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DBIA Releases Updates to Design-Build Done Right Universal Best Practices

May 24, 2023
The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) has released the highly anticipated updates to its Best Practices, reflecting the current state and projected growth of design-build.

The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) has released the highly anticipated updates to its Design-Build Done Right Universal Best Practices, first released in 2014. DBIA updated the guide in response to the continued growth and evolution of design-build and the construction, architecture and engineering (AEC) industry at large. If implemented, DBIA Best Practices significantly increase the chances of project and team success.

Design-build is a single point of responsibility contract and a cultural shift in the way a team works together. Thus, education is important to promoting successful design-build. The DBIA Design-Build Done Right Universal Best Practices provide a foundation for the education and guidance needed for that success and to support the continued growth of design-build.

The 2023 Best Practices incorporates several changes that reflect the current state and projected growth of design-build, equipping project teams with vital guidance for delivering good design-build and creating consistency in expectations for design-build projects. More broadly, technological advancements, lessons learned during a global pandemic, societal change and industry shifts over the last several years also necessitated updated recommendations for design-build. Highlights include:

• Addition of Guiding Principles that serve as an anchor to the best practices in the areas of Universal Ethical Conduct, Demonstrated Competence, Sustainable Professional Development and Supporting Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

• Enhanced focus on the role of industry practitioners—not just owners—and how they can further contribute to project and team success.

• Better organization and visual flow of the content.

• Clear distinction between a Best Value procurement approach versus Progressive Design-Build.

DBIA consulted owners, contractors, designers, educators and attorneys, carefully considering their comments and experiences. Additionally, DBIA carefully assessed input from related industry associations to ensure a broad range of contexts—including Construction Owners Association of America (COAA), Associated General Contractors (ACG), American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Project Delivery Knowledge Community, among others.

These updated best practices will inform changes to the core curriculum which serves as the basis of DBIA’s design-build certification program. Updates to both the curriculum and certification exam are anticipated in the latter half of 2024.

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