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Design

D+CE - Frequently Asked Questions

What is Design and Construction Excellence?
How does DDC hire architects?
Who is eligible to work for DDC?
What can our firm expect if we are awarded an 8/20 contract?
Is prior public sector design experience required?
When will the next round of 8/20 RFP’s be issued?
What can my firm do in preparation for the 8/20 RFP?
How can construction management firms and contractors participate in the D+CE program?

What is Design and Construction Excellence?
DDC places a high priority on design and construction excellence for each one of our projects. In 2006, we codified our priorities into the Design and Construction Excellence program. Now, it is simply how we manage all of our projects – it has become fully integrated into how we do business. Our administrative processes, procurement approaches and management strategies focus on the importance of design during the life of a project while helping to insure each project is completed on time and on budget.

We believe one of the cornerstones of design and construction excellence is the use of Quality-Based Selection to hire architects and construction managers. World-renowned and emerging consultants – including many minority and women-owned firms – are hired to design efficient, contemporary, and visually-engaging civic structures based on their qualifications and experience. The architects working for DDC are responsible for designing many of the City's most prominent public buildings.

How does DDC hire architects?
The majority of DDC's design work is issued under contracts known collectively as the 8/20, or previously as the 8/24. These contracts are used for all DDC projects up to $50 million in construction value, with the exception of certain engineering and specialty work. Currently, the 8/20 consists of two groups of requirement contracts - a group of 8 firms hired to work on design projects where the construction value is between $15 million and $50 million, and a group of 20 small firms who are hired to work on design projects up to $15 million in construction value.

DDC also administers stand-alone, project specific contracts, typically for very large projects with a construction value of more than $50 million. These are procured through a project-specific Request for Proposals (RFP), which is done via a two-stage selection process. In the first stage, firms submit their qualifications using a streamlined submittal designed to ensure that the widest range of qualified firms can participate with minimal cost and effort. A short list is then established by DDC based on these submittals. The short-listed firms move on to the second stage, which requires a more detailed technical submittal and includes an interview with DDC's selection committee, including an outside professional peer.

Who is eligible to work for DDC?
Any licensed and registered architect or engineer, and any construction manager may respond to a DDC RFP. Firms are selected for award of contracts based on their ability to deliver architectural, engineering, or construction management excellence across a broad range of programmatic, civic and urban sites, for both public and private clients. It is not necessary for firms to have a New York City-based practice, although a local presence is required.

What can our firm expect if we are awarded an 8/20 contract?
Once selected for the two-year 8/20 contract, design consultants are given the opportunity to submit mini-proposals for a variety of building typologies including new, multi-million dollar buildings, as well as more modest additions and renovations. A selection committee then ranks the proposals, and the highest-ranked firm will be awarded the project. This process matches the most appropriate design consultant to each project.

Is prior public sector design experience required?
Although direct City experience is not necessary, familiarity with the challenges and rewards of designing for public space, and with complex institutional or public clients, will help strengthen proposals. DDC has dedicated staff who are assigned to help design consultants navigate government requirements. Some firms without previous City experience have been successful through making creative and compelling joint venture partnerships with other firms.

When will the next round of 8/20 RFP’s be issued?
The next RFP will be issued during the summer of 2012. 8/20 contracts are typically two years long.

What can my firm do in preparation for the 8/20 RFP?
The first thing your firm should do to receive notification on the release of the 8/20 RFP is to become an official vendor of the City of New York through the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services. You may do so here.  DDC does not provide individual notifications pertaining to our RFP release dates.  The Mayor’s Office of Contract Services issues notifications. Once the RFP has been issued, you may visit the Business Section of our website to download it.  When you become an official vendor, please contact J.R. Martine at martinejo@ddc.nyc.gov  to be placed on our informal mailing list to receive a copy of the previous 8/20 RFP and an FAQ sheet.

How can construction management firms and contractors participate in the D+CE program?
We have a set of requirement contracts for construction management agency services that are structured in the same way as the 8/20 contracts referred to above. These are also 2-year contracts, and selections are made using the same Quality-Based Selection principles.

All our work is competitively bid, subject to New York State General Municipal Law, specifically GML 103. DDC's work, however, is bid under a set of Project Labor Agreements that were put in place in late 2009, and are thereby exempted from the Wicks Law which would otherwise apply. This creates opportunities for general contractors to compete on a level playing field and with true control of their trades. It eliminates the confusion and inefficiency of having multiple prime contracts held by the City.

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