Mayor de Blasio Celebrates Roles Of ‘Design Build’ Innovation In Speed And Streamlining Capital Projects

December 27, 2021

Mayor de Blasio today celebrated New York City’s progress in speeding the design and construction of capital projects by using the design-build process.Design-Build Program 2021: Progress Report to the New York State Legislature,” a new report released today, describes the City’s successful pivot to design-build after decades of stalled progress under the antiquated, costly design-bid-build approach. The City expects design-build to save anywhere from one to three years for large City capital projects currently in the pipeline.

 Following several years of City advocacy, the State legislature passed the New York City Public Works Investment Act (PWIA) in December 2019. Since then, agencies have moved quickly to establish their design-build programs, with agencies designating 44 new projects for design-build valued at nearly $8 billion.
“Not every New Yorker is a contracting expert – but when their city pledges to build something, every New Yorker wants it done quickly and efficiently. That’s what design-build has allowed this administration to do, and I’m enormously proud of that progress,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“The report shows that design-build offers a better approach to delivering the City’s multi-billion-dollar annual capital program. For the first time, designers and contractors are able to work together as a team with common business interests right from the beginning of a project,” said Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Acting Commissioner Tom Foley. “It reduces conflict and avoidable delays, and removes us from a one-size-fits-all low-bid system. The early results are in and the time savings are real.”
“Design Build helps the DOT tap into the innovation of the private sector with better control over budgets and schedules. With new federal infrastructure funding available, Design-Build will allow us to get projects done faster and at lower costs,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Hank Gutman. “I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio for championing this method and for our partners in Albany – Senator Leroy Comrie and Assemblyman Ed Braunstein – for passing Design Build legislation.”
Procurement for design-build projects authorized by the PWIA takes place through a two-step process in which interested design-build teams respond to a Request for Qualifications. Responses are reviewed to create a shortlist of firms for each design-build project, who are then asked to respond to a future Request for Proposal for the work. Unlike design-bid-build, design-build teams are evaluated not only their price proposal, but also on their actual qualifications to deliver a project.
Today, DDC is well on its way to completing its first design-build project – a parking garage and community space in Queens – by mid-2022, only three years after it started. A similar project would have taken more than seven years under the City’s standard process. The City will begin construction on four additional design build projects in January, shaving at least a year from the project-start-to-construction-start phase of the project. Each project will be completed a full three years before a typical design-bid-build project.
Last month, Mayor de Blasio announced that the new $141 million Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center will be completed two full years faster using design-build than it would have been under prior contracting methods.
Today’s report updates progress on design-build projects in Fiscal Year 2021, which began on July 1, 2020, as well as in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), which received special State permission to use design-build in 2018. The report also includes the City’s recommendations for improvements to the PWIA, which expires at the end of 2022.
The report encourages language that will increase flexibility, including the authorization of “Progressive Design-Build,” an approach that can further reduce risk to City taxpayers by allowing the City and a selected design-build team to carefully plan and scope a project before agreeing to a “guaranteed maximum price” to be completed by the design-build team.
“I am proud to be the Senate sponsor of the law that authorizes the City of New York to use design-build because I believe that government has to be rational, responsive, and always deliver. New Yorkers deserve public construction that is of the highest quality, and they deserve that construction to be expeditiously undertaken with taxpayer dollars wisely spent to benefit our communities. This report shows that design-build can save both months and millions of dollars off the typical capital project. I am elated to see that the City is putting the design-build procurement method, with we all fought tirelessly for, to excellent use,” said Senator Leroy Comrie.
“Design-build contracting has saved NYC time and money. It helps reduce a step in the process to build projects and still have the quality of work expected while saving millions of dollars. In reducing the possibility of contract claims related to design errors or omissions, today, all New York and related public entities have the opportunity to use design-build to provide taxpayers with superior capital projects. I’m proud to have been part of a senate majority that passed the New York City Public Works Investment Act, allowing NYC to build back better and faster,” said Senator Robert Jackson.
“For over a decade the East Flatbush community has been eagerly anticipating the arrival of a recreation center, named for the late Rep. Shirley Chisholm, which was first envisioned in 2012. Since the passage of the New York Public Works Investment Act, this project, like so many others around the city, is underway. Parties involved in design and construction can now streamline their work from the onset, while working to meet federal, state and city MWBE requirements, eliminating preventable delays down the road. I thank the Mayor, as well as my colleagues Assembly Member Braunstein and Sen. Comrie, for cutting through the bureaucracy to put the needs of New Yorkers first,” said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn.
“I am proud to have sponsored the legislation allowing the City of New York to use the design-build project delivery process. This law has helped the City save millions of dollars and enabled city agencies to speed up the timeline on numerous important projects,” said Assembly Member Edward Braunstein.
