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A Synthesis of Best-Value Procurement Practices for Sustainable Design-Build Projects in the Public Sector

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Research in sustainable building practices suggests that integrated project delivery methods can more successfully deliver green buildings as measured by cost, schedule, and quality objectives. Design-build is an integrated project delivery method that has increased in use in the public sector. Design-build projects are commonly acquired through best-value procurement, which includes factors in addition to price. However, the procurement process of green buildings requires specific selection factors that are not accounted for in conventional buildings. This study synthesizes the current state of practice for best-value procurement of sustainable design-build projects within the public sector. The findings are based upon a content analysis of procurement documents for 26 projects. The results of this study reveal that procurement opportunities exist to improve best-value award algorithms. The findings show that owners are missing opportunities to evaluate design-builders on sustainable building experience and sustainability of the proposed design in project management plans. Modifying the solicitation documents to include these elements could improve the overall success of delivery.
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148 Journal of Green Building
A SYNTHESIS OF BEST-VALUE PROCUREMENT PRACTICES
FOR SUSTAINABLE DESIGN-BUILD PROJECTS
IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR
Keith R. Molenaar,1 Nathaniel Sobin,2 and Eric I. Antillón3
ABSTRACT
Research in sustainable building practices suggests that integrated project delivery methods can more successfully
deliver green buildings as measured by cost, schedule, and quality objectives. Design-build is an integrated project
delivery method that has increased in use in the public sector. Design-build projects are commonly acquired through
best-value procurement, which includes factors in addition to price. However, the procurement process of green build-
ings requires specic selection factors that are not accounted for in conventional buildings. is study synthesizes
the current state of practice for best-value procurement of sustainable design-build projects within the public sector.
e ndings are based upon a content analysis of procurement documents for 26 projects. e results of this study
reveal that procurement opportunities exist to improve best-value award algorithms. e ndings show that owners
are missing opportunities to evaluate design-builders on sustainable building experience and sustainability of the
proposed design in project management plans. Modifying the solicitation documents to include these elements could
improve the overall success of delivery.
KEYWORDS
procurement, project delivery, sustainable development
INTRODUCTION
The in dust r y dem a nd for “g oing gre en” has
increased exponentially since its inception. The
design and construction industry predominantly
uses the United States Green Building Council’s
(USGBC®) Leadership in Energy and Environmen-
tal Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating Sys-
tem™ as a metric for green building performance.
Recent studies suggest that the future market value
of green building may reach up to $140 billion dol-
lars by 2013 (McGraw-Hill 2008) and that one out
of ve architecture, engineering and construction
(AEC) rms have participated on at least one LEED
certied project as of 2006 (BDC 2006). Further-
more, LEED certification points are now being
implemented and mandated by public agencies at all
levels. Municipal level actions such as the Chicago
Standard require several LEED points that can eas-
ily lead to certication. State level mandates, such
as Title 24 in California, have parallel measurement
systems to LEED that allow state building require-
ments to count as LEED points. National agency
ma nd ates such as Executive Order 13423 now
require sustainable aspects as measured by LEED to
be included in all new projects built by most govern-
ment agencies. Clearly, sustainability as measured by
the LEED rating system has proliferated the design
and construction industry.
A recent study showed that integrated project
delivery methods, including design-build, are being
used to deliver 75 percent of current new construc-
tion projects seeking LEED certication (Molenaar,
1Associate Professor, Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado, 428 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0428,
tel (303) 735-4276, fax (303) 492-7317, email keith.molenaar@colorado.edu
2PhD Candidate, Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado, 428 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0428,
tel (303) 735-0185, fax (303) 492-7317, email sobin@colorado.edu
3Research Assistant, Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado, 428 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0428,
tel (303) 735-0185, fax (303) 492-7317, email eric.antillon@colorado.edu
Volume 5, Number 4 149
resources, and cooperation with other sustainable
infrastructure goals. e current levels of certica-
tion include (in ascending order) Certied, Silver,
Gold, and Platinum and are based on the number
of points that are acquired in meeting these focuses
(USGBC 2007). The LEED rating and certifica-
tion system has become one of the most successful
and accepted programs of its kind in the U.S. and
has inuenced similar international programs. e
ecacy of this system is demonstrated by the fact
that in just three years (2003–2006) the number of
designers that have designed a building with LEED
certication went from one in ten to one in ve and
continues to grow (BDC 2006). As of April 2009,
there were nearly 2,500 LEED certied projects and
more than 81,000 LEED Accredited Professionals.
