Question Of The Week: Construction Projects; Lessons Learned?

logo-q-of-the-weekIn Washington, DC, the renovation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) headquarters is getting attention, for all the wrong reasons. The construction project budget has increased by almost 300%, from a projected initial cost of $55 million in CFPB’s fiscal year 2012 to $95 million in April 2013. It was revised a month later to $111.4 million, and then to $145.1 million in July 2013. Established in July 2011, CFPB is an independent agency of the U.S. government responsible for consumer protection in the financial sector.

The latest figures estimate project costs $215.8 million. According to a June 30, 2014 Federal Reserve Board of Governors’ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) letter, “Based on the CFPB’s assessed requirements as of June 5, 2014, we currently estimate all-in costs to total approximately $215.8 million” and “a sound business case is not available to support the funding of the renovation.” Furthermore, in what has become a disturbing pattern of either gross incompetence or systematic obfuscation agency wide, the OIG wrote that CFPB officials were “unable to locate any documentation” related to the renovation.

Hopefully, one of your construction projects has never gotten to this level of budgetary increase, but in the new construction or renovation projects you have overseen in recent years, what was the biggest challenge for you and your team? How did you address the challenge, and what were the lessons learned for the next project you handled?