Design-Build Project Delivery
Renewable energy must be integrated into each of the design phases. Noting that any agency may have specific processes during the development of a construction project, this section discusses key issues in the following phases of the design-build process:
- Planning and Programming
- Request for Qualifications
- Request for Proposal
- Construction Contract
- Design and Build
Integrating renewable energy into design-bid-build strategy involves a few different approaches, which are covered in the main building design section of this guide.
Planning and Programming
The planning and programming phase should look the same regardless of whether the project is design-bid-build or design-build. An early team is brought together for planning, including renewable energy expertise.
Regardless of the project delivery method, the agency still needs a project energy lead with renewable energy expertise to represent the agency's interests throughout the project. The project energy lead should provide oversight and ensure consideration and successful integration of renewable energy technologies throughout the project to meet the project goals. The project energy lead must be independent and unbiased to the technology, but must also understand the range of technical and policy issues that can arise with integrating renewable energy technologies.
After determining the renewable energy potential for the site through a screening, the Federal agency moves into the programming phase. A variety of stakeholders and experts then participate in a planning charrette to establish energy goals and design requirements to be included in the building program. These requirements are prioritized and included in the request for proposal (RFP).
Although the budgeting process in a design-build delivery method may be accelerated, the overall pre-design phases of the project are similar.
Request for Qualifications
Developing the request for qualifications (RFQ) is the first step in allowing the agency to identify design teams that demonstrate the experience necessary to ensure a successful project. The RFQ should clearly identify the necessary qualifications to ensure the successful integration of various renewable energy technologies that may be considered to meet the project goals. The qualifications for a design-build team are the same as the combined qualifications for a design team and a construction team.
Project goals being developed as part of the planning charrette with the agency and selected representatives will ultimately become part of the RFP for selected design teams.
Request for Proposals
The RFP must be carefully thought out, tested for achievability, and clearly written. Because RFPs for commercial buildings are typically hundreds of pages long, they should also be well organized and easy to navigate. For renewable energy, it is important that clear goals and requirements be laid out for the projects as well as specific requirements for both design teams and construction teams.
A typical design-build RFP contains:
- Scope of Work: A narrative describing goals, project intent, and best value recommendations
- Procedure: A narrative describing the competitive process, evaluation criteria, and incentives
- Programming: Occupancy totals, departmental affinities, parking requirements, etc
- Performance Specifications: Technical data, load requirements, energy monitoring systems, etc.
Project goals associated with renewable energy technologies should be addressed in each instance.
From the RFQ submittals received, a selected number of design-build teams will submit proposals identifying the design approach necessary in reaching the project goals. A draft RFP may be first issued to allow the design teams to provide comments on items not addressed initially that may help ensure a successful project regardless of the design team selected. Modifications made to the draft RFP will become the final RFP from which each design team submits their proposal.
Identifying the project goals is necessary for a successful project. With integrating any renewable energy technology, minimizing building loads is a simple and effective way to maximize the impact of any renewable energy technology. Depending on the building type (office, laboratory, warehouse, etc.), considerations like orientation, natural ventilation, and daylighting can have a significant impact on meeting project renewable energy goals. Identifying and prioritizing such requirements, along with performance targets and identified project goals, is necessary to ensure these are included in each proposal.
The Whole Building Design Guide has information on the NAVFAC design-build request for proposal
In design-build approaches, the agency contracts with a single legal entity, the design-builder, to provide a completed building based on the agency's design criteria. The designer/builder controls both the design and the construction process unlike design-bid-build approaches.
The agency develops a clear, comprehensive RFP that outlines expectations for the project, and the design-builder assumes complete responsibility for delivering the project as specified in the RFP on time and on budget.
In addition to writing a detailed RFP for the building, the agency must hire an experienced, committed design-builder. Although this process is getting easier, it is still a time-consuming task that some agencies find intimidating.
Because design-build teams with adequate renewable energy experience may not be availability, agencies may want to make sure of a request for qualifications early in the process to identify candidates and available skills. If responses indicate a lack of qualified candidates, the agency could recommend that teams partner with renewable energy experts to expand experience or bolster subsequent proposals. The project energy lead should be closely involved in this entire process to ensure appropriate qualifications are specified and to identify qualification issues as early as possible.
Selecting a design-builder involves:
- Preparing a solicitation for services
- Requiring RFQs from prospective teams
- Evaluating RFQs submittals
- Developing a short list of teams
- Interviewing the short-listed teams
- Preparing a final ranking of the teams
- Negotiating with the highest ranked team
Performance fees or other meaningful financial incentives, both for the finalists in the selection process and for the successful firm throughout the project, are effective tools for supporting positive outcomes. Although they can be difficult in Federal procurement, incentives provide a reason for firms to go above and beyond in reaching ambitious project goals. More information is available in the Whole Building Design Guide's discussion on contracting.
Design and Build
Because design-build does not require a lengthy bidding process before the building contractor joins the team, it is the fastest of the project delivery methods and generally shifts project risks, including scheduling and costs overruns, from the agency to the design-build team. While the design-build team is in the process of developing the final design, it is possible to allow other trades to begin comparing the expected months associated with bids and contract issuance associated with design-bid-build projects.
As discussed in other sections, it is important to develop an energy model early in the process to demonstrate that project goals are attainable. Continually updating the model to reflect changes that occur during the design and construction process ensures performance goals are achievable.