The USGBC’s membership has in fact more than
quadrupled since 2000 (USGBC 2009). A study
performed by the U.S. General Services Administra-
tion revealed that green buildings provide, on aver-
age, 13 percent lower maintenance costs, 26 percent
less energ y usage, and 33 percent lower CO2 emis-
sions than buildings that are not considered “green”
(GSA 2008).
A project deliver y method denes the sequence
of events, contractual obligations, participant rela-
tionships, and specic mechanisms for overseeing
time, cost, and qualit y (Dorsey 1997). However,
terms surrounding project delivery methods can be
et al. 2009). Within that same study it was found
that the largest proportion of the design-build pop-
ulation was public projects that used a best-value
procurement procedure. With this in mind, the
design-build, best-value market becomes of particu-
lar interest. While previous studies have attempted
to quantif y the performance of design-build in
comparison to other delivery methods in achieving
LEED points (Carpenter 2005, Bilec 2008), few if
any have investigated how sustainability objectives
are communicated in requests for proposals (RFPs).
Communication through design-build RFPs is par-
ticularly important because the RFP forms the basis
for design-builder selection and becomes the basis of
the design-build contract. is study performs this
analysis at the finest level of granularit y: the lan-
guage used in the procurement documents. As more
information is known about the current trends in
design-build procurement, changes to the existing
design and construction industry procurement tech-
niques can be suggested.
BACKGROUND
The L EED rating system was developed by the
USGBC in 1998 to act as an assessment tool for
evaluating sustainability performance from a design
and construction standpoint. Specically, the sys-
tem focuses on the use of durable or recycled materi-
als, reduction of energy consumption, reuse of land
FIGU RE 1. Project Delivery Methods—Contracts and Communications.
150 Journal of Green Building
ects was restricted to only qualications-based selec-
tion by the Brooks Act (Public Law 92-582) while
procurement of construction services was restricted
to low bid by the Miller Act and numerous public
bidding statutes respectively (Cushman and Loula-
kis 2001, Bartholomew 2002). e rst example of
design-build delivery occurred in the late 1960’s and
did not truly become an oft used delivery method in
the public sector until 1997 with the amendment of
Federal Acquisition Regulations (Beard, et al. 2001).
Changes to Part 15 of the Federal Acquisition Regu-
lations allowed for a two part procurement system in
which the “best value” to the public is available for
the procurement of design-builders (Cushman and
Loulakis 2001). Figure 2 shows a spectrum of pro-
curement approaches from low bid to qualications-
based selection.
As noted by Scott et al. (2006), best-value pro-
curement can be disaggregated into four primary
concepts: parameters, evaluation criteria, rating sys-
tems, and award algorithms. The parameters that
encompass best-value procurement can be grouped
into categories of cost, time, qualifications, qual-
ity and design (or technical approach) (Scott, et al.
2006). Owners score, rate or rank proposers ability
to meet project objectives that are defined by the
best-value parameters in a project RFP. For example,
the ability to shorten the overall project duration may
be an important owner objective. By communicating
best-value procurement parameters to proposers, an
owner can score each separate proposal on the basis
of their proposed project duration and make a time-
cost tradeo in its nal selection. It is within these
best-value parameters that owners communicate sus-
tainable project objectives and dene how proposers
can provide the best value to the owner.
As the design-build concept utilizing a best-value
procurement strategy began to proliferate, so did
studies on its performance. One study comparing
confusing and experienced professionals often mis-
use them. Standa rdizing the definition the three
major components of design and construction con-
tract operations is essential to understanding project
delivery and the facts involved in this paper (Mole-
naar, et al. 2009).
