Progressive Design-Build Deeper Dive

Tim Graybeal, PE, FDBIA
Preconstruction Manager, Lydig Construction, Inc.

The primary role for DBIA is to be a resource to the AEC community for the best information available about all things Design-Build.  There are two main challenges with this mission that I’d like to touch on briefly.  The first challenge is to develop, curate, and maintain quality information.  There is a lot of information available today, some of it good and some of it not so good.  Our members in the Northwest region in coordination with DBIA national have been working hard to create some excellent and timely content.

On that note, you are literally 2 mouse clicks away from an excellent new document on Progressive Design-Build:  The Design-Build Done Right Deeper dive into Progressive Design-Build. This document provides a thorough overview of the critical elements to consider when using PDB.  The wisdom contained in this writing comes from some of our most experienced members and will certainly be useful to anyone looking for success in this delivery model.  Here are a few of the topics covered:

  • Defining “Progressive Design-Build”
  • Key considerations in the use of PDB
  • Key issues in the procurement process
  • Contract issues unique to PDB
  • The purpose of the Validation phase
  • The difference between Pre-construction, Design, and Final Design
  • Helpful tips

This is some of the best information on Progressive DB I have seen compiled and certainly overcomes our first challenge to being the Design-Build resource to the AEC community.

The second challenge is a bit more slippery.  How do we convince DB practitioners that this information is useful, pertinent and worth their time?  Time is our most valuable personal resource after all and aren’t we already experienced enough as professionals to tackle Progressive Design Build on our own?

To this question, I would ask you to consider the difference between a basketball and a bowling ball.  They look a lot alike.   They are the same shape and roughly the same size.  If you didn’t know either sport, you might look at them side by side and expect that the difference is purely cosmetic.  But just because things might look similar, don’t be fooled.  At the core they are very different.

Progressive DB is much the same.  It may seem like the game you’ve played before, but if you bring your old expectations, approaches, and attitudes, you will find those bowling pins much harder to knock down.  You may even find yourself bouncing off the pins instead of the pins bouncing off you.

Progressive DB is the most integrated (and therefore potentially powerful) tool we currently have in our DB toolbox.  It brings the project team together in new ways, places people in new roles, and requires some new skill sets on the team.  The job titles may seem familiar to you but to execute well, the responsibilities need to flex, and the everyone’s partnering skills need to ratchet themselves to the next level.  It is a very different approach that can bring very special results, but only if it is approached with some care and preparation.  For that reason, I recommend spending some time pouring through the deep dive into Progressive DB mentioned above.

Capital project delivery is challenging, and successful projects demand a high level of competence and commitment.  Our mission at DBIA is to help you be successful in all your Design Build endeavors.  We hope that you will recognize the shift toward Design-Build as an opportunity to improve our experiences and outcomes.  I hope that you will take the time to commit to learning the process, building some new skills, and developing some new approaches so you can be as successful as possible, and we can continue to make this industry better for everyone.

Prepared by Tim Graybreal, President, DBIA Northwest Region