New York State Enacts Design-Build Legislation for Several New York City Agencies

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed into law the New York City Public Works Investment Act (the “Act”), which authorizes certain New York City agencies to utilize the “design-build” project delivery method for public construction projects over a specified dollar threshold amount. The design-build project delivery method allows the designated City agencies to request proposals from a single entity that combines a project’s design team and construction team into one contract and one collaborative team, and most importantly, a single point of responsibility.  As such, the design team is required to address issues of construction costs and schedules that it would not normally be required to address in a traditional design-bid-build contract, which is not a collaborative process and can result in finger pointing if issues arise. In addition, the design-build project delivery method allows for the selection of contractors on a “best value” basis, which allows for the selection of contractors based on a range of factors, including quality, innovation, and schedule, as opposed to merely selecting the lowest responsible bidder. The Act authorizes the New York City Department of Design and Construction, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the New York City Department of Transportation, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, the New York City School Construction Authority, and the New York City Housing Authority, to award design-build contracts for public construction projects that operate under a project labor agreement and that cost $10 million or more (except for the Department of Parks and Recreation and its projects, which are only required to cost $1.2 million or more). Other projects, such as improved sidewalk access for those with disabilities, renovations to cultural institutions and libraries, and security improvements of at least $1.2 million, may also be delivered via the design-build project delivery method under the Act.

Attorneys at West Group Law have advised on numerous design-build matters, including advising on public building and civic projects, water and wastewater projects, solid waste projects, energy projects, and a variety of other infrastructure projects. We routinely speak on alternative project delivery methods throughout the country and are members of relevant organizations that focus on the design-build project delivery method. In addition to specific project experience, members of the firm have authored chapters on design-build for relevant trade publications, analyzing risk allocation, insurance, and other contracting issues that arise in connection with design-build projects, and we have drafted legislation authorizing design-build for certain projects. For more information about our government and public entity construction services, please call to speak with Managing Partner Teno West at 914-898-2400.