Project delivery method: the comprehensive
process by which designers, constructors, and
various consultants provide services for design
and construction to deliver a complete project
to the owner. Figure 1 synthesizes the models
presented in a number of industry documents
(Molenaar, et al. 2009) and depicts the three
main delivery methods. While names can vary
in the industry and owners often create hybrid
delivery methods, there are essentially three
primary project delivery methods: design-
bid-build, construction manager at risk, and
design-build.
Procurement procedure: the process of buying
and obtaining the necessary property, design,
contracts, labor, materials, and equipment to
build a project. e four primary procurement
procedures are low-bid, best-value, qualications-
based, and sole-source procurement.
is study focuses on design-build. Design-build
is a delivery method that combines the design and
construction entities, t ypica lly for the purpose of
integrating contractor experience into the design,
decreasing the schedule duration, and decreasing the
number of contractual relationships (ASCE 2000).
While the design-build delivery concept has been
in existence for more than two millennia, its use
in modern U.S. public contracting is more recent
(Beard, et al. 2001). Previous federal contracting
laws typically required a separation between the
design entity and the construction entity. Addition-
ally, procurement of design services on federal proj-
FIGU RE 2. Procurement Methods.
Volume 5, Number 4 151
designers articulate sustainable objectives both qual-
itatively and contractually. Furthermore, a study
of procurement document langua ge will provide
owners, architects, engineers, and constructors with
a greater understanding of common trends, poten-
tial advantages and pitfalls to avoid when author-
ing procurement documents for future design-build
projects.
RESEARCH APPROACH
e primary objective of this study was to identify
current trends in procurement documents for public
sector design-build projects in which sustainability
was a goal. To objectively identify trends in the lan-
guage and techniques used to select project teams, a
content analysis methodology of solicitation docu-
ments was used. A content analysis is defined as,
“any technique for making inferences by objectively
and systematically identif ying specied character-
istics of messages(Holsti 1969). W hile content
analysis is typically used in social science studies, it
is also a proven and eective method for classifying
language characteristics and commonalities in con-
struction procurement documents (Gransberg and
Molenaar 2004). e documents used in the study
were acquired from industry contacts, public con-
struction solicitation websites, and internet search
engines. As a controlled sample would be dicult
to obtain, the sample was made by convenience (a
non-probability sample). The documents are gen-
erally representative of the wide variety of sustain-
able projects within the current public design-build
construction market from 2006 –2009. While the
non-probability sample limits the extrapolations
that may be made to industry as a whole, the sam-
ple population does provide valuable quantitative
and qualitative insight into the current state of the
procurement process. e LEED certication level
demographics, budget size, and owner classication
of the procurement documents analyzed are shown
in Table 1. Collectively they represent over $1.2 bil-
lion dollars in vertical construction work from 16
dierent states.
Project demographics (e.g., location, size, cost,
LEED level sought, etc.) were acquired from each
RFP. In addition, four categories of interest were
ident ified in a pilot study of the procu rement
documents:
the performance of delivery methods showed that
the design-build delivery method was superior to
other delivery methods in terms of time, cost, and
quality (Konchar and Sanvido 1998). In addition, a
study that evaluated diering procurement systems
within the realm of design-build specically found
that best-value procurement performed better than
low bid projects in both schedule and cost growth (El
Wardani, et al. 2006). A study also investigated the
performance of one and two-step best-value procure-
ment and found that the two-step procurement was
superior in both cost and schedule growth (Mole-
naar, et al. 1999). is nding is signicant because
it showed that the two-step best-value procurement
system mandated by the federal acquisitions regula-
tions for public projects was indeed the most eective
means of performing best-value procurement.
Integrated design is a key component for eec-
tively delivering LEED rated buildings (Yudelson
2009; Korkmaz et al 2010). While integrated deliv-
ery methods are inherently more capable of facilitat-
ing integrated design, few if any studies had quan-
tied delivery method trends in the green building
sector. A recent study of 230 LEED rated projects
found that integrated deliver y methods, such a s
design-build and construction management at risk,
are used in 75 percent of projects seeking LEED
certification (Molenaar, et al. 2009). Notably, 74
percent of the design-build data points used in this
study were publicly funded. While the 2009 study
addressed commonalities and potential shortcom-
ings within design-build procurement, a highly
focused study on the public sector design-build mar-
ket was not possible.
