While some New York City agencies have been allowed to use design-build contracts through bipartisan legislation, the authority has not been fully granted. Those of whom are still forced to use design-bid-build are finding that projects take much longer and add millions in cost to each project. The ease and cost effectiveness of design-build make it a top priority for legislation because it would close the gap and will allow the state to move forward with infrastructure upgrades in a way that benefits New Yorkers. Unfortunately, we have yet to see the benefits of innovation and economic advantages of design-build projects.
What we need besides bipartisan support is public owners to allow for pliability in the procurement process. Delivery time and budget of projects is anticipated to improve a great deal should designers and contractors be allowed to collaborate earlier.
New York is behind on design-build authority compared to other states, but with project specific approvals, we cannot deny the notable successes we’ve had using design-build. The reconstruction of Greene County’s State Route 42 saw completion not only ahead of schedule but under budget by ten percent as well. Replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge using design-build presents a monumental difference in project cost and delivery time coming in at almost $2 billion less than originally projected and 18 months ahead of schedule.
These huge projects more than sufficiently prove the success of using a design-build system and so it’s hard to see why legislatures would not grant authority to all agencies. In a politically divided country, pushing a proposal which will end up saving time and money is one thing that everyone can agree on.