When We Grow Up

…me ‘n major dad want to build things on base. It pays pretty well, it would seem.

I’d knock a million off just for the red, white and blue, being the patriot I am. One can afford to be generous if this is the going rate.

8 Responses to “When We Grow Up”

  1. Mr. Bingley says:

    Well, chalk one up for honesty under this administration: when they come right out and tell you that the general contractor is “The Dick Corporation” then you know the taxpayers are getting the shaft.

  2. Dave J says:

    Holy crap, 47 million dollars?! Good for Jeff Miller, I assume, earmarking that taxpayer money in the defense budget that could otherwise go to, I don’t know, practically anything that might actually benefit the servicepeople rather than developers/contractors/whoever.

  3. All I’m getting is an industry average for a resort WITH a waterpark at $237-$300/square foot. (There’d better NOT be a waterpark, so I would assume this should be significantly cheaper.) Now, there are land aquisition costs that run 11-15% of a project that aren’t a factor in our little building project, as it’s NAS Pensacola property already. I can’t imagine that anyone would sink that much money into a Red Roof Inn, for instance, which is basically what they’re building here.
    I’d be ashamed to put the sign up. How do you NOT slam on the brakes and wreck the car when you get to the FORTYSEVEN MILLION dollar part? Then again, who reads the signs (besides major dad and moi) to begin with? There’s thousands of the things! And they know that. Gives them a righteous out when someone wakes up.

    “Whuddaya mean, ‘no one told you it was $47mil’? The sign’s been out there for two years!”

  4. The_Real_JeffS says:

    Well, folks, allow me to step in with my MILCON (“military construction”) experience, and make a few comments.
    First, yeah, this is a boatload of cash for visitor quarters. No argument there. I might also point out that there will administrative costs that NAVFAC charges to manage the contract, on top of that $47 million (I don’t know what NAVFAC tacks on, I’d have to ask a certain Seabee buddy of mine), so the final bill is actually higher.
    Second, I have no idea as to the layout and square footage, but I’m certain that this is a design/build contract. That means NAVFAC gives the contractor a scope of work, and the contractor does all the design work, including preparing the plans and specifications. NAVFAC reviews the P&S for compliance with the S-O-W, and myriad Guvmint regulations, for the contractor to build.
    So the Navy is paying the contractor to do what used to be an exclusively government function a mere 10 years.
    Why am I certain? This is SOP within DoD. The Corps of Engineers does the same. But that means what used to be a “hidden cost” (i.e., labor costs for Federal employees) is now an up front cost. A decade ago, the number on that sign would have been much lower. But we would still be paying much the same.
    Third, I am equally certain that a significant cost factor for this project are building codes. And not just the local codes: DoD has the “Unified Facility Criteria” that guide the design and construction of DoD projects. And these are in addition to local codes and industry standard specifications (which Federal construction contracts tend to follow).
    For example: Force Protection. I won’t provide details, but rest assured that any Holiday Inn following those standards would price themselves out of business. They work, but they ain’t cheap.
    And those are just the reasonable items. Don’t get me started on some the silly disputes I witnessed whilst in Kuwait. Silly to us bubbas in the Sandbox, I mean. The folks back in CONUS were dead serious.
    Finally, and by no means least, this is a line item in the federal budget, based on the value of the contract. Congress specifically approved this project in the last budget. This is Federal law, based on the Constitution, and is not negotiable. You Florida residents might want to ask your Congressional delegation about this….I expect they are mighty pleased to see this one break ground.
    But there is one positive aspect to this: the project will be built a lot faster using the design/build process. Under the traditional system, it wasn’t uncommon for a project to take 10 years or more to get built when the government did the design work. And the design was generally obsolete by the time a shovel hit dirt.
    Using design/build, once the contract is awarded, a project similar to a hotel can be built in less than 18 months, if it isn’t too complicated, and there are no unforeseen problems (e.g., environmental conflicts). Actually, it takes at least as much time to get the project through Congressional approval.
    So there’s a trade off here. DoD pays more up front to get something built a lot faster. But it’s likely that DoD would pay the same amount over a longer period of time……while the troops do without the facility.
    I don’t know that this particular project is important or not; that’s not the point. I just wanted to point out some things some interesting twists to this story that people generally don’t see.
    Perfeshinul edchumakatshun, as it were. ;-P

  5. major dad says:

    F.Y.I. T_R_J this 47 mil building is being built between two existing quarters and will be a standard rectangle design no more than three or four floors and house 2-300 people max. About the only force protection going into this project will be that it will have credit card style locks on the doors and is posistioned so stray drives from the golf course won’t hit any cars in the parking lot. They are building a new gym for 16 mil. the old one was pretty well smashed by Ivan as it was right on the water. The new one is being built about a 150 meters from the water now as if that would make a difference.

  6. The_Real_JeffS says:

    Eh, then it’s just another effing boondoggle, Major Dad. I had imagined, following the UFC, somewhat more elaborate FP requirements. Standoff, for example. Silly me. I should have known better.
    There’s no way that this project went through the approval process without serious Congressional influence (the MILCON list gets scrutinized at all levels with an electron microscope before it leaves OSD, and goes to the House and Senate committees).
    So the congresscritters found a way to slide more money into their area….ramp up the costs on construction projects. Or just don’t question the back up data for the project request.
    Also, after re-reading my rant, I see that I forgot one teensy weensy little detail. The design/build process also means that the contractors make a profit off of the design phase. As I doubt that an A/E firm will reduce their salaries and other costs simply to avoid overburdening the DoD budget, that’s an additional cost that we never saw before.
    Still, not waiting a zillion years to get the project built is a major change. You pay through the nose, but the work does get done fairly quickly.
    I won’t go into the assorted problems inherent with the design/build process, though. The system is anything but perfect.

  7. Dave J says:

    Hence my comment above, Jeff. Jeff Miller is the US Representative for Florida’s 1st Congressional District, which runs from the Alabama line over to about Destin, including all of Escambia County and, of course, NAS Pensacola. He succeeded Joe Scaborough, whom you are probably more likely to have heard of.

  8. The_Real_JeffS says:


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