New York Passes Design-Build Legislation

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed New York Works Infrastructure Fund Act, which will permit design-build on infrastructure projects for the first time in the state’s history. The legislation is aimed at creating tens of thousands of jobs through $1 billion of targeted and accelerated investment.

The high level of bipartisan support mustered for the bill virtually ensured its passage. While job creation and tax reform is the emphasis, significant expansion of the state’s design-build authority is a key component of the law. Design-build is an integrated approach that delivers design and construction services under one contract with a single point of responsibility. Owners select design-build to achieve best value while meeting schedule, cost, and quality goals.

New York State has long resisted the use of design-build on public projects. Until now, only public universities were authorized to use the delivery method.

“Governor Cuomo recognized that other states were surpassing New York in accelerating their infrastructure projects,” said Andrew Claus, executive director of DBIA’s Liberty Northeast Region, which includes New York. “We are excited that the Governor and the legislative leadership heard our message about how design-build can help New York attack its backlog of unmet infrastructure and capital needs in a timely and cost-effective manner.”

Under the new law, the Department of Transportation, Thruway Authority, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Bridge Authority will use design-build project delivery for the first time.

Richard Thomas, DBIA’s vice president of advocacy and external affairs, is optimistic about the future of design-build not just in New York but also in the rest of the northeast. Speaking from DBIA’s Washington, DC, headquarters he said, “This legislation is truly historic. We are confident that the State will see first-hand the time and cost savings that result from design-build.”