In private industry, owners recognize that being nimble in their design and procurement processes can yield great cost savings and schedule improvements. To achieve these benefits, they have adopted design-build delivery strategies such as progressive design-build.

Burns & McDonnell has delivered successful progressive design-build projects across many different industries, but the transportation sector is just now beginning to see the true potential progressive design-build has for improving project outcomes. For example, we recently helped the Kansas Turnpike Authority and Kansas Department of Administration realize the advantages this procurement model can offer over other design-build strategies.

In traditional design-build procurement, clients are often required to devote a significant amount of manpower to a project, both in upfront preparation and project execution. This can tie up valuable resources within the agency. By contrast, progressive design-build removes many of the front-end documentation and solicitation tasks required, saving time and utilizing fewer client resources.

This forward-thinking approach can also significantly reduce a project's timeline. With large-scale design-build procurements, it can take six months or more for agencies to develop the necessary front-end documents. In the same amount of time, a large-scale progressive design-build solicitation can secure a contractor, complete preliminary design and develop a guaranteed maximum price (GMP).

In addition to reducing the burden on staff resources and shortening a project's timeline, the progressive design-build process brings additional voices to the table early in the project. Unlike traditional design-build strategies, where there is only one contractor voicing ideas and opinions, the progressive design-build process utilizes multiple subcontractors who are engaged from the beginning, offering innovative solutions and providing the best value for the owner.

Burns & McDonnell has experience delivering successful progressive design-build transportation projects and knows the unique demands each project can bring. We have successfully delivered concrete and asphalt paving, bridges and structures, traffic infrastructure, and intelligent transportation systems for a wide range of clients — all using progressive design-build procurement and project delivery.

As more transportation and public works agencies use the progressive design-build method, they are realizing the same cost savings, schedule improvements and reduced workforce demands that other industries have been enjoying for years.


Editor’s note: This post was originally published Oct. 9, 2018, and has been updated for context and accuracy.

Andrew Reid, PE, PTOE, is a department manager for EPC and design-build at Burns & McDonnell, specializing in the transportation sector. He has served as project lead or project manager on a variety of bridge, roadway and traffic EPC projects.