“Today’s report verifies that design-build works,” said Assembly Member Robert Carroll. “When the legislature passed the design-build law in 2019 to update the antiquated process of having architects design a project and then separate builders bid and construct a public works project, it was done in the hope to reduce the cost and streamline the process of completing major projects, this report proves that design-build works. I look forward to working with the next administration to further advance and improve the design build program.”
“New York City’s infrastructure needs are immense and design-build has proven itself a success in helping to expedite project delivery all over our city,” said Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz. “At NYCHA housing developments, where there are currently 19 capital projects in the design-build portfolio, tenants will see the results of major initiatives like new heating systems faster than they ever would have under the traditional design-bid-build approach, and with the added benefit of significant cost savings.”
“As someone who used to work for the city and saw how slow projects moved from the previous system, I was proud to vote for this system to speed up projects. This is a step in the right direction which saves time and money,” said Assembly Member Charles D. Fall.
“Design-build law can deliver new medical care facilities, community centers, roads and bridges and other much-needed infrastructure at dramatically lower cost to taxpayer, on an expedited schedule, by cutting bureaucracy. This law is a clear win for New York City taxpayers. I am grateful to my colleagues Assembly Member Braunstein and Senator Comrie for writing and passing it,” said Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi.
“Grateful that my Queens colleagues saw the need to introduce legislation that helps propel New York City forward.” said Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman. “Design-Build cuts out the often stalled process which will allow the city to build better and that’s exactly what this city needs right now.”
“The design-build law which I support will save considerable time and money on capital projects. This is imperative as we work to rise and recover from this unprecedented pandemic. I commend Assembly Member Braunstein and Sentor Comrie for passing this much-neededv legislation and look forward to seeing its benefits, especially to MWBE contractors.” said Assembly Member Seawright.
“Construction in New York is often hard to live with – it’s disruptive and always seems to take far too long,” said Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon. “Enter design-build.  It speeds up projects and saves New Yorkers real money.  I’m proud to have fought for this legislation and so pleased that the results – shaving three years off the average project – are already profound.  Thanks to the bill’s sponsors, NYC DOT and Mayor de Blasio for their vision and shoulder to shoulder advocacy.”
“Alongside the inherent cost savings aspect of the design-build model, there are other clear advantages. The singular goal aspect fosters a high level of teamwork, which brings about high-quality outcomes. There’s a greater attention to detail due to total accountability placed on one team. The ability to maintain or exceed the project schedule is critical to minimizing the impact on residents and local business. This report provides an outline on how design-build will streamline capital projects in our city. Enabling agencies to use a simplified qualification-based process to select a single team to work on projects in our borough such as; the Orchard Beach Maintenance/Operation facility, Bronx Site Preparation and eventually the Bronx BBJ facility, is a major accomplishment,” said Assembly Member Yudelka Tapia.
“I was proud to support New York City Public Works Investment Act. Design-Build represents an exciting opportunity to improve project consistency, cut costs, and quicken the pace of delivery to the public,” said Assembly Member David Weprin.
“Design-build has proven its ability to outperform other project delivery methods on cost, schedule, and quality. Early engagement and collaboration between the Owner and design-build team also lead to more resilient projects, making it clear why design-build accounts for nearly half of all design and construction,” said Design-Build Institute of America Executive Director and CEO Lisa Washington. “We commend those city agencies that have embraced design-build to optimize project outcomes and make the best use of taxpayer dollars.”
“The evidence is clear: use of design-build procurement strategy leads to better results in public construction. Authorization for design-build should be extended by the state to all major city capital projects,” said Partnership for New York City President and CEO Kathryn Wylde.
“The more efficient we make construction management processes, the faster and more cost-effective we can make projects,” said New York Building Congress President and CEO Carlo A. Scissura. “The City of New York’s implementation of its design-build program has already saved tens of millions of dollars and years’ worth of time and increased the quality of large capital projects. By streamlining the process for procurement and combining the design and construction contracts, the building industry is able to deliver a better project at tremendous value for the City. This report shows the tremendous potential that design-build has to innovate how we build the environment around us and increase the capacity of MWBE companies. The New York Building Congress applauds the de Blasio administration and all participating agencies who are taking advantage of this tool to build better infrastructure projects across the five boroughs.”
“Applaud the City’s expeditious efforts to implement design-build authorization, which can allow for faster and more streamlined capital procurement, while also potentially reducing costs. On-going reporting and evaluation of projects procured through design-build is key to fully leverage the potential benefits,” said Citizens Budget Commission Deputy Research Director Ana Champeny.
“The passage of the New York City Public Works Investment Act (PWIA) has allowed for a perfect marriage between quality projects and quality firms. Agencies can open the door to experienced, collaborative firms equipped to provide long-term sustainable results that positively impact project cost and timelines. Of particular importance is the focused outreach to small firms and MWBE contractors, providing for much-needed relief for firms impacted by the pandemic,” said National Association of Minority Contractors New York Tri-State Chapter President Nayan Parikh.

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