Reminder: Don’t forget to register for Green Building Law Update’s Birthday Happy Hour
If you are looking for green building projects resulting directly from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, then the General Services Administration is the agency for you. The GSA received $5.5 billion to support its High Performance and Sustainable Buildings program. Previously, I had reported that the GSA was requiring LEED certification and preferred LEED silver certification. Turns out, those requirements have changed:
As a means of evaluating and measuring our green building achievements, all GSA new construction projects and substantial renovations must achieve Silver certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating System of the U.S. Green Building Council. Projects are encouraged to exceed LEED® Silver and achieve LEED® Gold.
Back in April, we reported on an initial list of ARRA projects published by the GSA. Since then, very little information was available regarding these projects. Bisnow recently reported on the first GSA ARRA project award that I have seen:
[C]ongrats again to sponsor Grunley Construction for landing a renovation contract for the Mary E. Switzer Building at 330 C St., SW. Having completed Phase I in 2008, GSA put Grunley back to work using Recovery Act funding. The project includes: interior construction removal (including Hazmat); a "green roof system"; renovated elevators; and, three 2-story atriums, like the one above. Work is underway, due in July 2011. Designed by HNTB, it’s aiming LEED Silver.
The Grunley-GSA contract is just the tip of the iceberg. ENR recently reviewed tremendous progress made by the GSA in awarding ARRA projects:
After taking about six weeks just to produce its list of stimulus projects, GSA has shifted into overdrive. It has awarded contracts totaling nearly $1.1 billion for projects involving about 120 buildings. Twenty of those projects account for more than $940 million of that total.
Most of those funding commitments came in a burst of awards announced since early July, according to Anthony Costa, acting commissioner of GSA’s Public Buildings Service. “At least 20 of the 120 projects are already under construction,” he told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at a July 31 hearing. “The rest will begin soon.”
Even more GSA recovery-act work is on the way. Costa says the agency plans to award another $1 billion in ARRA contracts by Dec. 31, with the goal of having 91% of the $5.5 billion under contract by Sept. 30, 2010.
Of course, it’s nearly impossible to report on stimulus projects without highlighting the fact that bids are much lower than anticipated. In the case of GSA ARRA projects, bids are coming in 10 to 15 percent below government estimates. I have serious concerns about bids coming in below government estimates, which I will discuss in more detail next week.