New York Construction News staff writer
Yvi McEvilly, a licensed landscape architect and expert in delivering capital projects in New York City’s complicated construction environment, has been named Assistant Commissioner for the Department of Design and Construction (DDC)’s Design-Build unit.
McEvilly will help streamline the delivery of capital projects by further developing DDC’s expanding design-build program for public buildings and infrastructure, the department said in a Dec. 7 statement from DDC commissioner Thomas Foley.
She will also lead the agency’s efforts to implement progressive design-build should the state legislature authorize its usage by DDC, the statement says.
“The faster we can move away from the lowest bidder system the better it will be for New York City residents and the taxpayers who fund our capital projects,” Foley said. “Our design-build pilot program is already showing great results and Assistant Commissioner McEvilly will lead the program’s expansion as well as, we hope, other methods of alternate delivery.
“We continue to work with the Mayor Adams’s Capital Process Reform Task Force and we continue to advocate for change in Albany so that we can work faster and smarter.”
“I am looking forward to transforming how the city delivers projects and am honored to join DDC to grow the design-build program and help pioneer this important project delivery tool for the city,” McEvilly said in the statement. “We look forward to also using progressive design-build in the future as Mayor Adams called for last year, which will be particularly useful for infrastructure projects.”
“Yvi McEvilly’s appointment marks a pivotal moment for the city’s construction industry in New York City. Her leadership in advancing the expansion of DDC’s design-build program aligns seamlessly with our vision for a more agile, flexible, and innovative approach to capital project delivery,” said New York Building Congress president and CEO Carlo A. Scissura.
“McEvilly’s role in exploring progressive design-build, pending state legislature authorization, reflects the bold leadership needed for transformative change. The Building Congress applauds McEvilly’s appointment, and we look forward to working with her to continue the progress made by the DDC, building on their successes and aiming to be even more robust, efficient, and responsive to our industry’s needs.”
“The DBIA greatly enjoys the collaboration we’ve had with DDC and the opportunity to witness the agency’s many early successes on Design-Build projects,” said Lisa Washington, Executive Director/CEO of the Design-Build Institute of America. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with Yvi and the entire DDC DB team for years to come as the essential tool continues to transform how the City delivers projects.”
“We welcome the opportunity to work with Yvi in her new leadership role at DDC. ACEC New York has forged a strong partnership with DDC, Commissioner Foley and staff through our work on alternative delivery methods, progressive design build, and the crucial infrastructure in New York City. Yvi’s expertise and experience will help us all in our mutual mission of strengthening the built environment of the city,” said John Evers, President & CEO, ACEC New York.
“With DDC’s commitment to move away from the lowest bid procurement system, Yvi McEvilly’s proven dedication and expertise delivering capital projects for New Yorkers will be immensely valuable as DDC expands their design-build program and if the State Legislature authorizes alternative delivery methods, such as CM-Build and progressive design build, to DDC,” said Jesse Lazar, Executive Director of American Institute of Architects New York. “AIANY is excited to work with Yvi in her new role as Assistant Commissioner for DDC’s Design-Build Unit.”
Assistant Commissioner McEvilly joins DDC from NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) where she was most recently vice-president in the Capital Program. At NYCEDC, she supervised a $500 million+ portfolio of waterfront, public building, open space and infrastructure projects and was also recognized as NYCEDC’s subject matter expert in alternate project delivery.
Before working at NYCEDC, she was director of design in the Capital Department of the New York Restoration Project. She was also project manager for a landscape architecture firm and in 2023 completed the rigorous Coro Leadership New York program. She holds a B.S. in Architecture and a M.Arch from the University of Virginia.
Prior to 2019, DDC was prevented from using alternative contracting methods outside of the lowest-bidder approach, mandated by New York State law for more than a century. Other contracting methods such as design-build were well-known to offer fast, efficient project delivery and had been in use by government agencies across the country, including New York State which had used design-build to deliver some of its capital program. In December 2019, the State legislature finally passed the New York City Public Works Investment Act (PWIA) authorizing various City agencies to use design-build for certain projects.
Since then, DDC has developed a pilot design-build program that includes multiple public buildings and infrastructure projects with several more under consideration. In October, the agency joined Mayor Adams and NYC Parks to break ground on the $141 million Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center in Brooklyn, which will be completed two years faster than would be possible with lowest bidder contracting by using design-build. A similar project in Staten Island, the Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center, will be built 2.5 years faster using design-build.
The agency has also been employing design-build in the Borough-Based Jails Program that is creating the new smaller and more humane jails that will allow for the closure of Rikers Island. DDC’s first design-build project, a flexible community space and parking garage at the Queens location of Borough-Based Jails, started construction in mid-2021 and was completed a full three years faster than would have been possible using the old lowest bidder contracting method.
DDC also demonstrated the value of alternative delivery methods during the COVID-19 pandemic when the State’s emergency health declaration suspended the usual contracting requirements for pandemic-related construction.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, DDC teams employed alternative delivery approaches to build field hospitals in Queens and Brooklyn, completing the first one in 11 days, as well as three large COVID Centers of Excellence community clinics for the City’s public hospital system valued at more than $117 million. DDC built a range of emergency COVID-response facilities including community clinics, testing and vaccination sites and more in a fraction of the typical time while accelerating project schedules and with an exceptional rate of participation from minority- and women-owned businesses (M/WBEs).