Design-Build Institute of America releases updated Best Practices

May 22, 2023
The 2023 update of DBIA's Universal Best Practices guidance document includes changes to reflect the latest changes to design-build since 2014.

The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) has released updates to its best practices guidance document, Design-Build Done Right® Universal Best Practices.

First released in 2014, DBIA updated the guide in response to the growth and evolution of design-build and the construction, architecture and engineering (AEC) industry at large. DBIA said that the implementation of its best practices can increase the chances of project and team success.

The updated 2023 Best Practices document incorporates several changes that reflect the current state and projected growth of design-build, helping create consistency in expectations for design-build projects. More broadly, technological advancements, lessons learned during a global pandemic, societal change and industry shifts over the last several years also necessitated updated recommendations for design-build.

Updates to the guidance include:

  • The addition of Guiding Principles that serve as an anchor to the best practices in the areas of Universal Ethical Conduct, Demonstrated Competence, Sustainable Professional Development and Supporting Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.
  • An enhanced focus on the role of industry practitioners – not just Owners – and how they can further contribute to project and team success.
  • Better organization and visual flow of the content.
  • A clear distinction between a Best Value procurement approach versus Progressive Design-Build.

DBIA consulted owners, contractors, designers, educators and attorneys for the updated guidance. Additionally, DBIA said that it assessed input from related industry associations to ensure a broad range of contexts — including Construction Owners Association of America (COAA), Associated General Contractors (ACG), American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Project Delivery Knowledge Community, among others.

“With the growth of design-build, we are thankful to our related industry associations who provided critical feedback on these updates,” said DBIA Executive Director/CEO Lisa Washington, CAE. “Their input helped provide balanced perspectives that drive continued cost, schedule performance and triple bottom-line success for design-build projects and teams.”

These updated best practices will inform changes to DBIA’s core curriculum, which serves as the basis of its design-build certification program. Updates to both the curriculum and certification exam are anticipated in the latter half of 2024.

In addition, with the expanded use of and interest in Progressive Design-Build across the nation, DBIA has also released a informational document that delves into the nuances of the approach, titled “Deeper Dive — Progressive Design-Build.”

Both the Universal Best Practices Primer and Progressive Design-Build Deeper Dive, along with other resources, can be downloaded in the DBIA Bookstore for free.