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CI’s Specifications Committee Publication Assists with Design-Build RFPs

CI’s Specifications Committee Publication Assists with Design-Build RFPs

David H. Marihugh, A.M.ASCE

(This article originally appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of the Construction Zone.)

One of the reasons many owners are moving in the direction of design-build is increased efficiency, in both time and costs. In order to promote the efficient and consistent preparation of requests for proposals (RFP) and contract specifications for the execution of projects by engineers and architects preparing DB projects, the Construction Institute’s Committee on Specifications has developed a guide for the DB process. called, Preparing Requests for Proposals and Specifications for Design-Build Projects. The goals of the publication are to provide guidance:
• for design professionals and owners in the preparation of RFPs to be used in the solicitation of DB entities (engineer/architect/contractor);
• on how to prepare specifications for the final project development of construction documents; and
• for the preparation of specifications by a DB entity during the construction phase of the project.

Advantages to the DB process include the shortest project duration, a single-source of responsibility and economy, to name just a few. Under the DB process, an owner prepares a description of the desired project results in the RFP. After the selection of a DB entity, the DB designer-of-record prepares the final design documents, including the specifications that will be used by the DB contractor during the execution of the construction, and the DB contractor constructs the project in accordance with the final plans and specifications.
After the issuance of a notice to proceed with DB construction, the construction of the project operates similar to that of a DBB project, except all submittals are directed to the DB contractor’s quality control manager, who will act as the project’s quality approval authority.

The quality control manager has the designer-of-record review and approve the submittals. The DB contractor remains responsible for the construction of a project that is acceptable to the owner. The DB entity assumes all the risks allocated by the contract, and guarantees the project will perform to the standards set by the final plans and specifications.

As with all project delivery methods, there are risks associated with DB projects. All parties of the DB entity need to fully cooperate with each other at all times, in order to complete a project to the owner’s satisfaction. Changes of scope and change orders will present challenges, as well. In order to prevent delays that could be costly, the preparation of the proper RFP and specifications for DB projects is essential in today’s market. The Committee on Specifications encourages all engineers and architects to become familiar with the process of preparing DB project RFPs and specifications.
David H. Marihugh has worked for the HNTB Corporation in New Jersey for 25 years, and has been a member of CI's Specifications Committee since 2010.