Design-Build Project Delivery in Military Construction: Approach to Best Value Procurement

Authors: Birtice Garner, Kathleen Richardson and Daniel Castro-Lacouture


Design-Build is rapidly becoming one of the most commonly used project delivery methods in the
facility construction industry. The United States Air Force and the Air Force Reserve Command
(AFRC) are expected to establish a target of 75% of all Military Construction (MILCON) projects
delivered using the Design-Build method. The use of this delivery method will bring significant
changes in the relationships between the various parties associated with facility project delivery
when compared to the traditional Design-Bid-Build method. This paper demonstrates that Design-
Build delivery with a best value selection is an important tool in accomplishing AFRC’s cost
efficient, rapid response transformation goals applicable to facility construction. Three hundred
thirty two projects in program years 2002 through 2006, constructed using both traditional Design-
Bid-Build or Design-Build delivery methods, were examined. Parameters used for comparisons
were construction cost and schedule growth, project cost, vertical versus horizontal construction,
and number of days required to prepare solicitation documents, advertise and accomplish
construction award. This research reveals significant project schedule advantages with Design-
Build best value selection delivery. The advantages are apparent in both pre and post construction
award activities. Potential Design-Build cost advantages are hindered by Defense Federal
Acquisition Regulations requiring firm fixed price contracts at construction award.

Keywords: Design-build, MILCON Transformation, Project Delivery, Best Value