City Comptroller faults NYCHA over CM/Build oversight

Audit found that NYCHA could save $1.5 million in its capital projects program annually. On March 15, 2012, City Comptroller John C. Liu issued an audit report on the New York City Housing Authority’s oversight of its Construction Management Build Program. Under the program, known as CM/Build, NYCHA awards contracts to construction management firms to provide pre-construction and construction management services for particular capital projects. NYCHA implemented the program in 2003 to improve project quality and ensure the effective and efficient administration of projects. As of the report date, NYCHA had awarded CM/Build contracts totaling $425 million to ten firms. No City funds were used for the CM/Build program, but the Comptroller audited it to identify any issues that could affect NYCHA capital improvement projects where City funding is used.

The Comptroller’s audit claimed that NYCHA officials could not adequately oversee CM/Build projects due to problems with obtaining accurate and complete information from Primavera, a software program used to track projects. The audit found that as a result officials were unable to respond promptly to delays in completing construction and closing out project work. The Comptroller calculated that delays of CM/Build projects cost NYCHA approximately $6 million. Additionally, the audit suggested that NYCHA could save over $1.5 million a year by assigning its in-house staff to oversee the CM/Build program at the project locations on a part-time basis.

The audit set forth seven recommendations. NYCHA agreed with four of the recommendations and disagreed with two. According to the audit, NYCHA did not directly address the recommendation to ensure that complete and accurate information be recorded in Primavera. Instead NYCHA responded that it conducted meetings with project managers and senior staff. NYCHA disagreed with the recommendation to ensure that CM/Build projects are completed and closed out within their originally scheduled timeframes. In response, NYCHA asserted that delays could not be attributed to information in Primavera, and that the audit’s calculation of delay costs was overestimated. NYCHA also disagreed with the recommendation to consider the viability of assigning in-house construction project managers on a part-time basis to oversee the CM/Build program. NYCHA responded that their in-house managers were necessary to oversee projects and to act as liaisons to residents affected by construction.

NYCHA agreed  to regularly update certain information in Primavera, and to ensure that Primavera’s tracking reports contain information about all projects that are not completed and closed out.

Audit Report on the New York City Housing Authority Oversight of the Construction Management/Build Program, 7E11-119A, Office of the Comptroller, March 15, 2012.


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