Mr. SCHAFER. Is it not a fact, with reference to the types, that the drawings and specifications were not specific and that a Milwaukee concern submitted a bid almost $100,000 lower than a Pennsylvania concern, which received the contract? While I admit the Milwaukee concern did not completely meet the specifications the successful bidder also did not. Would it not have been more economical to have had more complete plans and specifications drawn so that the bidders could have submitted a reasonably intelligent bid rather than to ignore a bid almost $100,000 lower and leave it go to the Pennsylvania concern that did not meet the incomplete, halfbaked plans and specifications?

Admiral PARSON. I appreciate the criticism, but I would not consider them half-baked plans and specifications.

Mr. SCHAFER. From an engineering standpoint, then, you maintain that

Mr. HOLLISTER. Mr. Chairman, I think the gentleman should let the witness finish. The witness was only half-way through his answer.

Admiral Parson. In preparing specifications for equipment of that character, it is manifestly impossible for any bureau to prepare the detail plans and specifications. What the Government desires to secure is the knowledge, expert knowledge of people who are primarily in the business of providing such equipment, and it is the correct policy to prepare general plans and specifications so as to bring out the knowledge of prospective bidders, stating therein the requirements which the bidders have to meet. To prepare those plans and specifications in detail you would have had to employ people who were skilled and expert in that particular type of design, and naturally it is not in the interest of economy for the Government to attempt to maintain any such staff, when it advertises for such a crane once in 10 years, perhaps. We built a crane of that type in Philadelphia, right after the war, a slightly larger crane; it cost, as I remember, about $850,000; that is, for the fixed crane alone, a fixed revolving crane; this fixed revolving crane we awarded at something less than $600,000. The award was made to the lowest responsible bidder complying with the plans and specifications. Before the award was made the matter was referred to the Comptroller, and he agreed with our conclusion, and the award was made.

Mr. SCHAFER. For other equipment purchased by the Bureau of Yards and Docks, who we have been told have all of the specially trained engineering personnel to properly serve the interests of the taxpayers and of the Treasury, do you draw general plans like you did for the Puget Sound Navy Yard crane job?

Admiral Parsons. It depends entirely upon what the job is. For instance, when we buy automobiles, we do not attempt to draw plans and detailed specifications. We try to draw our specifications so that well-recognized makes may compete, and the same is true in purchasing other items of equipment. We purchase an electric generator, a generating piece of equipment; we do not design the generator in detail. We draw our specifications stating what the equipment, when operating, has to meet—the requirements, and we give an opportunity for several manufacturers whose designs may be quite a little different in detail to submit a bid, otherwise we would never

[ocr errors]

be able to secure any bids at all, because it is impossible to make manufacturers produce absolutely identical pieces of equipment.

Mr. SCHAFER. Then you maintain that the Milwaukee concern which has built cranes which were comparable to the ones that you advertised for for the Puget Sound Navy Yard, did not submit a bid outlining a crane that would do the work that you required!

Admiral PARSONS. Well, I think the fact that the comptroller approved our award is evidence that our conclusion on the bids received was correct.

Mr. SCHAFER. You agree with the comptroller in all cases, then? Admiral PARSONs. We have had very little trouble with him. Mr. DALLINGER. You have to agree, do you not?

Admiral PARSONS. If we do not, the contractor does not get his money.

Mr. SCHAFER. You do not take the position that the comptroller is right on all occasions, do you?

Admiral PARSONS. We have had in the past, since I have been here, in the past two years, I think we have had perhaps four or five cases in which the comptroller has questioned what we have done, and I think with the exception of possibly one case, he has finally agreed that what we did was right.

Mr. SCHAFER. Have those cranes for the Puget Sound Navy Yard been completed up to this time?

Admiral PARSONS. No; they have not shipped the material on the big crane.

Mr. SCHAFER. You have your detailed plans and specifications in the office ?

Admiral PARSONS. The contractor submitted detailed plans on the one crane you are referring to; there was something like 200 to 300 plans; they have been approved, the majority of them, and the contractors are proceeding with the fabrication of the equipment in their shops.

Mr. SCHAFER. You have now in your bureau personnel who are experts on these large turntable types, who are in position to know from actual experience and knowledge, that the plan submitted for the Puget Sound cranes will meet the tests.

Admiral PARSONS. We feel so. We have done that. We were very successful in doing exactly the same thing for a larger crane of a similar type in the navy yard at Philadelphia 10 or 12 years ago.

