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Accelerating Innovation

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Accelerating Project Delivery Methods

Design-Bid-Build vs. CM/GC vs. Design Build Diagram

The Accelerated Project Delivery Methods (APMD) initiative is designed to help reduce the time it takes to deliver highway projects to the public. We are confident that with accelerated project delivery methods, State DOTs can deliver projects 50 percent faster. EDC is promoting APMDs such as Design-Build (DB) and Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC, which), methods proven to shave years off project schedules.

Speed of Completion.

Radical time savings are possible on many projects. With traditional Design-Bid-Build (DBB) methods, the average highway project takes 13 years. American Association of State Highway and Transportation officials are confident that with accelerated project delivery methods, the State DOTs can cut that by as much as 50 percent. Such accelerated methods as Design-Build (DB) and Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) have shaved years off project schedules.

Design-Build Trims Time and Reduces Risk.

One way to accelerate project delivery is to combine the design and construction phases into a single contract. DB does just that. Whereas the traditional DBB approach takes these steps in sequence, DB allows them to overlap. There is a single phase for the procurement of a firm who is responsible for both design and construction. The contractor is involved early in the design, so the designer can tailor plans to contractor capabilities from the onset.

Because both design and construction are performed under the same contract, claims for design errors or delays are significantly decreased. The potential for other types of claims is also greatly reduced.

Though DB is relatively new to the highway industry, it has a long history with other sectors of public and private construction. According to the Design-Build Institute of America, only four States do not have authority to use DB, while another 18 States have limited authority.

CM/GC Increases Control of Scope, Schedule, Price, and Risk.

The second accelerated project delivery method, CM/GC provides for project acceleration by allowing the owner to contract with a construction manager early in the design process and agree to a negotiated price for construction later before the design is complete. CM/GC is particularly recommended for projects that are technically complex, have challenging schedules, or where a high level of construction phasing may be appropriate (e.g., long corridor).

Because only one contractor is used, costs can be determined at an earlier point in design than either DB or DBB. Design and construction overlap, leading to faster project completion. Materials can be ordered and work can begin before the design is completed.

The CM/GC firm is chosen on the basis of experience, qualifications, or best-value. The Construction Manager provides price, schedule, constructability, and value engineering input during the design process. Once project risks are more clearly defined, the owner and the Construction Manager typically agree on prices for certain construction packages or a "guaranteed maximum price" for the entire project.

Since the contractor and designer work together throughout design to identify and minimize future construction risks, cost and scope can be more precisely controlled than with DB. Increased partnership and team building allow innovation to be nurtured and rewarded, enhancing the potential for creativity. State DOTs remain in control and active in the design process while assigning risks to the parties best able to manage the risks.

Accelerated Methods Reduce Costs.

Both DB and CM/GC offer considerable cost savings. With DB, the design-builder can be encouraged to use the latest innovative technologies and methodologies. Available public resources can be leveraged effectively. With CM/GC, early risk identification and allocation greatly reduce costs. On an Interstate 80 project, CM/GC saved Utah DOT $25 million on a $140 million project.

No Compromise on Quality.

Owners who have participated in FHWA pilot and demonstration programs have reported obtaining the same level of design quality and construction quality under DB or CM/GC in comparison with the traditional process. This may be attributed to the fact that under DB and CM/GC, owners are allowed to use quality evaluation factors and best-value selection criteria when selecting contractors. Under the traditional process, owners had to select solely on a low bid basis, not quality and value.

Mandate for Innovation.

FHWA's SEP-14 program has focused attention on these accelerated project delivery methods. To promote greater use of CM/GC on a national basis, FHWA Division Offices will be working with State DOTs to assist them in applying the best methods to highway projects.

By supporting innovative practices that cut time and costs while maintaining or increasing project quality, the FHWA applies American ingenuity to strengthening the Nation's infrastructure.


Page last modified on May 18, 2012.
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