Federal Advocacy

Our nation is being tasked to do more with less. Design-build uses innovation and collaboration to deliver more efficient infrastructure projects.

Educate and Advocate

From infrastructure investment to preparing our nation for innovations on our roadways and communities, there are many important issues Washington must address as we build for the future. Design-build will play a vital role by delivering the highest quality projects while saving time and money.

Our federal priorities include:

Implementing Effective Design-Build Procedures

DBIA works to encourage federal design-build selection procedures that will result in the best value for the American tax-payer. 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 first puts the focus 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:

  1. Federal agencies save considerable time and resources during the lengthy proposal review process by reviewing detailed proposals from only the most qualified design-builders.
  2. 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 an agency decides to have more than five finalists in the second phase of the two-phase procedure or uses a single-phase/turnkey process, highly qualified design-builders are less likely to participate, small businesses are crowded out, innovation is discouraged, and quality is driven down.

Federal Infrastructure Investment

DBIA supports federal efforts to boost our nation’s infrastructure investment. This is one of the few issues in this politically divisive era which garners wide support across parties, regions, and states yet — we can’t pave streets with promises. Americans in cities and rural areas, no matter their political persuasion, understand that our nation’s bridges and roads, airports and public transit, water and sewer pipes — which serve as a bedrock of our economy — are in desperate need of improvement. Study after study has shown that much of our nation’s infrastructure is either structurally deficient, functionally obsolete or both. Despite rare bipartisan agreement and recognition of the problem, there are no easy answers for how to solve a problem that’s been decades in the making. The most fundamental question is “how do we pay for it?”

Design-build isn’t new and it’s not radical; however, it does require public owners (like cities, states and the federal government) to provide flexibility in the procurement process allowing designers and builders to collaborate earlier in the process, creating projects which allocate risks more efficiently and improving delivery time and budget.

The design-build industry, representing a broad array of professionals including; architects, builders, engineers, legal and finance experts, and owners, knows what it takes to deliver on the promise of building a better America. We’ve been doing it for decades. DBIA urges Congress to support the innovation and collaboration needed to find a way to increase America’s infrastructure investment.

Lowest Price Technically Acceptable for Design-Build Services (LPTA)

DBIA Opposes Use of Lowest Price Technically Acceptable for Design-Build Services

Federal regulations lay out a number of ways the government can negotiate and contract with the private sector to provide services or goods. One of these methods is known as Lowest Price Technically Acceptable, or LPTA. While there are situations when LPTA makes sense, DBIA opposes its use in federal, state or municipal government contracting for design-build services.

LPTA is when the government sets minimum standards before accepting proposals, and then chooses the lowest bidder. It works well for purchasing commodities or fairly simple services. For example, when purchasing office supplies or uniforms or contracting for services like laundry or custodial work, it makes sense for the government to choose the lowest bidder, as long as the commodities or services provided meet minimum standards. LPTA gives the government a good mechanism for negotiating contracts in such a situation.

However, LPTA can be very limiting when contracting for complex professional services and where quality and innovation are important, such as design-build services. With design-build, exceeding the basic parameters of a contract will bring increased value to the federal government, and is indeed why Design-Build Done Right® is highly desirable and the recommended method for government project delivery.

Instead of LPTA, DBIA recommends government entities follow the Two-Phase Design-Build Selection Procedure or qualifications-based selection (QBS), especially when technical solutions, quality, schedule, past performance and innovation are key components to achieving a project’s success. These processes allow contracting officers to appropriately balance cost with quality, technical competency and the past performance of a design-build team. Studies and experience have shown two-phase and QBS design-build offer the government the best opportunity to meet or exceed project goals and bring a project to completion on time and with little or no adversarial disputes, claims or litigation.

DBIA recommends all levels of government should cease using LPTA when contracting for design-build services. Fully embracing the procurement practices as defined by DBIA’s Design-Build Done Right® best practices will help achieve best value for the government and the taxpayer.

A copy of the position paper can be found here.

Targeting the Federal Sector

Federal Design-Build Symposium

From hospitals to highways and everything in between, there’s an incredible diversity in federal projects and the approaches agencies use to fulfill their singular mandates. That’s why it’s important to bring together the design-build industry and federal Owners for a day of education, brainstorming and networking. The Design-Build Institute of America will gather the nation’s leading federal sector design-builders in a one-of-a-kind opportunity for industry and Owners, to learn together and network.

Learn More
Federal Owners Forums

We Work Together to Find Solutions to Federal Project Delivery Challenges

For years, DBIA and the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) worked to help federal agencies ensure they have the right tools, the right people and the right processes to enhance project delivery. You can see the results of those annual brainstorming sessions with agency leaders below.

Federal Sector Best Practices

This DBIA primer provides best practices, techniques and Design-Build Done Right® tools to help teams navigate federal project delivery.

It’s vital to understand the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), what it allows and/or precludes, to deliver a successful design-build project in the federal sector. Most agencies further supplement the FAR with agency-specific policies and procedures tailored to their specific mission.


Working Together

DBIA is an active member of several coalitions of large and small organizations working together on various issues, legislation and policy items. These coalitions include a group of organizations including AGC, AIA, ACEC and the national surety associations, among others, working to improve Federal project delivery in a number of ways.

Other coalitions DBIA takes an active role in include a broad coalition coordinating to fund robust infrastructure investment at the Federal level and another specifically working to improve and expand the use of Public-Private Partnerships. Further, DBIA regularly partners with other organizations on an ad hoc basis to work on specific issues or policy initiatives that arise.


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