The New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) with the goal of developing an effective design-build program for the four jails that will replace the Rikers Island Jail Complex. Each new facility is expected to have a value of more than $1 billion.
The DDC said it wants interested vendors to give it input on procurement, market and other issues related to the design-build program. Specifically, the DDC is interested in hearing the local construction industry's opinion on aspects of the program like bonding requirements; how to design the procurement process; how to increase minority and disadvantaged business participation; what materials to include in a solicitation; market challenges and barriers; and how to best mitigate the potential risks of using design-build.
The DDC said that the city wants to develop a program that will make it "the owner of choice" for design-build projects. RFI responses are due to the DDC by July 15.
New York City is closing the Rikers Island facility in favor of a borough-based jail system, with a new facilities slated for Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. In its RFI, the DDC said that one of the program's goals is to make each jail a "civic asset" through integrative design, operations and architecture.
The joint venture of AECOM and Hill International, under a $107 million contract with the city, ultimately will choose the design-build teams for each jail. It will also be up to the JV to craft and implement the design-build program's procedures and manuals; come up with industry outreach strategies; develop specifications; monitor the minority contractor program; manage construction through closeout; and perform quality assurance and quality control. The DDC set the total value of the jail replacement program at $8.7 billion.
It has been difficult for the city to engage in design-build projects, which focus on early collaboration between designers and contractors, with proponents citing interference from unions and upstate lobbyists, as well as confusion generated by a state licensing law that some believe limits who can legally be involved with design work.
The city is likely willing to expand the use of design-build given recent success of some local, state-funded projects that have used the method, like the $1.2 billion expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Using design-build reportedly allowed joint venture partners Turner Construction and Lendlease to make major project changes, while, at the same time, realizing savings and shaving time off the schedule.