New York City School Construction Authority

Improvements Needed in Construction Contracting Practices

The New York City School Construction Authority is responsible for the design and construction of elementary and secondary public schools in New York City. We examined the procedures used by the Authority to award and monitor construction contracts.

To ensure that construction work is performed by competent and reputable contractors, Authority staff are required to investigate contractors' backgrounds and past performance before the contractors are allowed to bid for contracts, and are required to approve any subcontractors before they begin work. However, we found that some contractors were awarded contracts, even though their background and past performance were not completely investigated, and many subcontractors began work before they were approved by the Authority. We also found that proper competitive bidding practices were not always followed and procedures intended to prevent excessive contract payments were not always followed. In addition, when we surveyed officials at schools where the Authority had supervised work, nearly half of the responding officials rated the Authority's performance as less than adequate and two-thirds of the responding officials stated that excessive maintenance or repairs were needed to correct conditions resulting from poor construction. We recommend that the Authority improve its contract award and monitoring practices, and establish a system for following up on completed projects.

For a complete copy of Report 96-N-5 click here.