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Owners today are presented with many alternatives and options for constructing water and wastewater facilities, which include design/build, turnkey, and traditional procurement methods. Up until the middle of the 19th century, design/build was the predominant method of procurement in the United States. Through the years the process of constructing large public works infrastructure projects evolved into the current design, bid and build approach, or conventional bidding system format. Although the design/build and other procurement methods are today well-accepted procurement methods, they are individually some of the most misunderstood and misapplied methods for project delivery. To understand the alternative delivery procurement methods and strategies used, a fundamental understanding of the goals and objectives of the owner is required.

This paper will present a brief history of engineering and construction contracting through the ages and the roles of the design professional, contractor, and the owner. As these roles developed engineering and construction became separate, yet related disciplines. These roles developed into traditional relationships and into what we know as the traditional project delivery method. We have now come full circle with design and construction functions working together for complete project delivery.

This paper will also provide the reader with a process overview of the design/build and other procurement methods, coupled with advantages and disadvantages, as well as risks, associated with the traditional delivery method through the alternative delivery method. At the core of these issues are the relationships between the various parties (engineer, contractor and owner); the quality of the final constructed product; the owner's schedule and financial constraints; regulatory agencies' issues and uncertainties regarding alternative delivery methods; and the legal issues that govern alternative project delivery methods in the United States.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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