The use of design-build in the public sector appears to be growing.  As more public agencies achieve positive results with this project delivery method, the legislature appears to be more comfortable with expanding the statutory authority.  My colleague, Lisa Dal Gallo, and I recently co-authored an article about this trend as well as the many benefits of design-build.  Click here for a copy of

On October 11, 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law AB 729 (Evans), revising the design-build statute applicable to transit operators.  AB 729 extends the authority of public transit operators to use design-build contracting from January 1, 2011 to January 1, 2015.  We interpret this to mean that transit operators must award, but not complete, a design-build contract prior to this date.  

 


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A controversial new state law introduced by Sen. Elaine Alquist and approved by the Governor in October 2009 will make it easier for the City of Santa Clara to facilitate construction of a new football stadium for the 49ers.  Senate Bill 43 creates a new joint powers authority, the Santa Clara Stadium Authority, which will be exempt from the City’s competitive bidding rules and is authorized to award a design-build contract for the new stadium.   


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In a word, yes.  Most public agencies are required to award their public works construction projects to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder.  Failure to comply with public bidding requirements can result in a legal ruling which can void the contract.  However, there are also a variety of alternative project delivery methods (design-build, construction manager at-risk

Governor Schwarzenegger recently signed three bills which will expand the ability of cities, transit operators and the Sonoma Valley Health Care District to award projects on a design-build basis.  Each of these agencies is generally constrained by public bidding requirements to award construction contracts separately from contracts for professional design services.  These agencies will now have a greater ability to take advantage of a useful project delivery alternative for some projects.  The three bills are summarized below:   


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A new bill authored by Doris Wolk would expand the authority to award projects on a design-build basis to all cities, as well as to projects by any “qualified entity” for local or regional wastewater facilities, solid waste management facilities, or water recycling facilities. The bill, AB 642, has passed both the state assembly and state senate, but still awaits the signature of Governor Schwarzenegger. Assuming he signs the bill, the expanded design-build authority would go in to effect on January 1, 2009.    


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Pursuant to three separate bills, the state legislature expanded existing statutory authority to award construction contracts on a design-build basis to apply to more cities and counties as of January 1, 2006. In each case, the duration of the statutory design-build authority was extended to the year 2011, and the dollar threshold was lowered to $2.5 million per project for counties. Following is a short summary of the bills:

·        AB 1329 (Wolk): This bill added section 20175 to the Public Contract Code, and authorizes cities in the counties of Solano and Yolo to award construction contracts on a design-build basis. The authority only applies to buildings and directly related improvements, and does not apply to streets, highways, public rail transit, or water resources facilities and infrastructure. The statute has a sunset provision for the year 2011.


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