The Best of Both Worlds

[Today I’d like to introduce my readers to a new contributor to the Bridging blog: Brint Smith, Executive Vice President of Brookwood Group, based in our Atlanta office. Brint has been my colleague for over 30 years, both as an experienced architect and program manager, and is one of the most experienced practitioners of the Bridging method of project delivery. I hope that you will find Brint’s contributions as insightful as I so often do. – George Heery, June 10, 2010]

I was recently reading an article in ENR, June 7th edition, entitled “Firms providing alternative project delivery find new markets to cushion the overall downturn”. The article mentions both Design-Build and Construction Manager at Risk as the two alternative delivery methods. In the article, it notes that more and more state legislatures are lifting legal roadblocks to public use of design-build which is opening up new markets for the delivery system. State agencies are recognizing that they had to develop and implement projects quickly in order to qualify for stimulus grants; a schedule which design-build can deliver.

The article goes onto say that the recession has caused many contractors, desperate in this current market for work, to provide low-ball pricing and some Owners are switching to hard bid design-bid-build to take advantage of this rock bottom pricing, and many Owners are changing their choice of project delivery to take advantage of these current market conditions.

Although the article states that “While the initial impulse among Owners was to go back to hard bid for the pricing, most have realized quickly they are better off with a qualitative selection process” it fails to note that the Bridging Method provides an Owner with advantages of both:

  1. Providing an Owner a firm fixed price for construction at about half the time of the normal design phase, and
  2. Providing the Owner a fully defined quality end product.

So, the Bridging method allows Owners to get to a fixed construction price quickly but at the same time provides an Owner the opportunity to select the Contractor on a qualitative process since contractors are bidding on fully defined design criteria documents.

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One Response to “The Best of Both Worlds”

  1. Corey Wilson says:

    Dear Brint:

    Interesting article from 2010! am I the first to respond?

    Now that the economy is picking up slowly in May 2014, and design and then construction that follow, the DB option with Bridging providing the most owner benefits is more valid today than ever.

    And since 2010, there has to have been (I’m in the process of verifying with my recent 2014 edition of Acret’s California Construction Laws Annotated – volume II, Public Contract Code) more public works agencies allowing DB contract delivery methods.

    I would be interested to hear more from you and other industry professionals in that regard, particulary which public agencies are leading the way and providing worthwhile precedents.

    Corey Lee Wilson
    CLW Enterprises

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