Water Design-Build Council Blog

Design-Build-Operate: Recommended Best Practices

Posted by Admin on Thu, Jul 02, 2015 @ 10:25 AM

35080044_sDesign-build-operate (DBO) offers an important expansion of the design-build (DB) project-delivery method for the water and waste-water industry. DBO comprises all of the components of DB -- including design, permitting, procurement, construction, and testing -- and also includes operation and maintenance (O&M) of the completed facility. Thus, the delivery of the project and services provided to the owner do not end at final acceptance; services continue through a defined operational term.

To optimize design-build-operate procurement and implementation, owners should:

  • Identify key activities in a procurement plan; retain essential advisors with relevant experience and capabilities; and clearly articulate the project scope, schedule, quality, cost, and risk allocation
  • Conduct procurement in a transparent process with open communication, recognizing that the participating firms are making substantial investments to produce quality proposals that are responsive to the procurement documents
  • Hold a review and comment session with short-list proposers to present the draft RFP, specifically addressing the terms and conditions in the draft DBO contract
  • Advise participating firms on whether strict adherence to RFP conditions is required, or whether alternative proposals will be considered (flexibility is recommended)
  • Consider offering a stipend to non-selected participating firms as payment for their proposal effort, and as compensation for any project-delivery ideas of which the owner may take advantage
  • Reduce project uncertainties and risks by completing all engineering and related studies (e.g., investigations of site geotechnical, environmental and cultural conditions; pilot testing of technologies and other water or wastewater quality studies prior to issuing the final RFP; and detailing the location and condition of existing utilities and other facilities) and obtaining major permits and approvals
  • Confirm that the raw water/influent quality and quantity specification is complete, accurate, and reliable with respect to water condition and temperature, flow rates (daily and seasonal), potential contaminants that could impact operational efficiencies, taste, odor and turbidity requirements
  • Confirm that operational specifications are complete, accurate, and reliable with respect to noise, odor, emissions, repair, and replacement, energy consumption, and specified condition of facility at the end of operating term
  • Confirm that labor relations issues will not directly or indirectly impact the procurement process
  • Conduct a thorough community relations program


Topics: design-build, best practices