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Best Practices

Design-Build Done Right

(v.2.0 updated February 2014)

Universally Applicable Best Practices Applying to Any Project Type, in Any Market Sector, of Any Size


Read Universal Best Practices​ (PDF) 

Based on research, case studies and extensive industry input, DBIA has identified design-build best practices and implementing techniques that directly impact project performance. Stated differently, if these practices are implemented, there is an increased probability that the design-build project will be successful. If these practices are not implemented, the performance of the project may be compromised and expectations of one or all of the team participants may not be met.

For ease of reference, this document has categorized ten (10) best practices (and nearly 50 supporting implementing techniques) into three areas:
  1. Procuring Design-Build Services;
  2. Contracting for Design-Build Services; and
  3. Executing the Delivery of Design-Build Projects.
The evolution of this document is based on input from DBIA members and the A/E/C industry. 

Market Sector Best Practices

To accompany the Universal Best Practices and recognizing the real-world differences between design-build market sectors, DBIA’s market sector committees have developed a second tier of Best Practices related specifically to those sectors.


Transportation Sector Best Practices


Water/WastewaterWater/Wastewater Sector Best Practices



FederalFederal Sector Best Practices


Public-Private Partnerships

Public-Private Partnerships Primer Water/Wastewater Sector Best Practices


DBIA Position Statements:

Design-Build Manual of PracticeDesign-Build Manual of Practice

The Design-Build Manual of Practice is an authoritative guidebook about single-source responsibility contracting, consisting of narrative instructions, procedural guidance, sample formats and best practices recommendations. The purpose of the compendium is to provide a comprehensive reference manual for owners and practitioners about all aspects of design-build practice. The publication includes basic definitions, selection procedures, project execution checkpoints, tenets of professional ethics, risk management guidelines, contract formats, licensure data and regulatory and legal information. The Manual of Practice is available for download for DBIA members - sign in with your member login to access it.
If you don't know if you have all the chapters or if you want to know what's in the Manual of Practice, we have the complete list of chapters on this site. One that is available to everyone is the BIM Checklist.
Design-Build Introduction
Design-Build Definitions
DBIA Code of Professional Conduct 
Overcoming Legal Impediments to Design-Build in the Public Sector
Legislative Guide for Alternative Project Delivery Methods (APDMs)
Enactment and Application of the Model Design-Build Procurement Act
Model Regulation for Design-Build Procurement Act (Best Value Process) 
Best Practices in Acquisition and Procurement
Competitive Acquisition of Design-Build Services
Utilizing Negotiated Selection
Federal Design-Build Source Selection
Developing Performance-Based Requirements for Design-Build Projects
Contract Incentives and Design-Build Acquisition 
Best Practices Pre-Award *
The Proposal Process: Responding to RFQs and RFPs
Design-Build Teaming Agreement Guide
Selecting Specialty Contractors
Design-Build Insurance and Bonding Guide
* Please note that many of the post-award chapters contain information that is pertinent to the project team’s work in the pre-award phase. 
Best Practices Post-Award
Executing the Design-Build Project
Design Management for the Design-Build Environment
BIM and Design-Build Project Delivery
BIM Checklist (available to all)
Value Engineering in Design-Build: A Value Management Approach 
Sector-Specific Best Practices
Transportation Infrastructure Best Practices
Design-Build Process for Civil Infrastructure Projects
Process Industries Best Practices  
Having problems? Can't download your Manual of Practice chapters? Contact Todd Rich - or call 202-454-7503 (8:30am - 5:30pm Eastern time).