DBIA Testifies before NY State Assembly in Favor of Progressive Design-Build Authority

On Dec. 14, DBIA Director of State/Local Legislative Affairs Richard Thomas testified on behalf of the DBIA Liberty Region before the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Cities and Standing Committee on Local Governments. Thomas –– along with DBIA National Board Treasurer and NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Tom Foley, Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi, NYC Comptroller Brad Lander and Chair of the Law & Legislation Committee for the NYC Metro Chapter Emily Anderson (Sheppard Mullin) –– testified in favor of modifying municipal procurement policies to permit the use of qualifications-based Progressive Design-Build (PDB). The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) New York and the New York City Mayor’s office led advocacy efforts in favor of allowing agencies to use PDB. 

Across the United States, more federal, state and local governments are adopting or expanding PDB authority, such as California’s SB 706 expanding PDB authority to all local governments to Florida’s SB 1305 authorizing the Department of Transportation (FDOT) to employ phased design-build on mega projects. In these and other successful efforts at the state and local level, advocates have cited the significant advantages of design-build in terms of schedule and cost. Thomas spoke to the same in his testimony earlier this month. 

Watch the full testimony

“This is not new. Every day, cities across the United States are using design-build. [I]n New York, it is very limited, and there’s really no good reason for that,” Thomas testified. “Design-build projects are typically delivered twice as fast. You typically have almost a 4% cost savings, so we can deliver high-quality projects in half the time. And with the cost savings, why wouldn’t we want to have that option?”

As it stands, city agencies in New York must engage with multiple short-listed teams for preliminary design-build and identify the lowest bidder, which advocates argue is a costly and inefficient step. Thus, DBIA, ACEC and the NYC Mayor’s office propose that municipalities be given the option to enter into an exclusive partnership with a single design-build team during the initial design phase before progressing seamlessly to a design and contract price. This strategic shift aims to streamline the procurement process, offering benefits to all stakeholders while upholding transparency, a crucial aspect in any public project.