Design-Build Gains Momentum

Transportation, municipal, and county agencies nationwide are shifting their work to the design-build (DB) project delivery method, getting projects built faster and more innovatively, with fewer dollars, and with significant risk avoidance. This accelerated system partners design and contractor firms through a project’s entirety for the construction and repair of roads, bridges, rails, airports, and more.

Though DB has been in practice since the 1970s, its steady growth against the traditional design-bid-build (DBB) process—where engineers submit designs to project owners independently and communication with contractors is less extensive—comes as clients recognize its value. Forty five states authorize DB for transportation to some degree. Some states, like Florida, have specified DB for most of their large and complex projects, as well as many mid-sized projects where the DB delivery still offers several advantages.

GAI, a member of the Design-Build Institute of America, is an advocate for helping owners build their projects in a more efficient, intelligent way. “The procurement process is certainly more complex than conventional DBB projects. However, when properly administered, the DB process can save time by facilitating an optimum construction phasing plan, while allowing concurrent design and construction activities,” said Greg Nettuno, PE, Senior Vice President. “Many project costs can be avoided through innovation, reduced change orders, and more efficient owner oversight. Design risk is also shifted from the owner, while permitting the owner to maintain control of this turnkey project delivery process.”

Owners reap numerous benefits. When design, engineering, construction, and permitting activities are integrated under one team, project delivery timelines can shrink by 33%. With this, they experience cost savings (by some reports up to 43%), as well as better quality than other contracting methods. Owners are also attracted to DB’s simplified contracting and single point of contact, which decreases their administrative duties and allows them to focus on the project, rather than managing multiple contracts. Other key positives include innovation, construction and construction oversight, turnkey delivery, lump sum, lower change order, and significant risk avoidance.

Practitioners enjoy an integrated team that is focused on cost control and production. And just like owners, the design-builder has less administrative burden because communication between designers and contractors is streamlined. Project design is directly integrated with the construction process, so both the designer and contractor benefit from this seamless approach. Also, many of the unforeseen field conditions typical with complex DBB projects can be avoided with the DB project delivery method.

For more information on GAI’s DB project delivery services, view our DB Brochure or DB Service Profile, or contact Greg Nettuno, PE at 904.363.1110.


GAI continues to add to its growing DB project portfolio.
A small sampling of our active DB projects includes the Veterans Expressway Section 5 Widening in Hillsborough County, FL; the I-264 Pavement Rehabilitation in Virginia Beach, VA; the I-95 Widening and I-4/US 92 Systems Interchange Reconstruction in Volusia County, FL; the SR 600/US 92 Pedestrian Improvements in Daytona Beach, FL; and Bridge Rehabilitation on SR 10 over Best Ditch and US 41 over the CSX Railroad in Newton County, IN. Some recently completed DB projects include the SR 91 (Florida Turnpike)/I-4 Interchange Improvements in Orange County, FL; the MLK Jr. Parkway SR 115/21st St. Interchange in Jacksonville, FL (an award-winning project); and SR 5 (US-1) over San Sebastian River Bridge Replacement in St. Augustine, FL (also an award-winning project).

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