Design-build is a project delivery method which combines the design and construction of a project into one contract. It typically does not utilize “competitive bidding” in which a contract is awarded to a qualified firm with the lowest bid.
Adding an HOV lane to a ten-mile section of Route 405 in Los Angeles was California’s first major design-build project on a state highway. Subsequently, SB 2X 4 authorized additional design-build projects, followed up by AB 401 in 2013.
These laws require Caltrans to perform the construction inspection on state highway projects which utilize the design-build method. ACEC, representing private engineering firms, filed suit challenging the constitutionality of AB 401 but the courts dismissed the complaint, upholding the constitutionality of the new statute. Whether this process saves money, expedites projects, or transfers risk to the private sector continues to be debated.