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Mr. BATEs. So that you have a very close understanding of what costs 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. Cor. 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. Cor. That is right.
Mr. Bates. If there is any major job, then you draft specifications and plans and submit them out to contract ?
Mr. Cor. 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. COE. Yes, sir. General Young. Do you wish that given now or submitted to you? Mr. Bates. Submitted to the reporter. Mr. COE. I will bring it out in later testimony.
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.
Vr. 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. Boocu. I used the word “fortunately” or “unfortunately," as it applied to Mr. Horan's illustration.
Mr. Bites. 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. Booch. 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?
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. 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 detaileil 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, iş 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 District 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 is the policy.
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.
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.
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.
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.