Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2010DC108B

Determining the Effectiveness of the Design-Build Method on Water Infrastructure Rehabilatation Projects in the District of Columbia

Institute: District of Columbia
Year Established: 2010 Start Date: 2010-03-01 End Date: 2011-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $13,400 Total Non-Federal Funds: $40,468

Principal Investigators: Kunhee Choi, Pradeep Behera

Abstract: The majority of existing water infrastructure facilities in the District of Columbia and elsewhere in the United States are being deteriorated rapidly and are thus reaching the end of their serviceable lives (Buchberger et al., 2009). Therefore, in recent years there are serious concerns about public health and safety with increased pressure to modernize aging nations water infrastructure systems. It has been estimated that more than 7 million people become ill each year from contaminated water, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. In response, President Obama has called for 2,680 water infrastructure rehabilitation projects with an investment of $15 billion (WaterWorld, 2009). Design-Build (DB) is known as the fast-track project delivery strategy for getting these projects started and completed early. According to an article recently published, the DB has been cited as the key to implementing President Obamas commitment to water infrastructure (WaterWorld, 2009). Yet, the effectiveness of implementing the DB strategy on water infrastructure rebuilding projects is debatable largely because of its inherent characteristics that can increase project cost and cause schedule delay if the DB team lacks capabilities for doing the DB project. Furthermore, little is known about its impact on project performance aspects such as project schedule, cost, and frequency of contract change orders. The lack of systematic studies to assess it now prevents DCWRRI from planning realistically and budgeting accurately when it is considered for implementation. This study attempts to address these shortcomings by determining the effectiveness of the DB strategy and by providing guidelines for effective use of DB.