Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Design-Build Concept Receives Boost

Design-Build Concept Receives Boost

A view from north side of Solano County administration building in Fairfield is shown under construction in 2004. (Reporter file/David Martin Olson)

The process that allowed Solano County to build its new government center in Fairfield under budget and nine months ahead of deadline would be made available to other local governments under a proposal currently working its way through the state legislature.

Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, D-Solano, won approval last week from the Assembly Local Government Committee for legislation she is carrying that would enable cities in California to save money and time on public construction projects using the "design-build process."

"The proven design-build method enables government, private industry, and labor to work together more efficiently on construction projects," said Wolk. "It enables cities to streamline the construction process significantly by hiring one entity to both design and build a project, speeding project completion and containing cost."

Existing law authorizes only the cities in Yolo and Solano counties, and the cities of Victorville and Stanton, to employ design-build contracting. Wolk's AB 642 would allow all cities and counties in the state the option of utilizing the design-build project delivery method for both the design and construction of public buildings and related infrastructure.

The bill also creates a 20-project pilot for counties, cities and special districts that operate wastewater facilities, solid waste facilities, and water recycling facilities for the construction of local wastewater, local water recycling or local solid waste management facilities. The pilot has a 10-year sunset.
In 2005, Wolk authored legislation signed into law that year by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to allow cities in Yolo and Solano counties, with city counsel approval, to enter into design-build contracts for the design and construction of public buildings.

"We've seen the design-build construction method work in the district," Wolk said. "The city of Davis built their police station a year ahead of schedule using the design-build process, saving $700,000. Using the design-build concept, the Solano County government center was completed under budget and nine months ahead of schedule. AB 642 will give all cities the chance to benefit from using design-build."

The bill is being sponsored by the Consulting Engineers and Surveyors of California, and is supported by groups including the League of California Cities, California Association of Sanitation Agencies, and the California Special Districts Association. The bill next will be heard later this week in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations.

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