NYC Department of Design and Construction issues first Request for Qualifications for two public buildings projects under Its new design-build program

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DDC’s Public Buildings Division recently completed a new, environmentally sustainable firehouse for FDNY’s Rescue Company 2 in Brooklyn
DDC’s Public Buildings Division last year completed a new, environmentally sustainable firehouse for FDNY’s Rescue Company 2 in Brooklyn (NYC DDC)

The NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) has issued its first Request for Qualifications (RFQ) under the agency’s developing design-build program, seeking Statements of Qualifications (SOQs) from highly qualified design-build teams to provide services for two imminent public buildings.

“We’re very pleased to move to the next phase of our new design-build program, which will reduce costs and project durations for critical public buildings such as firehouses, libraries and recreation centers,” DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo said in a Dec. 4 statement. “Our design-build team has been researching, preparing and implementing best practices so that our industry partners will consider us an owner of choice, and we expect a robust response to this RFQ as well as our future solicitations.

“We strongly encourage qualified firms to respond, and we’re prepared to assist them in forming their design-build teams, particularly as it relates to minority- and women-owned business enterprises. We’d also like to thank the Parks Department for their willing participation in our program.”

The RFQ is the first part of a two-step procurement process. DDC will rank SOQs that it receives to identify up to six of the most highly qualified proposers and then assign those proposers at its discretion to a list of no more than three proposers for each of the two projects. Proposers may be listed for both projects if they provide a Multiple Project Supplement with the SOQ.

Once the short list is published other firms that had not been involved in the RFQ process will have an opportunity to partner with the design-build teams on the list. At a later date, the design-build teams on each list will be able to exclusively respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP) that will determine which team is awarded each project.

The RFQ can be viewed or downloaded here. Responses in the form of SOQs must be received by DDC by December 16.

The two projects that will kick off DDC’s new design-build program are a new operational and maintenance headquarters for the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) at Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx and a new operational and maintenance headquarters for NYC Parks on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens.

DDC seeks design-build teams that are dedicated, responsive and collaborative, exemplifying the principles that guide the agency’s Project Excellence program. This will be reflected in the evaluation of SOQs and in subsequent RFPs and Design-Build Agreements. Information about DDC’s Project Excellence program can be found here.

There is no role-requirement for the leadership of the design-build team; for example, teams may be designer-led. It is desirable that teams have collective experience in design-build project delivery methods, however if key members of a team do not have that experience the proposer can indicate familiarity with the objectives of design-build and also demonstrate understanding of the interrelationship between design and construction under design-build.

The design-build method of project delivery offers several advantages over the traditional low-bid method that City government has been required to use in the past, including reducing project costs and durations and improving coordination between designers and builders. DDC and several other City agencies received permission from the State of New York in December 2019 to begin using design-build for a variety of projects. Since that time, DDC has been working to identify suitable projects to proceed under design-build and to develop a program and materials to proceed with the necessary procurements.

DDC intends to use in its design-build program qualified firms that have a demonstrated history of hiring, training, developing, promoting and retaining minority and women staff and to encourage participation by City- and State-certified M/WBE firms. Each design-build project will be subject to M/WBE participation goals for both design/consulting and construction activities.

Eligible firms are encouraged to get certified, and/or to get their eligible trade partners certified, well in advance of SOQ submission. For information about getting certified and assistance in contacting qualified M/WBE firms for partnering and subcontracting opportunities, please visit the website of the NYC Department of Small Business Services here.

Firms may submit questions about the RFQ process to DDC at Design_Build@ddc.nyc.gov. All solicitation documents and amendments will be posted on DDC’s website at https://designbuild.ddcanywhere.nyc/.

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