“The low bid isn’t always the best bid,” warns one Public Works reader. Even so, most public works departments still use traditional design-bid-build project delivery.

“We’re required to use it,” says a Midwest manager.

And even though a growing number of jurisdictions have made the case for alternative methods, the public sector overall prefers design-bid-build because it gives owners a high degree of control and is best understood by builders and consultants.

“The process works because local design firms and contractors lack staff who are familiar with the other functions, and they can’t afford the investment required to learn how to partner on jobs,” explains a county engineer.

Other survey-takers have found that design-bid-build just works better for their operation.

“Design-build isn’t effective for water and wastewater treatment plants,” says one respondent. “The schedule is too compressed to iron out important details for a project with a 20-year life.”