- The Orange County Transportation Authority has approved the largest design-build contract in the county's history — $1.2 billion for lane expansions on Interstate 405, according to the Orange County Register.
- The OCTA awarded the contract to OC 405 Partners, a joint venture led by OHL USA and Astaldi Construction Corporation.
- OC 405 Partners had the lowest price of all three bidders, and funding will be helped along by the Measure M half-cent sales tax increase dedicated to transportation projects. The balance of financing will come from other local, state and federal sources.
This is also the first project under new state legislation that allows California transportation agencies to utilize the design-build method on highway projects. Proponents say design-build allows for collaboration by all stakeholders from the outset of a project, improving communication to the point that the need for change orders during the course of a job is greatly reduced. With Missouri's passage of new design-build legislation in September, 50% of U.S. states now allow the delivery method to be used on public projects.
Attorney Lisa Dal Gallo, partner at Hanson Bridgett, told Construction Dive last month that design-build laws across the state are expanding because "design-bid-build doesn't work" and has too many "delays, overruns and change orders." In California, she said, contractors must take the lead, and the contract must be between the agency and the contractor, even though the architect of record is doing the design work.
Design-build laws are broadening in other areas of the country as well. Dal Gallo said technology like building information modeling (BIM) also will drive public entities to use design-build more often so that they can realize the benefits of early and ongoing project collaboration. As governmental agencies begin to prioritize schedule speed, as well as cost savings, Richard Thomas, director of state and local legislative affairs for Design-Build Institute of America, said the the push toward regulations that are more favorable to design-build will likely continue.