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DBIA Releases Updated Design-Build Done Right Best Practices



The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) has released highly anticipated updates to its Design-Build Done Right® Universal Best Practices, first released in 2014. DBIA updated the guide in response to the continued growth and evolution of design-build and the construction, architecture and engineering (AEC) industry at large. As an organization dedicated to whole-team success, DBIA considered a variety of stakeholders to ensure the update included all perspectives. If implemented, DBIA Best Practices significantly increase the chances of project and team success.


Design-build is a single point of responsibility contract and a cultural shift in the way a team works together; thus, education is important to promoting successful design-build. The DBIA Design-Build Done Right® Universal Best Practices provide the foundation for the education and guidance needed for that success and to support the continued growth of design-build.


Changes Reflect Current Conditions, Anticipate Future

The 2023 Best Practices incorporates several changes that reflect the current state and projected growth of design-build, equipping project teams with vital guidance for delivering good design-build and creating consistency in expectations for design-build projects. More broadly, technological advancements, lessons learned during a global pandemic, societal change and industry shifts over the last several years also necessitated updated recommendations for design-build. Highlights include:

  • Addition of Guiding Principles that serve as an anchor to the best practices in the areas of Universal Ethical Conduct, Demonstrated Competence, Sustainable Professional Development and Supporting Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

  • Enhanced focus on the role of industry practitioners – not just Owners – and how they can further contribute to project and team success.

  • Better organization and visual flow of the content.

  • Clear distinction between a Best Value procurement approach versus Progressive Design-Build.


True Collaboration in Design-Build Requires Industry-Wide Input

Establishing best practices for design-build increases the chances of successful and truly collaborative project outcomes for all stakeholders, and the perspectives of those stakeholders were vital to informing the 2023 Best Practices. DBIA consulted Owners, contractors, designers, educators and attorneys, carefully considering their comments and experiences. Additionally, DBIA carefully assessed input from related industry associations to ensure a broad range of contexts – including Construction Owners Association of America (COAA), Associated General Contractors (ACG), American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Project Delivery Knowledge Community, among others.


“With the growth of design-build, we are thankful to our related industry associations who provided critical feedback on these updates. Their input helped provide balanced perspectives that drive continued cost, schedule performance and triple bottom-line success for design-build projects and teams,”

said DBIA Executive Director/CEO Lisa Washington, CAE.


How to Get the Updated Universal Best Practices

These updated best practices will inform changes to our core curriculum which serves as the basis of DBIA’s design-build certification program. Updates to both the curriculum and certification exam are anticipated in the latter half of 2024.


In addition, with the expanded use of and interest in Progressive Design-Build across the nation, DBIA has also released a Deeper Dive on Progressive Design-Build that delves into the nuances of this approach.

Both the Design-Build Done Right® Universal Best Practices and Progressive Design-Build Deeper Dive, along with many other Design-Build Done Right® resources, can be downloaded in the DBIA Bookstore at no cost.

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