Contractors on $1.2B NYC Javits Center project see design-build success
- The collaboration made possible with the design-build method has allowed Turner Construction and Lendlease, the joint venture partners building the $1.2 billion Jacob K. Javits Convention Center expansion, to make major project changes and realize savings to the budget and schedule, according to Engineering News-Record.
- Since winning the project last year, Turner and Lendlease have changed the foundation design for the four-level truck staging area, which is 50% of the center's 1.2 million square foot expansion, and have altered the construction plan for the superstructure from steel to cast-in-place concrete. This will save time and money and allow the addition of a 1,500-person pavilion, which will be accessible from the convention center, and add strength to the truck area. The team also used collaborative methods to come up with a plan to work around the tunnels under the center and to keep it operational during construction.
- Using the design-build method has not only created a bond between Turner and Lendlease but also between the joint venture, subcontractors and the union labor working on site. To that end, the project team holds daily meetings and updates the entire workforce on the job's progress, allowing all team members a chance to have input.
The Turner-Lendlease joint venture won the project and broke ground more than a year ago. The Javits Center marked the first time that the Empire State Development Corporation, the state's development arm, was allowed to use the design-build method. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pushed for its expanded use statewide, but New York City has typically been left out of the equation, with experts citing pressure from unions and upstate lobbyists to maintain the status quo.
A debate over professional licensing laws has also contributed to the fits and starts that design-build has experienced in New York. The position of the state Department of Education, according to John-Patrick Curran, a partner at Sive Paget & Riesel, is that contractors that enter into design-build contracts are engaging in the practice of design without being properly licensed, despite court rulings that indicate otherwise.
New York City agencies have been putting pressure on the state government to allow design-build to be used more readily, especially in the case of critical infrastructure projects. Last summer, New York state legislators neglected to take action on a bill that would have allowed eight projects to move forward under the method, including the $1.9 billion replacement of a run-down section of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
The commissioner of the city's Department of Transportation said design-build could save up to $300 million and shave two years from the construction schedule. As part of the most recent budget deal, however, the expressway project and some others will be able to move forward as design-build projects.
- Engineering News-Record Javits Center Expansion Aims to Defy Conventions
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