As previously stated, best-value procurement uses
an R FP process to procure design-build services.
is process involves formal solicitations for project
delivery services which stipulate the owner’s require-
ments that dene the desired outcome of the project.
For sustainable projects seeking LEED certication,
the RFP documents contain a new set of emergent
sustainable selection criteria. By thoroughly exam-
ining these emergent criteria, a determination can
be made regarding how public sector owners are
incorporating sustainability concepts into best-value
procurement of design-builders for sustainable pub-
lic sector projects. Current language trends in pro-
curement documents ca n show how owners and
152 Journal of Green Building
quantify the language differences through a pilot
study of the procurement documents. e require-
ment and amount of LEED related experience to
both the company and/or specific personnel was
found to vary signicantly, therefore necessitating
three subcategories: quantitative experience require-
ments, qualitative experience requirements, and
no experience requirements. e manner in which
the owner communicated the sustainability objec-
tives and goals of the project was also found to vary.
is nding necessitated three subcategories: higher
LEED related experience of the company/
personnel;
If the certication level (i.e. silver, gold,
platinum) was set at the time of procurement;
If and how specic LEED points or sustainable
objectives were communicated; and
e inclusion of LEED criteria in required
project management plans.
Subcategories for the a forementioned areas of
interest a nd a coding s ystem were developed to
TABLE 1. Demographics of the Procurement Documents.
Project #
Project Location
& Time
LEED Certification
Sought Budget Size ($) Project t ype Project Size (SF)
1 MS – 2008 Gold $16M Military 70,000 SF
2 MD – 2006 “Cert. or higher” $45.5M Military 140,000 SF
3 TX – 2009 Silver or Better Not Listed Local Government 187,000 SF
4 CA – 2009 Silver Not Listed Health Care 900,000 SF
5 AZ – 2006 “Basic LEED Stds.” $50-70M Educational 200-260K SF
6 TX – 2006 “Cert. Reqt’s” $57M Educational 150,000 SF
7 CO – 2009 Silver $31M Military 138,000 SF
8 CO – 2009 Silver $35M Military 224,000 SF
9 VA – 2008 Max Level Possible $20.63M Educational 65,000 SF
10 UT – 2009 Silver $28.8M Military Not Listed
11 OR – 2009 Certified $10-12M Local Government 10,000 SF
12 NC – 2009 Silver $19.3M/$22.3M Military 21,948/30,979 SF
13 NJ – 2009 Silver $40M Educational Not Listed
14 GA – 2007 Certified $4.1M Educational 20,000 SF
15 AZ – 2008 *Not Specified $7-8M Educational 29,000 SF
16 CA – 2007 *Not Specified $100M Health Care 115,000 SF
17 CA – 2006 *Not Specified $29M Educational 45,000 SF
18 CA – 2007 *Not Specified $32.7M Educational 48,000 SF
19 CO – 2008 *Not Specified $41M Educational 127,700 SF
20 AK – 2007 *Not Specified $6.5M Local Government Not Listed
21 CA – 2008 Silver $547M Health Care Not Listed
22 FL – 2007 *Not Specified $7.5M Health Care 39,000 SF
23 VA – 2007 Silver $1.5M Local Government Not Listed
24 NM – 2007 Silver $10.3M Local Government Not Listed
25 NM – 2009 Silver $7.9M Health Center 31,500–53,500 SF
26 OK – 2009 Silver $61.6M Military 275,000 SF
Total: $1,235M 2,927,200 SF
*A specific LEED level was not specified in the procurement documents, but the LEED process was discussed.
Volume 5, Number 4 153
Experience and Qualifications
The experience and qualifications category repre-
sents how owners communicate sustainable experi-
ence and qualications criteria for both company
and personnel. The results show that owners are
communicating best-value requirements of sustain-
able design and construction both quantitatively
and qualitatively. The results of this analysis cat-
egory are presented below in Table 2.
