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City Seeks Bidders For NYC’s First Public Design-Build Project

A firehouse for the Fire Department of New York's Rescue Company Two in Brooklyn, project completed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction in 2019

New York City has begun soliciting bidders for the first projects in its design-build program. 

The city's Department of Design and Construction issued a request for qualifications Thursday for two public development projects: a headquarters for the Department of Parks and Recreation at Orchard Beach in the Bronx and another on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. The new program will allow a design-build contractor to submit one single proposal instead of various proposals for each portion of the project.

“Our design-build team has been researching, preparing and implementing best practices so that our industry partners will consider us an owner of choice, and we expect a robust response to this RFQ as well as our future solicitations,” DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo said in a release.

After the city receives statements of qualifications from bidders, it will rank the top six, assigning three of them to each project, according to the release. The DDC is looking for “dedicated, responsive and collaborative” teams, it stated. 

The streamlined design-build process is quicker and cheaper than the typical proposal formats, proponents of the program say. Members of the construction lobby lauded the legislature for giving the city the approval to launch a design-build program for public projects in 2019. 

"The projects that we have seen that use design-build have been done faster, quicker and on budget or under budget," New York Building Congress CEO Carlo Scissura told Crain’s New York Business at the time. "So it's good for the state; it's good for the city. It's another tool in the toolbox for building New York."

While Gov. Andrew Cuomo was supportive of design-build programs for public projects, the state Senate restricted the city’s ability to use the method, Crain's reported. Nationally, some construction labor unions are critical of these design-build programs, particularly for public projects, Construction Dive reports