by Louis J. Jenny | March 30, 2015
Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) has reintroduced the Design-Build Efficiency and Jobs Act. The new bill, introduced March 26, is substantively similar to the last version introduced in 2013. Like the previous iteration, this new bill – H.R. 1666 – seeks to encourage better of use of two-step design-build selection procedures by requiring contracting officers to get approval when short-listing more than five finalists. It also would require the two-step procedure for any contracts of greater than $750,000, thus limiting single-step or turnkey design-build to only smaller projects. Finally, there are reporting requirements in the bill and it would apply to both civil and military contracts.
The bill builds on the success we had last year in the National Defense Authorization Act, which put in place procedures designed to encourage proper short-listing for larger two-step design-build contracts. Those provisions, however, only covered military projects, were silent on limiting single-step procedures and didn’t have the robust reporting requirements. Therefore, the new Design-Build Efficiency and Jobs Act is needed.
H.R. 1666, cosponsored by Rep. Patrick J. Tiberi of Ohio, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and referred to two committees of the House: Armed Services and Oversight and Government Reform. The strategy for final passage is similar to last year: demonstrate congressional support for the concepts in the bill through co-sponsorship, followed by moving the language through the legislative process as an amendment to the larger annual defense authorization bill.
The bill is broadly supported by a diverse coalition of A/E/C organizations including DBIA, AIA, AGC and ACEC, plus several more. We expect to see provisions similar to those contained in H.R. 1666 introduced in the Senate as part of a larger coalition bill. This Senate bill will also have provisions limiting reverse auctions and revisions the surety bond industry is looking for. We hope that bill will be introduced in April after Congress returns from its current recess.