Quantitative LEED experience is dened by mea-
sureable experience, such as the number of success-
fully LEED certied projects that the company has
completed or the number of projects in which the
LEED AP has participated. Other examples found
in the content analysis for this category include the
number of years experience with the LEED certi-
fication process, the number of LEED APs in the
company, and t he type of experience with a spe-
cif ic LEED certification level (e.g., …the LEED
AP assigned to the project shall have completed at least
one LEED platinum project…”). Quantitative results
most often include statements like “the selected design-
builder must have at least one project that has received a
LEED certication, or at least one LEED AP required
on the design and construction teams.”
Qualitative L EED exp erience is def ined by
company or personnel experience in implementing
LEED sustainable design and development. How-
ever, the requirement does not make a quantitative
distinction on experience related to LEED. This
may include demonstrating experience by means of
LEED levels rewarded through procurement, LEED
level set at procurement, and LEED level unspeci-
ed at procurement. Several solicitation documents
ma nd ated explicit LEE D points or susta inable
objectives to be met. Others were either silent on the
topic or presented “suggested” points that were con-
tractually superseded by a performance specication
regarding the required LEED certication level to
be achieved. ree subcategories were used to delin-
eate dierences in this area: specic LEED points
required, specic LEED points discussed, and no
discussion of LEED points. The incorporation of
LEED requirements and submittals into a project
management plan was also found to vary. ree sub-
categories were developed accordingly: management
plans required that include LEED objectives, man-
agement plans that do not include LEED objectives,
and no project management plan required. Figure 3
shows the categories and subcategories that emerged
from the content analysis approach. e remainder
of this paper discusses the results from this categori-
zation system.
RESULTS
Twenty-six (26 ) proc ure ment documents were
analyzed by content analysis. e content analysis
examined each solicitation document through the
coding system described in Figure 2. e results of
this analysis describe the trends in procuring public
sector design-build projects that incorporate sustain-
able objectives in the best-value procurement.
FIGU RE 3. Content Analysis Categories and Subcategories.
154 Journal of Green Building
ers have a clear denition of the sustainable objec-
tives. e results for this category are presented in
Table 3.
e prevalent nding for this categor y (50 per-
cent) was for the LEED level to be predetermined
by the owner. Typical language used in such cases
included …project shall achieve a LEED silver rat-
ing…” or similar. However, 15 percent of the proj-
ects analyzed provided a baseline LEED level, but
included a scored procurement criterion for higher
levels than the ba seline. This strategy gives t he
owner an extra sustainability versus cost tradeoff
in the proposals they receive and represents a sig-
nicant opportunity that other owners could poten-
tially adopt. Interestingly, 35 percent of the projects
analyzed did not require a LEED level. Proposals
in this category often used phrases such as …the
building will achieve a level of LEED certication….
While the project appears to seek certication, the
language used to communicate this can only be
described as ambiguous.
Ambiguity in the procurement documents ana-
lyzed was also present in the required certication
process. Several of the projects analyzed contained
ambiguous language that did not clearly communi-
cate the intent to certify. For example, a phrase such
as shall meet the requirements of a LEED silver
rating” versus “…shall achieve USGBC certication
at the silver level…can be interpreted with vastly
dierent outcomes. e rst may intend that a silver
certication will be achieved by the project but may
also mean that the LEED rating system will be used
to meet sustainability objectives without certica-
tion; thus meeting the “requirements”. e second
example leaves no doubt that an ocial certication
via the USGBC is the contractual intent.
Other procurement documents specically used
the LEED evaluation system as a measurement for
evaluating sustainable aspects of the design a nd
past project experience that has implemented LEED
sustainable design, or the LEED AP’s previous expe-
rience itself. A typical qualitative LEED experience
requirement found was “…include a list of projects
currently underway or completed that demonstrates
sustainable LEED experience by including the LEED
certication level obtained or expected.”
e results for this categor y show that over half
of the projects analyzed do not include LEED expe-
rience for the company or personnel, despite the
fact that LEED certication is a stated goal of the
project. is may indicate that owners do not see the
need for LEED experience of the design-builder for
the successful delivery of the project. is nding
may also be a function of the relatively brief period
in which sustainability goals have been included
within public sector projects. This relatively brief
period could indicate an owner’s perception of a lack
of experience in the industry or an indication that
procurement techniques did not advance as quickly
as did the requirements for LEED certification.