Mr. WILSON. Admiral, the fundamental purpose of the proposed legislation is, first, efficiency, and second, economy. Now, take first, efficiency in operation, would that be attained as applied to the Navy?

Admiral PARSONS. No, it would not; we feel, leaving out entirely the question whether it is a desirable thing to do from a military standpoint, I understand your question is whether I think it would be efficient if it was done, is that the point?

Mr. WILSON. In other words, suppose this legislation was adopted, the directing purpose would be, in naval operations, as in Army operations, the principal consideration is efficiency; would it be accomplished, if the legislation were enacted?

Admiral PARSONS. As far as the Navy is concerned, it not only would decrease efficiency, in the broadest_sense of the term, but it would not save any money, which is what I understand we are after. Mr. Wilson. First you preserve efficiency and increase efficiency and at the same time operate so as to save in expenditures.

Admiral PARSONS. In my opinion, it would decrease efficiency and increase cost. I am speaking now solely from the standpoint of naval public works, not from the standpoint of the bill as a whole.

M WILSON. My question was as applied to the Navy.
Admiral PARSONS. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. You include in that construction of barracks and things of that kind!

Admiral PARSONS. They are essentially the same thing; for instance, we are now engaged in building a dirigible base at Sunnyvale, Calif., that will cost about $5,000,000. The hangar is a very large structure and will cost something like two and a quarter million dollars; you must also construct barracks, administration building, helium storage, purification plant, water lines, sewers, roads, and so on, before you have a complete plant.

The CHAIRMAN. You are constructing that yourself?

Admiral PARSONS. We are constructing it by contract; we are inviting bids on the different items; we have one bid for foundations, one for the hangar, one for the buildings, one for the sewer system. About two and a half million dollars worth of contracts have been awarded.

The CHAIRMAN. Getting back, Admiral, to the two projects about the hospitals, where you have engaged an outside architect in each instance; what financial arrangement have you made with those architects; on what basis are they to be paid ?

Admiral Parsons. I may say, before explaining that, that these architects do not supervise the construction; they prepare the plans

The CHAIRMAN. I am glad to hear that.

Admiral PARSONS. They prepare the plans ready for advertisement, and also give us some further services in connection with the making of models and detail plans. They have nothing whatever to do with the supervision of construction or interpretation of the plans and specifications. All plans and specifications are approved in detail and revised or corrected in our office. For the Philadelphia hospital we have a lump-sum contract of $100,000 for preparing plans and specifications ready to advertise for substantially two and onehalf million to three million dollars' worth of work. At the Washington hospital we have a contract with the Washington architects on a project of substantially the same size on the basis of a fee of $40,000 plus the actual draftsmen's time in preparing plans, plus 25 per cent overhead for office expenses. The reason we made that kind of a contract in Washington was that we are doing a good deal of the designing of the hospital ourselves; we are doing the mechanical work, wiring, steam fitting, and the plumbing, so that it was rather difficult to determine just how much was involved in the job itself. These rates, as I understand it, are not more, and probably are about the same as is being paid by the Supervising Architect.

Mr. DALLINGER. A little over 4 per cent?

Admiral Parsons. Well, we pay-yes; about 4 per cent. They pay, I think, 4.5 or 4.75 per cent, but under the conditions I think 4.5 per cent is a fair rate of


Mr. DALLINGER. The Supervising Architect of the Treasury is paying 4.7 per cent.

Admiral PARSONS. Yes; 4.7.

The CHAIRMAN. What is intended by the arrangement you have made? Do you feel, from the Government standpoint, it is more satisfactory to have a lump sum paid to the architect rather than on a percentage basis; because if that was on a percentage basis, would not there be a tendency for him to provide for the construction of a building for the largest amount possible in order that his commission might be increased ?

Admiral PARSONS. I do not think there would be, but the question whether you pay on a lump sum or percentage, is a difficult one for me to express much of an opinion on, because we have done almost nothing of the kind. These are the only two jobs we have had done by private architects. I have, in talking with private architects, been told of cases where they worked on a percentage basis, and due to extremely low prices, they came out with less money than they. spent on the plans.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, with reference to supervision of construction, you are going to supervise the construction of these buildings?

