Transportation Design-Build Projects Pick up Steam
by Geoffrey Corey | February 15, 2015
Transportation is now the fastest-growing design-build sector in the United States, with transportation design-build projects doubling in the past five years, both in quantity and value of projects. DBIA is excited to announce our initiatives for expanding upon this growth in transportation throughout 2015. With new research out of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), and a growing consensus around design-build’s value among transportation industry executives, DBIA is working hard to expand knowledge of design-build best practices within the transportation industry.
1. Teaching Best Practices for Transportation Design-Build Projects
Last year, DBIA was proud to roll out our universally applicable Design-Build Done Right Best Practices for successful design-build delivery. These universal best practices apply to any market sector of any size and were carefully vetted through the industry for more than a year. This year, recognizing the real-world differences between design-build market sectors, DBIA’s market sector committees are developing a second tier of best practices related to specific sectors. The first draft of the transportation best practices document is available for industry comment here. Please review and give us your valuable feedback by March 2 so we can present it at our Design-Build in Transportation Conference the following week.
DBIA’s Transportation Market Sector Committee identified several key elements, common to most transportation projects, that have a unique influence in the use of DBIA’s best practices. These project elements are considered unique in the way that they impact the pre-award project development process, the design-build procurement process and the post-award process. DBIA recognizes the need to define more clearly the concept of Design-Build Done RightTM in the transportation sector, and this document will help all participants in the design-build process understand those key elements that, if executed properly, significantly enhance the chances of superior project outcomes.
Additionally, DBIA will be expanding its design-build in transportation education offerings at our annual Design-Build in Transportation Conference in San Antonio this March 9 – 11. Just a few weeks from now, DBIA will host the first-ever version of our soon-to-be-released education course on Post Award Design-Build for Transportation on the Sunday before the full conference kicks off. Developed by DBIA’s Transportation Markets Committee, the course is being offered at a discounted rate while it is in beta form. The conference itself is set to break new records for attendance, as transportation industry experts from across the country discuss lessons learned, issues in procurement, P3s, case studies and much more.
2. Recruiting Partners and Industry Advocates
Last month, DBIA’s Director of State/Local Affairs, Richard Thomas, attended the Transportation Research Board’s annual conference (TRB) in Washington, D.C. At the gathering of more than 10,000 transportation policy experts, he found growing enthusiasm for design-build, particularly best practices.
“As a member of TRB’s Project Delivery Committee it was gratifying to see three sessions on design-build at the conference,” said Thomas. “Each one of them were well attended and led to a deluge of supporters at DBIA’s booth requesting the DBIA Best Practices document.”
Education is a key component to breaking down the obstacles to design-build. In the past ten years, DBIA has played a large role in cutting in half the amount of states restricting design-build in transportation. In fact, there are now only seven states that do not specifically authorize design-build for transportation projects. Conferences like TRB, which focus on education and research, allow design-build professionals, educators and students to see design-build in a whole new light, and if the amount of supporters coming to the booth and requesting information is any indication, then there is a lot of interest in design-build.
3. Advocacy in Congress
Additionally, in the last Federal surface transportation funding law (MAP-21), DBIA worked to include language increasing the likelihood design-build projects would receive federal funding.
MAP-21 expires this May, and some transportation policy experts are hoping there’s enough bipartisan support to pass a long-term funding bill. President Obama outlined some promising infrastructure-related proposals in his 2015 budget, and now both Richard Thomas and DBIA’s Vice-President of Advocacy & Outreach, Louis J. Jenny, have been meeting with members of Congress and their staff to ensure the final bill encourages greater use of design-build project delivery. We will keep you updated on that progress as the final bill begins to take shape.
None of our work gets done without the help of experts on the ground. With your input on our new best practices, your partnership in educating local and statewide owners, and your attention to important advocacy efforts we can create a groundswell of support for better use of design-build in transportation projects. Our gratitude goes out to the DBIA Board of Directors, volunteers, members, and to you for your help and support this year.