New construction rules put in place to reduce the cost of construction of the White Houses home in Washington, D.C., will save taxpayers $1 billion, a report from the Government Accountability Office says.
The $1.6 billion will be spent to renovate the Capitol building instead of building a new White House, according to the GAO’s Office of Inspector General.
The report, released Tuesday, also says the new rules allow for more flexibility in the cost-sharing agreement for projects that exceed the $1 million threshold.
The GAO says that for all projects under construction at the Capitol at the time of the report, the new agreement provides that contractors must meet the lower cost-share requirements than they would have under the old rules.
The agency also notes that the agency was not aware of any other costs incurred under the same rules.
GAO officials did not provide details of the projects that were under construction.
The new guidelines allow for a cost-saving effort on a much smaller scale than previously envisioned.
The first rule changes came into effect last fall and required contractors to offer cost-shifting options in order to be eligible for the $250,000-$350,000 cost-plus-shares.
A second rule changed the cost to $350,001-$500,000.
A third rule added a provision allowing a maximum of $1,000,000 in cost-shift savings for a project with a total cost of $500,001 or more.
The rule also required the contractor to notify the agency within 24 hours of an estimated total cost.
The final rule changes were effective Sept. 23.
The rules, which went into effect on Oct. 3, apply to any new construction project that exceeds $500 million and will continue to apply for all future White House projects, including renovations.
The White House said it is pleased the GAo is making the changes and is working to provide an alternative for the construction of future presidential residences.
“We look forward to working with our stakeholders, and the GAOs new report provides an opportunity for a better approach to cost-shared financing that is consistent with the long-term mission of the Administration,” White House spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement.