City pitches first design-build contract

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The city on
New York has issued its first pitch for a design-build contract as part of its
effort to reduce the spiraling cost of public works projects and cut down on
the time it takes to do the work.

The Department
of Design and Construction (DDC) is seeking a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) from
qualified design-build teams who would develop two new parks maintenance
facilities in the Bronx and Queens.

Design-build
has been on the department’s radar for many years because it allows the city
government to combine a project’s architects, engineers and construction teams
into one contract and one collaborative team.

Until now,
the city has been hamstrung by laws that required the award of separate contracts
for mechanical, electrical and plumbing work on municipal projects over certain
dollar thresholds, pushing up costs and creating a multi-tiered group of
contractors each responsible for a different aspect of a project.

However, passage of the New York State Infrastructure Investment Act gave the state an opportunity to try out the process on some key projects, including the massive Tappan Zee Bridge replacement.

A design-build contract brought the new Tappan Zee Bridge in ahead of schedule and $1 billion under budget.

By allowing
the NYS Thurway Authority to use the design-build delivery system the Tappan
Zee Bridge replacement project was completed in August 2017 – more than a year
ahead of schedule and approximately $1 billion less than what the State
projected. 

Other public
works projects that followed included Kosciuszko Bridge replacement, the rehabilitation
of Atlantic Avenue viaduct and the reconstruction of the BQE.

Last year,
the City Council passed its own Design Build Act that lets it choose
construction contractors that can deliver the best value along a range of
factors including quality, innovation, and schedule, as opposed to just
choosing the lowest bidder.

Now, the city is ready to test the system itself with two parks projects at Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx and on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens.

LORRAINE GRILLO

DDC Commissioner
Lorraine Grillo formed an in-house design-build team to research, prepare
and implement the new program, which she said should “reduce costs and project
durations for critical public buildings such as firehouses, libraries and
recreation centers.”

The RFQ is the first part of a two-step procurement
process. DDC will rank SOQs that it receives to identify up to six of the most
highly qualified proposers and then assign those proposers at its discretion to
a list of no more than three proposers for each of the two projects. Proposers
may be listed for both projects if they provide a Multiple Project Supplement
with the SOQ.

Once the short list is published, other firms that had
not been involved in the RFQ process will have an opportunity to partner with
the design-build teams on the list. At a later date, the design-build teams on
each list will be able to exclusively respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP)
that will determine which team is awarded each project.

“We strongly encourage qualified firms to respond, and
we’re prepared to assist them in forming their design-build teams, particularly
as it relates to minority- and women-owned business enterprises,” said Grillo. “We’d
also like to thank the Parks Department for their willing participation in our
program.”

The RFQ can be viewed or downloaded here. Responses in the form of
SOQs must be received by DDC by December 16.

Firms may submit questions about the RFQ process to DDC at Design_Build@ddc.nyc.gov. All solicitation documents and amendments will be posted on DDC’s website.

DDC’s Public Buildings Division last year completed a new, environmentally sustainable firehouse for FDNY’s Rescue Company 2 in Brooklyn

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