CSAC Bulletin Article

Housing, Land Use and Transportation 04/02/2012

Public Works Administration

AB 1901 (Jones) – Support
As Introduced on February 22, 2012

AB 1901, by Assembly Member Brian Jones, would extend the sunset date on existing design-build authority granted to counties, eliminate the project cost threshold in order to use the design-build method, and modify the reporting requirements that counties must submit to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. 

The design-build method is an approach to delivering public works projects which CSAC finds beneficial. Under design-build, the owner contracts with a single entity to both design and construct a project at a fixed price. The owner prepares documents that describe the concept of the project and the desired outcome for the project. In addition to price, proposals are generally evaluated on criteria such as best-value, qualifications and design quality. There are a number of advantages to using design-build, when compared to the traditional design-bid-build method:

  • Projects can be completed faster, as construction can commence during the design phase.
  • Contractors are provided with more flexibility over project design, materials and construction methods. This promotes project design and construction innovation, which can ultimately result in higher quality, as well as cost savings.
  • Time-consuming and costly disputes between designer and contractor are reduced, because both parties are affiliated with the same entity.

By 2009, approximately nine counties had used or planned to use the design-build method for project delivery for a variety of projects ranging from parking facilities to parks and recreation projects to fire stations, to mention a few. Counties and tax payers in general benefit from the use of design-build authority due to cost savings produced by this method of project delivery. Furthermore, given the difficult economic times across the State, local agencies need maximum flexibility to delivery projects based on their expertise in choosing the right delivery method. 

AB 1901 is set for hearing before the Assembly Local Government Committee on Wednesday, April 11.

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