- Despite a more favorable environment for the design-build delivery method, New York still lags behind many other states in its implementation, according to The New York Times.
- The New York Legislature has approved the use of design-build only for certain agencies, including the Transportation Department, the New York State Thruway Authority and the New York State Bridge Authority.
- While proponents say that design-build saves taxpayers money by allowing projects to be completed on time and on budget, critics maintain that awarding contracts based on an evaluation rather than lowest bid opens the door to abuse.
The design-build process consolidates the design and construction phases into one contract, which is then awarded to the winning design-build team. The method, however, can come into conflict with state laws that require contractors to bid on a predesigned project, a process that often mandates the contract be given to the lowest bidder.
However, the cost savings factor might be too big for state officials to ignore. The Kosciuszko Bridge replacement between Brooklyn and Queens, which utilized design-build, was completed according to schedule and with no cost overruns. Opponents argue, though, that using design-build could result in reduced public employment, as project design is handed off to third parties, potentially leaving favoritism to play a part in the design-build team selection process.
But the numbers are hard to ignore, particularly for the 25 states that have given design-build for public projects the green light. A Penn State study found that projects using the design-build method were completed 33% faster than the traditional design-bid-build. Researchers also discovered that design-build projects cost 6% less than design-bid.
California lawmakers decided to take advantage of the benefits of design-build, and last month, Orange County, CA, issued the state's first design-build contract — a $1.2 billion expansion of Interstate 405 — under a new state law allowing it to be used on highway projects. Attorney Lisa Dal Gallo, partner at Hanson Bridgett in California told Construction Dive in October that state agencies have embraced design-build because design-bid-build is often hampered by "delays, overruns and change orders."