The Department of General Services (DGS) is the agency responsible for implementing and managing District owned assets and public building needs through the DGS Capital Improvement Plan for most District government agencies. That work includes the rehabilitation of existing properties and construction of new facilities, ensuring the delivery of superior quality engineering and design, and providing technical services to support DC government agencies’ planning for facility needs. This comprehensive FAQ explains DGS's role in overseeing Capital Construction projects and the lifecycle of a capital project.
Q1: How many active projects does DGS manage each year?
A: The Capital Construction Services Division (CCSD) oversees, plans, designs, and builds an average of 300 active projects annually across the District's educational, public safety, human and social services, municipal and recreation facilities totaling more than $3 billion in projects.
Q2: What types of projects can be funded with capital construction funds?
A: Projects that are funded with capital construction funds are considered large multimillion-dollar projects that are new construction, modernizations, or significant renovations to school buildings, recreation, community centers, firehouses, police stations, municipal and government facilities, and homeless shelters. There are three main types of projects managed by DGS:
1. Maintenance projects: These projects are led by the Facilities Maintenance Division and are designed to ensure consistent operations through as-needed repairs or replacements in kind.
2. Small capital projects: These projects are led by the Capital Construction Division and deliver modernizations and/or enhancements to parts of existing facilities. They are budgeted for by our client agencies (e.g., DCPS, DPR) as part of the six-year Capital Improvement Plan process.
3. Large capital projects: These projects are led by the Capital Construction Division and deliver holistic modernizations to entire buildings and can cost upwards of $100M. They are budgeted for by our client agencies (e.g., DCPS, DPR) as part of the six-year Capital Improvement Plan process.
Q3: How is DGS involved with capital construction projects?
A: DGS is the capital project implementing agency for most agencies in the District. That means we bring the priorities, designs, and plans of District agencies to life by providing technical and project management facilitation of major modernizations or new construction projects. DGS is also responsible for the contracting and procurement for architects, engineers, consultants and general contractors. DGS, through its Contracts & Procurement Division, will send out a Request for Proposals (RFP), which invites architects and contractors to submit their proposals for the project. DGS will then select an architect and general contractor for the project based on the submissions to the RFP.
Q4: How are DGS project managers involved in capital construction projects?
A: The role of the project manager is to provide technical and project management facilitation for modernization. The DGS project manager oversees the project budget and is responsible for tracking and reporting construction progress throughout the construction. At the end of the project, the DGS project manager tracks progress toward substantial completion, which includes fire alarm systems, security systems, internet, Certificate of Occupancy, and all other permits. DGS also manages the close-out process and ensures that the contractor has completed all contractual requirements.
Q5: What is the lifecycle of a DGS capital project?
A: The lifecycle of a project has five stages: initiation, planning, design, construction, and close-out. It is important to consider that the actual timeline of a project is subject to change based on the scope, complexities involved, unforeseen site conditions, inclement weather, community feedback, and funding. Please see the lifecycle chart below.
Q6: How does the District plan for capital projects?
A: Capital Projects are identified by prepared and identified in the District's Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). The CIP is a six-year plan that identifies project budgets per fiscal year for all District agencies that require capital funding for projects. Both the Capital Budget Process and the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) put in place funding to cover major and significant long-term investments in facilities and infrastructure capital projects.
Q7: Who decides which projects receive capital construction funds?
A: The Capital Budget Process and the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) puts in place funding to cover larger long-term investments in facilities and infrastructure or Capital Projects which are made by government agencies who make the initial request. Capital improvement projects are funded and guided by the District's Capital Improvements Plan as developed by the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO). You can obtain more information about the District's Capital Improvements Plan at https://cfo.dc.gov/
Q8: How is funding determined for capital projects?
A: Funding is determined through a robust budget planning process that includes both the District's Executive and Legislative functions. District agencies prepare their Capital Improvement Program
requests for consideration in the fall, the Executive branch finalizes the CIP the following spring, and the DC Council reviews and passes the CIP in the summer.
Q9: Are there regulations from other District agencies that must be included in Capital Projects?
A: The Department of General Services is required to follow all District design and construction codes and regulations from the following government agencies and entities Department of Buildings (DOB), Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), District Department of Transportation's (DDOT), PEPCO, DC Water etc., to ensure the capital project follows District law.
Q10: If a capital project in my community is funded, when will community engagement for the project begin?
A: As the implementation agency for construction projects, it is DGS’s standard to allow our client agencies responsible for the programmatic needs of the facilities to facilitate all community engagement and meetings related to the project.
Q11: How can the community become involved in a capital project’s community engagement process?
A: Community members can attend community meetings facilitated by our client agencies to participate and provide feedback during the design process. DGS supports our client agencies by hosting project pages on the DGS website that include all relevant information, including presentations, meeting notes, and updates. Information for projects can be found at https://dgs.dc.gov/page/dgs-capital-constructionprojects.