- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed that the Empire State Development Corporation, which represents the state's two development financing agencies, be permitted to use the design-build process in projects like the $1 billion Javits Center renovation and the $3 billion overhaul of Pennsylvania Station, according to The Real Deal.
- The design-build method has sped up the process on the Tappan Zee Bridge project in New York City, and supporters believe its use should be expanded to other types of projects.
- Only a handful of New York agencies currently are permitted to utilize design-build contracts, and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said that not enough is known about how the method might impact different types of projects. The ESD is preparing a report on the state’s use of design-build so far, and DiNapoli said no shift to design-build should be made until the results of that study are known.
The typical design-build process sees an owner contract with one party, usually a contractor, to design and build a project, rather than split up those aspects by using an architect for design and a contractor for only the construction phase. Proponents say design-build can save money and time, speeding up a project as much as 33%, as it makes the procurement process more efficient and curbs design conflicts, Richard Thomas of the Design-Build Institute of America told The Real Deal.
However, DiNapoli said in a report, "While the method may provide opportunities for budget savings and construction efficiency, greater transparency and accountability should also be required to ensure that the use of these alternative procurement methods is justified."
In January, the Journal of Engineering and Construction Management published a study that found the design-build delivery method in construction contracting results in a majority of on-time projects, but half of projects using that method run over budget, rendering that method’s advantage of cost savings "uncertain." However, the DBIA disputed the study results and claimed the researchers were "off the mark," as they did not account for possible additional costs resulting from owner-initiated scope changes, according to the Engineering News-Record.
There has been a wave of discussion in the construction industry recently about how different contract types and delivery methods affect a project's progress and outcome. Representatives of the beleaguered Valley Medical Center project in Santa Clara County, CA, declared that a design-build process might have protected the project from delays and overruns that the design-bid-build process caused.
And earlier this week, Maryland officials announced that a Fluor-led joint venture will use design-build on the $3.3 billion Purple Line rail extension as part of a public-private partnership with the state.