DBIA Tells Congress: Design-Build is Good for Small Businesses

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DBIA Tells Congress: Design-Build is Good for Small Businesses

​by Geoff Corey | May 23, 2013

Recently, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce held a hearing regarding the challenges small construction contractors face when it comes to receiving federal contracts. DBIA joined the Associated General Contractors of America, the American Institute of Architects, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Association of Surety Bond Producers, and others in submitting testimony for the record.

DBIA argued that if the federal government used two-step design-build more often, it would create more opportunity for small businesses to participate. In a single-step/turnkey process (which is currently used most often) the government asks for very detailed proposals from any company willing to bid on a project. Often there will be 15 – 20 companies bidding, and the high costs of applying for a project with such a low potential for winning deters small businesses from investing their limited resources in even trying.

A two-step project, however, is when the government only requests that interested companies submit their qualifications at first. Since there is such a low cost to providing examples of past projects, and resumes of current employees, small businesses can apply to these projects more easily. Then the government narrows down the applicants to 3 – 5 of the most qualified bidders and asks them to provide detailed proposals. This greatly reduces the risk of applying, increasing the chances small businesses with limited resources will apply. DBIA supports and advocates for this two-step process (also known as Best Value Selection) in most situations as it tends to increase the quality of a final project.