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GSA Makes Recommendations to Improve Design-Build/Design Excellence Procurements, White Paper Follows AIA Roundtable

From September 23, 2010 Angle

The Office of Design and Construction in the Public Buildings Service of the U.S. General Services Administration has made recommendations for improving Design Excellence design-build projects following a roundtable convened at AIA headquarters in Washington.

The Office released a white paper reviewing the outcomes from the industry roundtable and recommending that:

    • the Office of the Chief Architect should establish a Design-Build/Design Excellence Advisory Committee that will create policies and procedures for best practices;

    • GSA should monitor the ongoing projects, and document their successes and failures; and

    • GSA regional offices should improve future design-build/Design Excellence project solicitations and procurements.

The Design-Build/Design Excellence Industry Roundtable was initiated as a result of concerns expressed by the AIA about existing obstacles related to the federal procurement of architectural services – particularly those regarding four recent design-build procurements funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus program. Because these projects were funded by ARRA, the design and construction services needed to be fully contracted before the end of fiscal year 2010 (September 30, 2010), so GSA used a design-build/Design Excellence hybrid model in hopes of speeding up the process. Subsequently, AIA leaders expressed their concerns to GSA regarding cost impediments to bid, onerous documentation and materials, and the inconsistent effectiveness of pre-proposal meetings and review workshops.

The sprung from those meetings, with over 80 professionals – including those architects and design-build contractors who competed and were short-listed for the four ARRA projects, the peer professionals who sat on the evaluation boards, as well as representatives from the GSA (procurement representatives, contracting officers, project managers, and others) and the AIA – participating. GSA has already begun implementing some of these recommendations and plans to issue additional guidance.


For additional information, contact Billie Kaumaya, manager, Federal Regulatory Relations.


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