEMP. As a rule we generally have at least three bids. We have had some shortage of contractors in the city in the last year, and sometimes we have not even received a bid.

Mr. BATES. Do you compare the cost of those installations under contract with the costs, say, in the city of Baltimore or Philadelphia, or some other city?

Mr. KEMP. Yes, sir; we do, not only that, but we keep very close check with the Engineering News Index, which is the indication of general cost trends all over the country. We know that in Baltimore and the District of Columbia that our costs are about 5 to 10 percent higher than the general index. Mr. BATES. Why is that?

Mr. KEMP. That I do not know exactly, except probably our shortage of labor is a little more critical here than it is in other sections of the country. Of course, the South is cheaper, much cheaper, than we are in labor costs.

Mr. Bates. By that you mean, of course, for the most part, installations of sewer and water pipes, excepting a few men.

Mr. KEMP. That is right.
Mr. Bates. It is all done by what we call manual labor?
Mr. KEMP. That is right.
Mr. BATEs. Is there plenty of manual labor available here?

year and a

I notice that our welfare department has quite a large list of men that may be available, or the Unemployment Compensation Commission, which I understand, is paying out a large amount of money in unemployment compensation every week. Is not that a source available for tapping for common labor, so to speak? Mr. KEMP. About a year or

half
ago

labor was very scarce. We had difficulty getting labor. The market has eased up. and today we have no difficulty getting labor.

Mr. BATEs. Now, these contractors who come in and do the work for the District sewer and water, are they local contractors or do they come from outside the District ?

Mr. KEMP. They are mostly local; some come from outside.
Mr. Bates. Therefore, they employ, for the most part, local help.
Mr. KEMP. That is right.

Mr. BATEs. Is there any correlation between the two departments, your Department, say, and the public relief or the I'nemployment Compensation Commission, as to getting help on jobs?

Mr. KEMP. Oh, yes, sir. We go to the USES and to our District services for the veterans, and so forth, for our help. In fact, we are now short several draftsmen.

Mr. Bates. I am speaking more particularly about common labor, the common laborer.

Mr. KEMP. Common laborer, we go to the United States Emplovment Service.

Mr. Bates. Do the contractors also go there for help or do they have their own crews?

Mr. KEMP. As a rule they have their own stand-by crews, but for additional help on a big job they go to the USES.

Mr. BATES. They do not go outside the District for help?
Mr. KEMP. Not as a rule.
Mr. Bates. All right; go ahead.

Mr. KEMP. I do not believe I gave you the water-pipe costs. They were $2.68 in 1937 and $4.15 in 1947.

Mr. Bates. What size pipe?
Mr. KEMP. That is 8-inch pipe.
Mr. BATES. Eight inches.
Mr. KEMP. Or 55-percent increase in cost.

Mr. BATEs. Do you buy the water pipe yourself!-that is, the District buys the pipe and then says to the manufacturer, "Here we will provide the pipe and you will install it."

Mr. KEMP. We do both; we have a considerable stock of the smallersized pipes. Sometimes, in the larger contract, the contractor furnishes the pipe, but we generally keep a stock of pipe on hand.

Mr. Bates. Why is it good policy for the District itself—where the work must be done and where the knowledge of the quality of the pipe is so well established by years of experience—you do not, say, contract individually for the pipe and then provide the pipe for the contractors to instali?

Mr. KEMP. That is our regular practice.
Mr. BATES. I see.

Mr. KEMP. However, in the recent couple of years pipe has been so short that it has been a battle to get it.

Mr. Bates. It would also be short for your contractors.
Mr. KEMP. It is.

Mr. Bates. But you probably would have an opportunity to get it more than they would.

Mr. KEMP. We try both courses to get it.
Mr. BATES. But where it is possible you buy the pipe.
Mr. KEMP. We have a stock of pipe where it is possible.

Mr. BATEs. Both from the standpoint of being economical, because being continuous users of the pipe that is being in large quantities used and checking the quality

Mr. KEMP. That is right. The Water Division, Mr. Auld, will answer any details that you might have to ask in that respect.

Now, 36-inch water pipe, installed, cost $17.28 in 1937, and $26.70 in 1947, an increase of 54 percent.

You will notice that the water pipe installed has not increased as much as the sewer pipe, the reason being on account of the depth of trenches; the sewer pipe is generally 10 to 11 feet underground, and water is 41/2, and so much more labor is involved.

This Department had 2,080 employees in 1937 and has 2,473 today, an increase of 19 percent. During the same period of time the population of Washington has increased 38 percent, as the general said, in round figures 40 percent.

If it is assumed that our over-all costs vary as the Engineering News Record Construction Cost Index, which is a very safe assumption, and the population of the city, the present cost of running the Department and rendering service equal to that of 1937 should be 1.66 times 1.38, or 2.3 times the cost in 1937.

Our operating costs increased from $2,791,000 in 1937 to $5,092,000 in 1947, or 1.82 times.

Our construction and improvement program has not followed the city's growth, due to the wartime restrictions on materials and lack of construction personnel. During the past 2 years, we lacked sufficient funds to even start a program of catching up with the city's expansion. Today, exclusive of our water requirements, which were presented by Mr. Auld, we face a known backlog of work involving a capital outlay of $30,000,000. Over half of this is for sewer enlargement and extensions to reduce the hardship from flooding long suffered by our people.

I want to specially point out that the present trends indicate a boom in building construction; with restrictions removed, it appears that our estimate of 8,000 new living units in 1948 may be increased to 12,000, and that this increase may continue indefinitely. We must have funds for extending the necessary sewer, water, and refuse services. Unless we get sufficient funds, dangerous sanitary and fire hazard conditions will prevail. Simultaneously, we should have relief from and give relief to flood damage suffered in many parts of

the city.

Mr. BATEs. Let me ask you a question at that point. When the city was originally laid out, of course, I presume no city in America was laid out with a more perfect design, let us say, so that the arteries leading to the outlying areas of the District were so well established and the growth of the city, I presume, should have been anticipated by the engineers in the laying out of the water mains, the trunk lines, the trunk-line sewers, so that at any particular time as the city grew the anticipated sewer and water requirements ought to have been known or at least anticipated by those in authority.

« PreviousContinue »