Transportation, municipal, and county agencies nationwide are shifting their work to Design-Build , getting projects built faster and with fewer dollars. This accelerated project delivery method partners design and contractor firms through a project’s entirety, shortening timelines and reducing costs.
Though D-B has been in practice since the 1970s, its steady growth against the traditional Design-Bid-Build — where engineers submit designs to project owners independently and communication with contractors is less extensive — comes as clients recognize its value.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s D-B jobs have risen to nearly half of the agency’s RFPs, up from less than 10 percent a decade ago. The Florida Department of Transportation has specified D-B for many of their planned projects and on all work over $100 million. Its use in Indiana, West Virginia, and Ohio is also growing more prevalent.
GAI, a member of the Design-Build Institute of America, is an advocate for helping owners build their projects in a more efficient, intelligent way.
“Essentially, it can be a more practical approach to some projects,” said Greg Nettuno, P.E., Managing Officer of GAI-Jacksonville . “Design-Build is a faster way to get a project from conception to completion, and it gets the contractor involved early in the design process to help value engineer the job.”
Clients reap numerous benefits. When design, engineering, construction, and permitting activities are integrated under one team, project timelines can shrink up to 30 or 40 percent. Owners are also attracted to D-B’s simplified contracting and single point of contact.
Mr. Nettuno said GAI-Jacksonville, which has teamed with contractors on D-B projects since 2003, has used the work to carve a niche for itself among other area engineers. The office added to its growing D-B portfolio in February, securing the $68.5 million extension of State Road 9B with partner Archer Western Contractors. Work on the four-lane highway to connect State Road 9A and U.S. 1 in Jacksonville began in June, and is slated for 2012 completion.
Upper left: GAI performed comprehensive design and inspection work as part of the Design-Build team on Jacksonville's State Road 9A.