Are You A Design-Build Firm?
Based upon weekly bid reports, the trend in Florida continues to emphasize design-build requests for proposals (“RFP”) for public works projects. Public agencies view the design-build model as a means to streamline the procurement process as well as an opportunity to contract with one firm which has the responsibility for both the design and construction of a project. As a result, contractors that have historically bid on invitations to bid or other more traditional design–bid-build projects should consider the requirements and pursuit of design-build projects.
Florida Statutes, Section 287.055 defines a design-build firm as follows:
A “design-build firm” means a partnership, corporation, or other legal entity that:
Is certified under s.1. 489.119 to engage in contracting through a certified or registered general contractor or a certified or registered building contractor as the qualifying agent; or
Is certified under s.2. 471.023 to practice or to offer to practice engineering; certified under s. 481.219 to practice or to offer to practice architecture; or certified under s. 481.319 to practice or to offer to practice landscape architecture.
Despite the above definition, in order to actually perform the work, the design work must be performed by a licensed design professional, and the construction work must be performed by an appropriately licensed contractor. Thus, firms that typically bid for design-build work may have both contractors and design professionals on staff, or they may form joint ventures or enter into other contractual relationships to be able to perform both the design and construction aspects of the project.
Ultimately, the specific project terms and conditions, as set forth in the RFP or other advertisement, will control what is required to qualify. Reviewing your options and means to qualify for design-build projects in advance, however, may significantly increase the opportunities available based upon the current trend.