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The Factoria Recycling and Transfer Station, located in south Bellevue, is one of five existing stations in King County’s solid waste handling system. This project will replace and expand the existing station on the same site. Design on this project began in 2010 for this approximately $90 million project. Oversight of this project is important to ensure that the new station can be constructed while the existing station remains operational and that the new station provides improved service levels, such as shorter wait times for self-haul customers. Building on recommendations from a related performance audit in 2011, the transfer station should be appropriately sized to meet forecast growth in the waste stream while keeping project costs from adding to projected rate increases.

The most recent oversight report, in June 2015, found the Factoria Recycling and Transfer Station project on track. Construction of the station is on schedule and that the Solid Waste Division forecasts finishing it within the $93.6 million appropriated for the project. The division could enhance visibility into project spending by adding information on contingency and contract allowance usage to the quarterly construction reports provided to the County Council.

Prior reports on this project are found below.

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Status

Of the 4 recommendations:

DONE 3 Recommendations have been fully implemented. Auditor will no longer monitor.
PROGRESS 0 Recommendations are in progress or partially implemented. Auditor will continue to monitor.
OPEN 0 Recommendations remain unresolved. Auditor will continue to monitor.
CLOSED 1 Recommendation is no longer applicable. Auditor will no longer monitor.

Current project summary

The Factoria Recycling and Transfer Station (Factoria RTS) project to build an 80,000 square foot solid waste facility replacing the existing station is proceeding well, and risks are currently under control. Presently under construction, Factoria RTS was selected to be a mandatory phased appropriation project in 2010. The Solid Waste Division (SWD) is using it to pilot baseline and earned value management procedures for its capital program.

Construction began two months later than the baseline target date, but SWD is forecasting the facility will open on schedule. They expect to open the new transfer station building to the public by March 2016 and the household hazardous waste building by November 2017.

There have been no additional scope changes since the four revisions approved by the County Council in 2014 by Ordinance 17832.

There have been no changes in the estimated cost of Factoria RTS since Ordinance 17832 increased the appropriations to $93.6 million to cover the forecast total. The estimated cost at completion is approximately $4.8 million higher than the baseline cost estimate, including the scope revisions approved in 2014.

SWD is following best practices in risk management and all identified risks are currently under control. We are continuing to monitor risks relating to water handling and earthwork during construction and the potential for scope changes resulting from an upcoming transfer station system update.

We make a new recommendation to improve the information available on Factoria RTS project costs in the quarterly construction reporting provided to the County Council.

Prior oversight reports

There have been no changes to the scope since the project baseline was established in December 2012 by the Solid Waste Division (SWD). The Metropolitan Solid Waste Advisory Committee is discussing the impact of a recent decision by five cities served by the Factoria Recycling and Transfer Station to not sign the Amended and Renewed Solid Waste Interlocal Agreement (ILA). SWD does not plan to change the scope due to the ILA situation.
The current schedule to award the construction contract and 2014 construction work needs attention, because it is not aligned with target dates identified in the project risk register to mitigate weather-related construction risks. SWD is at least 45 days behind their baseline schedule for issuing the request for proposals to construction contractors.
The project budget includes a 15-percent construction contingency which should be adequate for the known risks. See the report, below, for the baseline budget and expenditures.
SWD’s current schedule shows the contract award and 2014 construction work beginning later in the year than recommended in the risk register to mitigate weather-related risks. Until all permits have been obtained, unexpected permit conditions could require SWD to revise their design and contract documents and could impact the contractor procurement schedule. Although SWD indicates their schedule provides sufficient time for the contractor to mitigate weather-related risks, upcoming technical discussions with proposing contractors will provide SWD with additional input needed to evaluate their schedule assumptions.
SWD should work to accelerate the contractor selection process and award the construction contract as early as possible in 2014. SWD should also continue to consider early warehouse structure removal as recommended in the risk register. 

 

Factoria Recycling and Transfer Station project oversight report, dated June 13, 2013

The King County Auditor’s Office (KCAO) is conducting capital project oversight on the Factoria Recycling and Transfer Station (Factoria RTS) project. In response to our 2011 “Performance Audit of Solid Waste Transfer Station Capital Projects,” the Solid Waste Division (SWD) agreed to revisit the waste capacity assumptions, design, and delivery method for the project to achieve greater cost effectiveness. This document reports on SWD’s progress and identifies opportunities for improvement.
In response to the 2011 performance audit, SWD: Revised the waste forecast for 2030 using updated economic data; reduced the Factoria RTS size by 23 percent; and lowered the construction cost estimate by 14 percent. SWD was late in setting the project baseline for assessing scope, cost, and schedule performance. Set in December 2012, the baseline shows: Total estimated project cost of $88.8 million; planned opening of new transfer building to customers in June 2016; and end of construction by November 2017, including planned opening of new household hazardous waste building. We identify additional opportunities to improve the cost effectiveness of the project. SWD has not fully implemented King County guidelines and requirements intended to inform project management decisions and promote accountability for delivery results. SWD is making progress and is using the Factoria RTS to pilot their division’s approach to meeting these requirements in the future.
We encourage SWD to obtain a review by the Facilities Management Division of the administration building design, to evaluate whether staff areas align with County space standards and identify potential cost savings. SWD should continue updating their project management procedures and comply with code requirements and executive polices applicable to capital improvement projects on future projects, using the Factoria RTS project pilot efforts for guidance.

Factoria Recycling and Transfer Station project oversight report, dated February 5, 2013

Reports related to this audit

Currently, there are no related reports to this project.

Audit team

Tina Rogers and Tom Wood conducted this work. If you have any questions or would like more information, please call the King County Auditor's Office at 206-477-1033 or contact us by email KCAO@kingcounty.gov.