DBIA works to encourage federal design-build selection procedures that will result in the best value for the American tax-payer. As part of this, we work to limit single-phase or “turnkey” design-build selection procedures — a procedure that is not a DBIA Best Practice. Also, working with our partners, we have successfully put in place statutory and administrative reforms that encourage federal agencies to properly implement two-phase design-build selection procedures.
DBIA supports the two-phase selection procedure that puts the focus first on the qualifications of proposing design-builders. Then, based on those qualifications, the field of proposers is narrowed to five or fewer who then put together formal, detailed proposals. This is preferable for two primary reasons:
- Federal agencies save considerable time and resources during the lengthy proposal review process by reviewing detailed proposals from only the most qualified design-builders.
- More qualified design-build teams are encouraged to bid in the first round since the cost of bidding is so low and those that make it on to the second round can afford to put considerable resources into a detailed, innovative proposal because their chance of being awarded the project is comparatively high.
However, when either the single-phase/turnkey process is used or an agency decides to have more than five finalists in the second phase in the two-phase procedure, highly qualified design-builders are less likely to participate, small businesses are crowded out, innovation is discouraged and quality is driven down.
Our current efforts build on our success in the National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 113-219), which put in place procedures designed to encourage proper shortlisting for larger two-step military design-build contracts. DBIA worked with other A/E/C organizations supporting bills various that would limit single-phase/turnkey provision and put in place important reporting requirements, (1) Limit the use of single-phase design-build procedures to only small projects (defined as either 3 million or $750,000 in different bills) and (2) put in place important reporting requirements.
DBIA supports H.R. 679 and S. 2113, The Construction Consensus Improvement Act which (1) limits the use of single-phase design-build procedures to only small projects (defined as less than $3 million) and (2) puts in place important reporting requirements.
Recent legislation approved as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) encourages defense design-build selection procedures to adhere to the mandated five or fewer finalists in the two-phase process. Specifically, the law requires written justification by the “head of contracting activity” when more than five finalists are shortlisted in a two-step design-build defense selection procedure of more than $4 million. Ultimately, the FAR Council expanded the NDAA language to include civilian projects. DBIA supported this proposal.