Texas Removes Expiration Date for TxDOT Design-Build Authority

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Texas Removes Expiration Date for TxDOT Design-Build Authority

June 2, 2015, Washington, D.C.


Passage of bills allows TxDOT to more easily plan for the future, and continue to successfully use the design-build project delivery method

The Design Build Institute of America (DBIA), the only organization that defines, teaches and promotes best practices in design-build, celebrated the passage of HB 1 and HB 20 in Texas today. Design-build has been a valuable tool for TxDOT to meet the growing transportation needs in Texas. Failure to reauthorize design-build legislation would have been a major setback for an agency that has had a very successful design-build program. Design-build is an integrated approach to project delivery that offers design and construction services under one contract with a single point of responsibility.

“When states first authorize design-build, they often include a sunset date for that authorization,” said Lisa Washington, CAE, the Executive Director/CEO of DBIA. “Unfortunately these sunsets make it more difficult for agencies to plan for the future, and this ultimately costs more time and money. Texas now joins a growing list of states that have opted to throw out those sunset date provisions to make design-build authority a permanent option. This provides the Texas Department of Transportation the opportunity to deliver high performance projects faster and more cost effectively without worrying about authority expiring.”

Together, these bills:

  • Remove the August sunset (expiration) date for the law that authorizes the Department of Transportation to use design-build
  • Authorize up to three design-build projects per year
  • Limit design-build to one project per contract, in excess of $150 million that are not substantially designed (schematic design approximately 30% complete)
  • Allow a design-build contract to include a maintenance agreement requiring a design-build contractor to maintain a project for an initial term of no longer than five years.

Prominent design-build projects in Texas include:

George Bush Turnpike Extension:

  • Experienced significant design changes throughout project to accommodate changing conditions.
  • Design-build entity was still able to finish 10 months ahead of schedule and within budget.
  • The contracting entity finished work with an outstanding safety record of more than 3.5-million man-hours worked with no lost-time accidents.

Dallas Horse Shoe Project:

  • On-going $798 million design-build roadway construction project to improve traffic flow through the heart of downtown Dallas.
  • Since breaking ground in 2013, the project completion date has remained consistent and some drivers were moved onto the new roadways in early March of this year.
    • In the summer of 2014, the project expedited a key milestone by re-opening the northbound I-35E entrance and exit ramps at Colorado Boulevard within 90 days instead of the one-year estimate.

DFW Connector project:

  • Eight-mile highway reconstruction project to improve mobility of over 250,000 commuters.
  • Contractors were able to expand roadway capacity, add continuous frontage roads and alleviate congestion all one year ahead of schedule.
  • With an original completion estimate of 8-10 years, by utilizing design-build, the contractor was able to complete the project four years sooner than the initial projection.

Across the country and around the world, the design-build method successfully delivers office buildings, schools, stadiums, transportation and water infrastructure projects with superior results. Benefits include faster delivery, cost savings and better quality compared to traditional contracting methods. A single entity decreases owners’ administrative burden and allows them to focus on successfully delivering the project, rather than managing separate contracts. The approach also reduces their risk and results in fewer litigation claims for all parties involved.

Richard Thomas, DBIA’s Director of State/Local Legislative Affairs, is available for comment and to answer questions.

Established in 1993, the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) is the only organization that defines, teaches and promotes best practices in design-build project delivery. Design-build is an integrated approach that delivers design and construction services under one contract with a single point of responsibility. Owners select design-build to achieve best value while meeting schedule, cost and quality goals. Learn more about design-build and DBIA’s certification and other programs at www.dbia.org.