Regardless of the causal interpretation, this nding
represents a signicant opportunity often missed by
owners for helping make certain that the sustainable
aspects of the project are realized.
Quantitative a nd qualitative experience meth-
ods were a lso used with approximately the same
frequency for both company and personnel experi-
ence.is indicates that a clear consensus on how
to best qualify designers and constructors through
sustainable construction experience does not cur-
rently exist.
LEED Level Category
The LEED level category was used to determine
how owners communicate a desired level of sustain-
ability through the LEED measurement system. In
addition, this category also shows if and when own-
TABLE 2. Experience and Qualifications Category
Results.
Company LEED
Experience (%)
Personnel LEED
Experience (%)
Quantitative 27% 23%
Qualitative 23% 23%
None 50% 54%
TABLE 3. LEED Level Category Results.
LEED Level %
Procurement evaluates higher LEED
levels (score or price)
15%
Desired LEED level is set 50%
LEED level is not specified 35%
Volume 5, Number 4 155
ever, some projects discussed specic LEED points
that were superseded by a performance specication
(a LEED level). While this group represented only
12 percent of the procurement documents analyzed,
this finding was somewhat perplexing. It would
appear that owners utilizing this method of articu-
lating their sustainable objectives are providing both
a design requirement (the specic LEED point) as
well as a performance requirement (the certication
level). is practice does not seem advisable as doing
so potentially introduces a double standard into the
specication process. If this were the case, it is likely
that the contracting entity may not be held liable
for non-certication assuming they meet the design
specification thus leaving the owner with a false
sense of security regarding the certication liability.
Project Management Plans
Typica l project mana gement plans included in
design-build RFPs demonstrate how the propos-
ing team will approach certain features of the proj-
ect that are deemed critical to success. e project
management plan category examines how or if sus-
tainable project requirements are included in the
proposed work breakdown structure (i.e., organi-
zation of discrete work elements) and schedule; an
oftrequired selection criterion of the design-builder.
Results of this analysis category are presented below
in Table 5.
e results of this category indicate that while
project management plans are most often a required
criteria for the selection of a design-builder, these
plans usually do not include a selection criterion
that addresses the sustainable aspects of the project
(42 percent of the analyzed projects). is represents
a missed opportunity on the part of owners, assum-
ing they perceive such plans as an eective tool for
ameliorating the project delivery process. e best-
value procurement process provides an opportunity
for comparing proposed project management plans.
Including sustainable project characteristics within
these plans provides a means for evaluating the
designer/contractor approach for meeting the sus-
tainable project requirements posed by the owner.
This method may be most useful at the highest
LEED certication levels due to the complex design
and construction features that are often required at
these certication levels.
construction while clearly not seeking ocial cer-
tication (e.g. “…project shall be registered with the
USGBC but will not seek certification…”). These
ndings are perhaps symbolic of a risk-averse atti-
tude by owners towards the third part y evaluation
system and/or a lack of understanding in how to
incorporate the third party evaluation system into
the procurement documents. An owner aversion to
increased rst cost may also explain these ndings.
LEED Point Specification Approach
e specication category was designed to capture
if and how owners communicate specific LEED
points to meet their sustainable goals. ree sub-
categories emerged to delineate this information:
(1) specic LEED points required; (2) LEED points
suggested but superseded by a certication level; and
(3) no specic LEED points discussed. e “Specic
LEED points required” subcategory is representative
of a design specication while the “No specication
regarding LEED points” subcategory is represen-
tative of a pure performance specication. Table 4
presents the results for this category.
e most common nding for this category (77
percent) was for owners to communicate sustainable
objectives by performance; not by discussing spe-
cic LEED points. In these cases the performance
requirement was most often expressed as a LEED
certif ication level (e.g. …project shall achieve a
LEED certication at the gold level….”). is nding
is unsurprising as an inherent benet of the design-
build delivery method is to allow the design-builder
to apply dierent creative and innovative strategies
for achieving a specied goal.
