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Construction Program Guide

Alternative Technical Concepts

Alternative Technical Concepts (ATC) are suggested changes submitted by proposing teams to the contracting agency's supplied basic configurations, project scope, design or construction criteria. These proposed changes provide a solution that is equal or better to the requirements in the Request for Proposal document. If the ATC concept is acceptable to the contracting agency, the concept may be incorporated as part of the proposing teams technical and price submittal. ATCs provide flexibility to the proposers in order to enhance innovation and achieve efficiency.

ATCs have been shown to be cost effective on large design-build projects where the scope is significant and the contracting agency believes that the best-value selection may depend on the degree of innovation in the technical solutions offered by the teams. The following State DOTs have used ATCs on large design-build or public-private partnership projects: California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington. Similarly, the following local public agencies have used ATC's on design-build projects: the Port of Long Beach, and the Riverside County Transportation Commission. The use of ATCs on design-build Federal-aid projects is allowed under 23 CFR 636.209(b).

While there is relatively little experience with the use of ATC's in design-bid-build project delivery, Missouri DOT has evaluated this approach in a traditional low bid environment with some degree of success. The use of ATCs on design-bid-build Federal-aid projects must be done on an experimental basis under Special Experimental Project No. 14 (SEP-14). See the SEP-14 Active Project List.

Authority/Legal Basis

  • Design-Build Contracting Final Rule (02/12/2014)
  • 23 CFR 636.209(b) (4/1/2012) allows for the use of ATCs in design-build projects so that proposing design-build teams may submit equal or better alternatives to the RFP design.
  • There is no corresponding regulation for the use of ATCs in the design-bid-build process


General Information
Updated: 03/22/2023
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