NYC departments and agencies granted design-build authority especially for unionized projects

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New York’s state legislature has granted design-build authority to a several New York City agencies and entities including the Departments of Design and Construction, Environmental Protection, Transportation and Parks and Recreation, as well as the School Construction Authority, New York City Health and Hospitals and the New York City Housing Authority.

Under the authority, the city can issue a single request for proposal and contract for the engineering and construction of certain capital projects—which advocates argue enhances coordination, reduces bureaucratic hang-ups and slashes costs, Crain’s New York Business reports.

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio had sought the power for years.

“We’re going to get some of the city’s most important capital projects—such as improvements to our parks, schools and overall infrastructure—over the finish line faster while also saving taxpayer dollars,” mayoral spokesman Raul Contreras told Crain’s. “We thank the legislature for passing this critical bill that will help us complete projects for New Yorkers more efficiently.”

Assemblyman Edward Braunstein and state Sen. Leroy Comrie from Queens sponsored the bill, which encourages the city to employ unionized firms by providing design-build authority to any undertaking with a collective-bargaining deal in place.

Otherwise, the provision applies only to jobs valued at $10 million or more for most arms of city government. The threshold is lowered to  $1.2 million for work on the property of the Parks Department, the Housing Authority and for construction of ramps for the disabled, renovation of libraries and cultural institutions and any development of anti-terror infrastructure.

“The projects that we have seen that use design-build have been done faster, quicker and on budget or under budget,” New York Building Congress (NYBC) president Carlo Scissura told Crain’s. “So it’s good for the state; it’s good for the city. It’s another tool in the toolbox for building New York.”

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