Twelve (12) percent of the projects analyzed did
require specific LEED points or objectives to be
met. is nding indicates that owners sometimes
have very specific sustainability objectives (e.g.,
energy reduction, water use reduction, etc.). How-
TABLE 4. Specification Approach Category Results.
LEED Point Specification Approach %
Specific LEED points/quantifiable
objectives are required 11.5%
Specific LEED points are discussed but
are superseded by certification 11.5%
No specification regarding LEED points 77%
156 Journal of Green Building
Communicating sustainable objectives in the
public sector design-build ma rket is most often
accomplished through a set LEED certication level
that usually does not include specic LEED points
to be achieved. is practice is viable as many proj-
ects are successfully constructed by the use of this
technique. However, a signicant opportunit y for
competing higher L EED levels exists. Competi-
tion in LEED ratings can be achieve by requiring
a base certification level and including a scored
criterion in the best-value procurement process for
higher certication levels. is allows the creativity
of the design-builder for achieving sustainability to
be included and could produce higher LEED levels;
perhaps at a nominal cost.
A variety of criteria are currently used for mea-
suring previous company and/or personnel experi-
ence with LEED projects. However, approximately
half of the projects analyzed in this study do not
include any procurement criteria to measure the pre-
vious design-builder LEED project experience. is
nding represents a signicant opportunity for vet-
ting design-builders on LEED projects, especially
for projects seeking the highest certication levels.
While this study does not measure project success,
it seems probable that design-builders with LEED
project experience will deliver successfully on new
projects. However, this suspicion may only be vali-
dated with future research.
e majority of projects analyzed in this study
included a project management plan, but most plans
did not include sustainable objectives. Assuming
that the owner perceives the inclusion of project
management plans in an RFP as an effective tool
for evaluating design-builders, sustainable project
objectives could be easily included.
e criteria that are incorporated into the best-
value selection of design-builders for sustainable
public sector projects should be designed to accom-
modate t he objectives of the individual project.
Selecting the design-build team with the highest
potential to meet the owner’s objectives is crucial to
project success. e inclusion of the recommenda-
tions noted in this study in the solicitation docu-
ments cou ld improve the confidence, efficienc y,
quality of work, and the overall chance of success of
green building delivery.
Project management plans that do require the
inclusion of sustainable design and construction
aspects address the process, quality assurance, and
execution of LEED requirements for the project.
Several t ypes of project management plans that
included sustainable project characteristics were
found. e most common type of project manage-
ment plan requires a LEED approach narrative to
determine the team’s approach for incorporating,
documenting, and obtaining LEED certication. A
typical example of this language is “discuss the pro-
cess of design and construction for LEEDGOLD”).
A less common but more detailed approach was
also found. Such examples required a specic work
brea kdown structure, schedule, and staffing plan
for achieving LEED certication. It is hypothesized
that more detailed project management plans may
be most appropriate for addressing the complexities
associated with high LEED certication levels.
irty-ve (35) percent of the projects analyzed
did not require project management plans of a ny
kind. It is hypothesized that this may simply be due
to owner preference towards the use of project man-
agement plans or that owners wish to keep proposal
costs down, but no clear explanation is available.
CONCLUSIONS
e purpose of this paper is to provide information
about green building delivery for owners and design-
builders in the public sector in an eort to improve
the condence, eciency, quality of work, and the
overall success. e growing demand for green build-
ing has required many aspects of the design and con-
struction industry to change in order to keep up with
this demand. While the best-value procurement pro-
cesses have adapted to accommodate these changes,
signicant opportunities for improvement still exist.
TABLE 5. Project Management Plans Categor y Result s.
Project Management Plans %
LEED Requirements
Included in PM Plans
23%
LEED Requirements
Excluded in PM Plans
42%
Project Mgmt Plans
Not Required
35%
Volume 5, Number 4 157
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This research wa s funded in part by the Pankow
Foundation, the Design-Build Institute of America
and the National Science Foundation. e authors
would like to express their appreciation to the indus-
try members who assisted in data collection by pro-
viding design-build RFPs. Without this support, the
research could not have been possible.
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