August 31st statement notes use of design-build as technique to speed delivery of infrastructure projects.
On August 31, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum directing departments and agencies to identify high impact, job-creating infrastructure projects that can be expedited through outstanding review and permitting processes.
In the memorandum, the President directs the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Interior and Transportation to select up to three high priority infrastructure projects that are within the control and jurisdiction of the Federal government and can be completed within 18 months. The memorandum also points to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), noting their deliberate efforts to shorten project delivery, enhance the safety of the nation's roadways and protect the environment. FHWA is highlighted as an agency that has promoted design-build and already taken important measures to improve review and permitting processes and make them more efficient and effective.
“FHWA teams focus on facilitating interagency coordination,” the White House notes. “On the construction side, the agency is encouraging State use of acceleration techniques like design-build.”
DBIA members who attended the 2011 Design-Build in Transportation Conference this past March will remember hearing from Regina McElroy, who directs FHWA’s office of Innovative Program Delivery (IPD) and is charged with providing assistance to transportation agencies in delivering complex transportation improvements. Her office oversees specific procedures mandated by Congress to help enhance cost estimating, financial planning and project management practices for all major projects with construction values of $500 million or more receiving Federal funding. The Office of IPD also offers technical assistance to help agencies overcome project delivery challenges.
“While it is true that the projects that resulted from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are nearly complete, the spotlight ARRA has shown on the importance of integrated design and construction in general, and design-build project delivery in particular, will provide lasting value for our country as we attempt to meet our infrastructure needs under tight fiscal constraints,“ said Greg Gidez, AIA, DBIA, the Institute’s 2011 National Board Chair.
As DBIA approaches its 20th anniversary in 2013, design-build has moved from the category of alternative delivery methods into the mainstream. Executive Director Lisa Washington explained, “When DBIA was founded, nearly two decades ago, design and construction were considered separate industries. Now, more than ever before, it is important that we recognize the impact that integrated design-build project teams can have both on specific projects and in meeting our nation’s critical infrastructure needs.”