Thursday, September 28, 2006

Plugged in toilets in Baghdad

From the Parsons website.

Parsons has more than 50 years of success in designing, building, and maintaining mission-critical facilities that demand 24/7 reliability. We deliver facilities and technical services that provide highly secure physical, electronic, and threat resistant environments.

Parsons has earned international praise for addressing some of the most urgent global issues of our time: safely detecting and eliminating unexploded ordnance; designing, constructing, and operating chemical weapon neutralization facilities; destroying legacy strategic weapon platforms; and reconstructing post-conflict facilities and infrastructure.

Parsons supports universities, school districts, and healthcare providers with design-build services that support the best use of funding with minimal disruption to daily operations.
OK, so they didn't say anything about competently installed plumbing. And maybe they believed the Iraqis wanted the sewage system hooked up to the light fixtures.

A $75 million project to build the largest police academy in Iraq has been so grossly mismanaged that the campus now poses health risks to recruits and might need to be partially demolished, U.S. investigators have found.

The Baghdad Police College, hailed as crucial to U.S. efforts to prepare Iraqis to take control of the country's security, was so poorly constructed that feces and urine rained from the ceilings in student barracks. Floors heaved inches off the ground and cracked apart. Water dripped so profusely in one room that it was dubbed "the rain forest."

"This is the most essential civil security project in the country -- and it's a failure," said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, an independent office created by Congress. "The Baghdad police academy is a disaster."
Let's face it. Even the newest building is bound to have a few minor problems.

The most serious problem was substandard plumbing that caused waste from toilets on the second and third floors to cascade throughout the building. A light fixture in one room stopped working because it was filled with urine and fecal matter. The waste threatened the integrity of load-bearing slabs, federal investigators concluded.
It's not like Parsons hasn't been mentioned before when it comes to Iraq. Back in May the Washington Post reported:

A reconstruction contract for the building of 142 primary health centers across Iraq is running out of money, after two years and roughly $200 million, with no more than 20 clinics now expected to be completed, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says.


Parsons, according to the Corps, will walk away from more than 120 clinics that on average are two-thirds finished. Auditors say the project serves as a warning for other U.S. reconstruction efforts due to be completed this year.
And back to the Police Academy:

The U.S. military initially agreed to take a Washington Post reporter on a tour of the facility Wednesday to examine the construction issues, but the trip was postponed Tuesday night. Federal investigators who visited the academy last week, though, expressed concerns about the structural integrity of the buildings and worries that fecal residue could cause a typhoid outbreak or other health crisis.

"They may have to demolish everything they built," said Robert DeShurley, a senior engineer with the inspector general's office. "The buildings are falling down as they sit."
As Parsons says about themselves - Delivering innovative solutions for over 60 years.

Who would have thought? And, oh yeah:

The Parsons contract, which eventually totaled at least $75 million, was terminated May 31 "due to cost overruns, schedule slippage, and sub-standard quality," according to a Sept. 4 internal military memo. But rather than fire the Pasadena, Calif.-based company for cause, the contract was halted for "the government's convenience."

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