City seeks design-build teams to make sidewalks ADA compliant

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The city’s Department of Design and Construction (DDC) is
seeking design-build teams to construct ADA-compliant sidewalk pedestrian ramps
throughout New York.

The Request for Qualifications comes as the city moves to
save millions and fast-track major construction work after Governor Andrew
Cuomo signed new designed build rules into law. The rules will allow several
city agencies to now issue a single contract for the design and construction of
major infrastructure projects.

It is the first RFQ for an infrastructure project under
the DDC’s developing design-build program.

“Our design-build program will reduce costs and project durations for both infrastructure and public buildings projects,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo.

LORRAINE GRILLO

“As our program expands to include infrastructure
projects we have been implementing best practices so that our industry partners
will consider us an owner of choice, and we expect a robust response to this
RFQ as well as our future solicitations.”

“With its numerous locations and varied field conditions,
we believe that pedestrian ramps are ideal projects to proceed under the
flexibility that design-build provides. We strongly encourage qualified firms
to respond, particularly minority- and women-owned business enterprises.”

The sidewalk upgrades come following a survey by Manhattan
Borough President Gale Brewer’s office found that hundreds of sidewalk ramps
across the borough are inaccessible for blind people or those in wheelchairs. The
ADA requires any crosswalk to have a ramp at least three feet wide, be free of
cracks and potholes and have grooves that make them detectable to people with
poor vision.

The RFQ is the first part of a two-step procurement
process. DDC will rank submissions that it receives for the project to identify
up to three design-build teams that will be able to exclusively respond to a
Request for Proposal (RFP) that will determine which team is awarded the project.

The RFQ can be viewed or downloaded here. Responses in the form of
SOQs must be received by DDC by February 22.

The design-build method of project delivery offers
several advantages over the traditional low-bid method that City government has
been required to use in the past, including reducing project costs and
durations and improving coordination between designers and builders. DDC and
several other City agencies received permission from the State of New York in
December 2019 to begin using design-build for a variety of projects. Since that
time, DDC has been working to identify suitable projects to proceed under
design-build and to develop a program and materials to proceed with the
necessary procurements.

DDC intends to use in its design-build program qualified
firms that have a demonstrated history of hiring, training, developing,
promoting and retaining minority and women staff and to encourage participation
by City- and State-certified M/WBE firms. Each design-build project will be
subject to M/WBE participation goals for both design/consulting and
construction activities.

Eligible firms are encouraged to get certified, and/or to
get their eligible trade partners certified, well in advance of SOQ submission.
For information about getting certified and assistance in contacting qualified
M/WBE firms for partnering and subcontracting opportunities, please visit the
website of the NYC Department of Small Business Services here.

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