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School Design-Build Contracts Allowed if Specific Procedures Are Followed

Public Act 103-0491, which is effective January 1, 2024, creates the School Design-Build Authorization Law within the School Code and aims to increase efficiency and effectiveness in construction projects by authorizing school districts to use the “design-build” delivery method. Design-build is a delivery system that provides responsibility within a single contract for the furnishing of architecture, engineering, land surveying services, as required, as well as the labor, materials, equipment, and other construction services. Prior to entering into a design-build contract, however, a school district must follow a specified process for solicitation and consideration of proposals.

The process includes a requirement to develop scope and performance criteria through a licensed professional, followed by publication of notice of intent to receive proposals. After receipt of proposals, the school district must complete a two-phase selection process (the process is somewhat streamlined if the total overall cost of a project is estimated to be less than $12,000,000). During the selection process, the school district must, among other steps, evaluate and “short-list” the design-build entities based on specified criteria, and then consider technical and cost proposals. The school district may award the design-build contract to the highest overall ranked entity after the evaluation.

While the use of design-build contracts may increase efficiencies in school construction projects, the selection process has numerous procedural requirements. Be sure to review the requirements carefully before beginning the solicitation process and follow all of the steps closely.

Contact an attorney in our Corporate Practice Group with your questions regarding design-build contracts.

Sources: Public Act 103-0491 (Senate Bill 1570)