Illinois General Assembly Passes Progressive Design-Build Legislation

Illinois State Capitol in Springfield

Late last week, the Illinois General Assembly passed House Bill 5511, the Progressive Design-Build (PDB) Pilot Program Act, marking a key moment of progress for the state’s construction industry. This legislation authorizes the Capital Development Board to use PDB on up to three projects before January 1, 2027. While Illinois passed legislation in 2017 authorizing the use of PDB in its Department of Transportation (IDOT), this is the first time such legislation has been extended to the building sector.

“The passage of HB 5511 is a big step forward for Illinois’ construction industry,” said Richard Thomas, Director of State/Local Legislative Affairs for DBIA. “Progressive Design-Build enhances collaboration and efficiency from the inception of a design-build project. This pilot program will showcase the benefits of this approach and set a precedent for future legislation.”

Thomas called the path to this legislation “a circuitous one.” The PDB provisions were initially featured in House Bill 5479 and Senate Bill 3772, but after encountering several procedural hurdles –– including missed deadlines and extensions –– lawmakers amended the provisions onto House Bill 5511, a less controversial state procurement code bill. This maneuvering resulted in the passage of a bill designed to modernize and streamline project delivery for the state.

Under the pilot program, the State construction agency will adopt a two-phase procedure for selecting the successful PDB entity. Phase I will focus on evaluating and shortlisting entities based on their qualifications, while Phase II will assess the shortlisted teams using specific criteria outlined in their presentations and interviews. Additionally, the design-builder for these projects will be required to enter into a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) as mandated by the Capital Development Board.

Lisa Washington, CAE, Executive Director and CEO of DBIA, emphasized the growth of design-build nationwide. “Illinois is one of several states that have expanded Progressive Design-Build authority in the past year, reflecting a growing recognition of its benefits. For more information on PDB authority in Illinois and across the country, I encourage everyone to consult DBIA’s updated State Statute Report. We are excited to see the positive impacts of this pilot program and its potential to pave the way for broader adoption of PDB and further growth of design-build.”

The bill now awaits Governor J.B. Pritzker’s signature to become law.