What is design-build?

Design-build is a project-delivery system newly adopted in New York State consisting of a joint bid by a construction firm and a design firm.

This is in contrast to the design-bid-build process, by which a design firm will sell a design to a client, who is then largely responsible for the procurement of construction services. Design-build is a cost-saving operation for the client, usually resulting in higher value for all parties involved. Unlike design-bid-build, in which the designer is awarded the project after a conceptual proposal, design-build typically sees teams shoulder most or all of the cost of full practical design development. This full design is included in the final proposal, and a winning team is awarded the project. KC takes design-build projects extremely seriously, and is eagerly pursuing teaming opportunities.

KC has highly-qualified personnel with experience appropriate for design-build projects, including Design and Quality Managers; Lead Structural, Civil, Utility, Geotechnical, and Hydraulic Engineers; Design Survey Managers; and all support staff. We also assign a Design Team Coordinator to each design-build project to manage the proposal process and project progress, as well as an ISO / Quality Control (QC) Auditor to assist the Quality Manager with required design and construction QC auditing.

Here’s a quick look at KC’s design-build experience:

  • I-81 Viaduct Phase 1, Contract 2, New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), $385M: The scope of work for this design-build project includes improvements to the I-81 Viaduct. As Lead Designer and Quality Manager, KC is responsible for leading the design effort; providing complete structural design of the bridges and all permanent and temporary structures such as retaining walls, barriers, and signage; highway design for reconstruction of permanent roadways and removal of non-standard systems; pavement design, including for full-depth reconstruction, milling and resurfacing of roadways, and utility trench restoration; and drainage and stormwater design.
  • All Electronic Cashless Tolling, New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA), $355.4M: The scope of work for this design-build project included demolition of existing toll booths at each toll plaza location and construction of cashless tolling gantries from approximately Exits 16 to 61 as well as all associated signing, striping, landscaping, and electrical work. KC is Lead Designer along with Stantec Consulting Services Inc. as part of the Cashless Tolling Constructors, LLC Design-Build Team. KC’s work included providing design for the toll gantries; generators / mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP); and communication buildings, including tie-in points to existing power and fiber sources and adequate parking space. KC also performed quality management as Quality Manager for the project, surveying, and civil and utility engineering services.
  • Kew Gardens Interchange Improvements, NYSDOT, $366.2M: This project includes six full bridge replacements consisting of the demolition of the existing structures and complete construction of the replacement bridges as well as installation of five new bridges. The highway work will include the realignment of the existing mainline roadways and the interconnecting ramps within the interchange. KC, as subconsultant for the Best Value team, is providing bridge design, utilities design, drainage design, risk management, and quality management services.
  • Bruckner Viaduct Deck Replacement, NYSDOT, $204.4M:  This project included the rehabilitation of six bridge decks along the Bruckner Viaduct. KC, as structural subconsultant, provided field verifications of all concrete substructure repair areas, all superstructure steel replacement members, and the types and layouts of all end diaphragms. KC’s tasks also included preparation of Release for Construction (RFC) drawings for all the substructures and structural steel repair work.
  • Ulster County Bridge Replacement, NYSDOT, $42M: This project involved replacing the 3-span continuous steel girder bridge carrying Route 209 over Rochester Creek and the 7-span continuous steel girder bridge carrying Route 28 over Esopus Creek. KC was the Lead Designer and Quality Manager and our team was the Best Value selection – we had the highest technical score and our overall technical + cost score was 100. This project was completed ahead of schedule.
  • Park Avenue Viaduct, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), $5.5M: This project was for the structural replacement of damaged steel columns. KC was the Lead Designer of the selected team, and we completed the design at an accelerated schedule of 2 weeks to allow the contractor to meet aggressive project milestones.
  • Morgan Farm Arena, West Point, $1.5M: This project is for the design-build of a horse barn/arena at West Point. KC is the Lead Designer of the selected team, with the project currently ongoing.
  • Tappan Zee Bridge, NYSTA, $4B: KC was a design consultant on the New NY Hudson River Crossing Tappan Zee Bridge project, providing structural engineering and Computer-Aided Design (CAD) support.

With all that experience, what makes KC a good partner for design-build projects?

Our Track Record and Talent. Our design personnel and narratives always score high. On our last debriefing, our key personnel received no negative comments. Our Design Team Coordinators are design-build proposal compliance experts—ensuring our team maximizes our technical score.

Our Certifications. KC is Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and ISO 9001:2015 certified, allowing the KC Team to gain MBE credit for design and develop refined, approved quality control plans following the ISO quality management system.

Our In-House Services. We have over 100 employees skilled and able to provide structural, civil, geotechnical, utility, and hydraulic engineering; permitting; design survey; quality control; and any other related or required service for a design-build project, making us a valuable partner on any team. Our staff are committed and experienced, and their skill shows in our success.

If you are interested in pursuing design-build projects with KC and would like to learn more about our experience or discuss potential teaming opportunities, please contact us at info@kcepc.com.

NYSTA, All Electronic Cashless Tolling


NYSDOT, Kew Gardens Interchange Improvements


NYSDOT, Ulster County Bridge Replacement, Route 28


NYSDOT, Ulster County Bridge Replacement, Route 209


NYSTA, New NY Bridge. Photo credit: NYSTA