Design-build market thriving as firms work to improve nation's water infrastructure

June 3, 2009
A new report from the Water Design-Build Council highlights the growth of the design-build method of project delivery for the nation's water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

• Nearly 350 projects started during four-year period

June 1, 2009 -- A new report released today by the Water Design-Build Council, a not-for-profit organization representing the leading design-builders of municipal water and wastewater systems, highlights the growth of the design-build method of project delivery for the nation's water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

The report, a four-year analysis of the Water Design-Build Council's member firms, found that the sales value for the market grew nearly 80 percent in 2008 to reach $2.2 billion, representing 89 new projects. Geographically, projects in Florida, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico represented 73 percent of all sales in 2008.

"Increasingly, municipalities are working with design-build firms to address the need to repair, improve, and expand their water and wastewater treatment facilities," said Peter W. Tunnicliffe, president of the Water Design-Build Council and a Senior Vice President with CDM. "The growth of design-build project delivery in the municipal sector follows the significant use of design-build delivery in the federal sector. The Council made recommendations to the Obama Administration and Congress that given the Stimulus bill's priority to create jobs, the design-build approach allows states and municipalities to begin and complete their much needed water and wastewater projects more quickly than the traditional design-bid-build method."

From 2005 to 2008, Water Design-Build Council members reported design-build revenue of $6.4 billion and a total of nearly 349 projects across the U.S. On average, 82 percent of member projects were design-build, while 15 percent were construction management at risk (CM@Risk) and 3 percent were design-build-operate.

Other key findings from the report include:
- The average design-build contract duration from 2005 to 2008 was 1.8 years;
- The median value of new projects was $3.3 million;
- Projects in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas accounted for 65 percent of the design-build market sales since 2005; and
- The number of water and wastewater projects was nearly equal, at 47 percent and 42 percent, respectively.

The following member firms participated in the report: AECOM, Brown & Caldwell, Black & Veatch, Carollo Engineers, CDM, CH2M Hill, The Haskell Company, HDR, MWH, and Veolia Water S&T.

The Water Design-Build Council is a not-for-profit organization seeking to advance the development and rehabilitation of the nation's municipal water and wastewater systems through the use of the design-build method of project delivery. This process integrates both the design and construction phases to optimize innovation, speed, quality control, and single-point accountability. The WDBC's mission is to promote the best design-build practices to facilitate productive and collaborative relationships between service providers and local governments.