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Army Corps of Engineers Under Fire for Lax Construction Oversight

In just the latest example of the consequences that can result from a lack of quality control in construction, the Army Corps of Engineers has been sharply criticized by the Department of Defense for work done on military bases. From Law 360:

“The office of DOD Inspector General Jon T. Rymer found that officials’ management of the construction of a joint special operations task force headquarters at Bagram Airfield in Parwan Province, Afghanistan, and related support facilities, was not in line with Army Corps guidelines or the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

“Army Corps Transatlantic District-North project engineers and construction representatives weren’t given the required statement of understanding and compliance for quality assurance individuals to acknowledge their understanding of their duties, the DOD found.

“What’s more, project engineers were working with incomplete quality control plans from the contractors, Turkey-based Elektrik Makine Ticaret AS and METAG Insaat Ticaret AS. The DOD said construction should not have even begun without such plans, and faulted the project engineers for not preparing quality assurance plans for project surveillance.

“The Army Corps technical specialists also failed to perform inspections of electrical, mechanical and structural features in a timely manner, instead waiting until day 497 and day 504, according to the DOD.

“‘Project engineers did not perform the contract oversight responsibilities identified and required by the contracting officer such as verifying contractors performed technical requirements of the contracts and performing inspections of those technical requirements,’ the report said.

“The DOD said the oversight shortfalls occurred since officials didn’t always have key quality assurance documents available before they arrived and couldn’t explain why quality assurance requirements weren’t fully executed from the project’s start.

“As a result, when the command center and support facilities are completed, the DOD projects a heightened risk that the facilities may not meet the contract requirements.

“The report noted that a November 2011 review of mechanical, electrical and structural features, over a year after construction began, found the contractors’ overall work to be ‘unsatisfactory.’ In April of this year, an Army Corps engineer also reported that the contractors’ work had not significantly improved.”

Similarly, another report from Fox News found the Corps paid out $5.4 million for shoddy trash incinerators that were delivered years behind schedule and never used, leaving soldiers at an Afghanistan base with no other option than to keep burning waste in open-air pits.

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