I’ve long been an advocate of design-build as a project delivery method. Who can argue with its many documented benefits, like single-point responsibility, time and cost savings, fewer disputes and top-notch design, to name a few? As it gains momentum in the AEC industry, owners who aren’t considering it as a project delivery method could be missing out.

Next week I’m headed to Las Vegas with other like-minded professionals for the 2016 DBIA Conference & Expo. The conference offers a platform for the industry to share best practices, lessons learned, and the challenges and emerging trends associated with design-build project delivery.

Here’s a sneak peek of the topics you can expect to learn more about:

Achieving Innovative Design through Design-Build

It’s a common misconception that design-build produces lackluster designs, and is better suited for industrial or simple projects — not for complex architectural projects. But that’s simply not the case. There have been phenomenal designs achieved through design-build — from courthouses to stadiums, museums, aquariums, schools, bridges and office buildings — all of which can stand up to any AIA design award winners in terms of design excellence. Need further proof? Check out DBIA’s annual award winners to see examples of innovative design resulting from design-build.

Using Design-Build to Alleviate Infrastructure Challenges

There’s no doubt that design-build can alleviate the challenges associated with the massive backlog of public infrastructure needs. There are many examples of emergency projects that were re-built or completed in record time using design-build. When time is of the essence, design-build is absolutely the way to go. Now that most states have the legal authority to use design-build for public works, more officials are turning to this method of procurement to get projects out of the backlog and into production.

And thanks to private financing options like design-build-finance-maintain (DBFM) and public-private partnerships (P3), the public sector can more easily reap the benefits of design-build project delivery.

The Growth of Design-Build

We’re already seeing design-build in 40 percent of the market — a huge growth in the last 30 years — and that percentage will only continue to inch upwards in coming years. With the passage of more design-build legislation, including new P3 laws, we will continue to see this method grow in the public sector, both at the federal and local levels. For private owners and developers that aren’t already utilizing design-build, I anticipate that more will come on board as they witness the benefits in time, cost, quality and teamwork that collaborative and integrated methods of project delivery bring to the table.

In the private sector, EPC markets are already established and will continue to use design-build. It’s hard to say where it will peak, but the future is bright for those designers and contractors who are playing in the design-build market.

Design-build is a topic I’m passionate about and one I never tire of discussing. If you’re headed to DBIA 2016, I hope you’ll join me and other industry leaders for the “State of the Union” panel discussion on Friday, Nov. 4 at 8:00 a.m. to learn more about the current state of design-build and what’s in store for the future.

There are a lot of other great presentations on deck as well, including from my fellow Burns & McDonnell colleagues:

  • Holly Streeter-Schaefer will co-present “Standard Form of Contract for Progressive Design-Build” on Friday, Nov. 4 at 9:45 a.m.
  • Anthony Beeson and Jason Schaefer will co-present “Managing Design for Left Hand Water District’s Dodd WTP Upgrade” on Friday, Nov. 4 at 1:30 p.m.

You can check out the full DBIA conference program here. And if you’re in the exhibit hall, be sure to stop by booth #520 to visit with our team. In the meantime, be sure to check out this white paper, Taking Design-Build Further for Maximum Project Value.”

by
Bill Quatman is senior vice president and general counsel at Burns & McDonnell with more than 35 years of experience in the AEC industry.