Design-Build in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts


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Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.’s) require state agencies to procure construction contracts using the design-bid-build project delivery system, unless special legislation is enacted to allow the use of alternative methods. Considering the wide range of alternative delivery methods for construction contracts, this thesis focuses on design-build on public projects. Even though Massachusetts laws do not expressly prohibit design-build, they do preclude its use indirectly by requiring the separation of design and construction services, and by requiring that construction contracts be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder only after the project is fully designed. The objectives of this study are to specifically examine the reasons behind the legislature unwillingness to allow design-build as a conventional project delivery method; and to determine the likelihood that design-build will become a conventional delivery system in Massachusetts in the future. For this purpose, several academic research papers, case studies and industry reports have been reviewed. As well, pertinent sections of the M.G.L.’s and other references have been examined. Personal interviews were conducted with key representatives of the public and private sectors, who provided valuable input regarding design-build on public projects. The analysis of the information collected reveals that three principal areas seem to hinder any successful attempts to enact a legislation making design-build a conventional delivery method. These areas can be summarized as (1) loss of opportunities for the design and construction community, (2) technical and management issues at the public sector level, and (3) nature of the political environment in Massachusetts. Due to the unpredictable political environment, and the competing interests within the private sector, within the public sector, and between the private and public sectors, it is highly unlikely that design-build will become a conventional delivery method for public projects in the near future. The report concludes with recommendations to increase the likelihood of design-build to become a conventional project delivery method, considering the issues denoted above.

  • English
  • etd-0508103-223328
Defense date
  • 2003
Date created
  • 2003-05-08
Resource type
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