Admiral PARSONS. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAX. I ask that, because I was told by the Supervising Architect, if I quote him correctly, that they employed two New York architects to design a new hospital at Springfield, Mo., for the Department of Justice for insane prisoners; I was surprised to have him tell me the architects were going to supervise the construction of that work. I think it is the duty of the Government to have some supervision over the construction of the work, even if you do have an outside architect.

Admiral Parsoxs. I might say that these architects whom we employed are not experts in hospital work at all; they have not designed hospitals, and we did not want experts in hospitals, we wanted experts in the architectural treatment, and we would tell them how the hospital ought to be arranged.

The CHAIRMAN. Gentlemen, without objection, that statement will be placed in the record, as the admiral suggested, in reference to the public works in foreign navies.

(The statement referred to is as follows:)


In the three countries, namely, Great Britain, France, and Italy, there is found a similarity in the organizations that are charged with the responsibility for building and maintaining the shore works of their respective naval establishments, as follows:

1. In that the naval public works fall within the province of their respective naval establishments.

2. In that in each navy there is a branch, or bureau, having immediate cognizance of nival public works.

3. That a special organization or corps of officers in each navy is set up as the agency for the administration of naval public works.

4. That while each country has a ministry of public works its functions are limited to civil public works and excludes naval public works.

In foreign navies the physical features of the shore establishment variously designated under the general heading “ works," public works," "naval," “shore or maritime works,” include principally such engineering and architectural structures as are built to furnish : Docking and berthing facilities for naval vessels; shops, storehouses, and arsenals for their repair and fitting

out; barracks and other buildings for the shelter and care of their personnel when ashore.

While in the United States Navy the appropriations for the building of new “ works are designated “public works " as a convenience to distinguish them from new ship constructions, strictly speaking, they are public works only in the sense that they are built out of national or public funds. Their sole purpose and justification is their logistic service to the fleet. No element of direct or common service to the public, as individuals, enters into the functions of the naval public works as is the case with civil public works.

A description of the naval public works organizations of Great Britain, France, and Italy, follows:


[ocr errors]

In the British Navy cognizance of the naval public works is vested in a cabinet officer known as the first lord of the admiralty who is at the head of the department of the admiralty, corresponding to our own Navy Department.

Under the admiralty there is a civil bureau in charge of the construction and maintenance of works” at dock yards and naval bases both at home and abroad.

The head of this organization, or bureau, is now known :is the department of civil engineering chief,” but for a long time previously was known as the director of engineering and architectural works."

Responsibility for the administrative expenditure of funds for the design, construction, and maintenance of “works rests with this director or civil engineer chief through his control of funds under vote 10 of the British naval budget.

The local execution of “ works” activities in the field at the several royal dock yards is carried out by the technical personnel, the contractors and artisans of the building trades employed under the direction of the senior civil engineer whose immediate superior is the admiral superintendent in command of the dock yard.

In the British Government there also exists a cabinet officer known as the minister of works, but his activities are limited to civil public works as distinguished from naval works."


In the French Navy cognizance of the naval public works is vested in a cabinet officer known as the minister of the marine, a position corre-pundin, to our Secretary of the Navy,

Under the minister of marine there is an organization, or bureau, known as the bureau of maritime works and lands, corresponding in functions to our Bureau of Yards and Docks.

Responsibility for the administrative expenditure of funds, set aside in the naval budget for the design, construction, and maintenance of naval public works rests directly upon the head of this bureau of maritime works.

The duties are carried out through the agency of a corps of officers within the French Navy, corresponding to our Corps of Civil Engineers in the United States Navy. Formerly these officers were detailed to this duty from the engineers of the corps of bridges and highways of the ministry of public works. Recently these officers have been transferred entirely from the corps of bridges and highways (ponts et chaussees) and grouped into a separate corps of civil engineers under the navy. They hold grades and ranks from engineer general, first class (vice admiral), and engineer in chief, first class (captain), through the several grades and ranks to engineer, third class (ensign).

The officers of this corps are further supplemented by a group of officers designated engineer superintendent of works who usually form the immediate field staff under the senior officers of the civil engineer corps.


In the Italian Navy, under the ministry of marine, there is a bureau known as the central directorate of military engineers for works in the royal navy. The scope and responsibility of this central bureau in relation to naval public works is similar to that in the other navies.

The officer personnel under whose agency the work of this bureau is carried out, is obtained by detail from the corps of military engineers of the Italian

« ForrigeFortsett »