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DDC Moving Forward With Its Blueprint for Better Capital Project Delivery

Six months after A Strategic Blueprint for Construction Excellence multiple improvements can be seen in all four target areas

July 29, 2019

Contact: Ian Michaels, 718-391-1589,

(Long Island City, NY – July 29, 2019) Commissioner Lorraine Grillo of the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) announced today that six months after publishing A Strategic Blueprint for Construction Excellence, DDC has made progress in all four of the areas it targeted related to the delivery of capital projects for the City of New York. The details were made public today in an update to the Blueprint now available on the DDC’s website.

“Every day we work to make our processes more efficient and more effective, and we’re seeing results,” said Commissioner Grillo. “Our projects are being reviewed more thoroughly at their outset and in less time than before; the amount of time it takes for DDC to procure professional services is down; our regulators are working with us to eliminate redundant reviews and to create more flexibility to address common construction delays; and we’re using data in new ways to control costs. Plus, thanks in large part to our lobbying efforts in Albany, we’re on the verge of having Design-Build as an option. We’re improving the capital project system from top to bottom, and every New Yorker will see the benefits.”

“In just six short months we are already seeing DDC make drastic improvements to how municipal projects are managed, reviewed and operated through the Strategic Blueprint,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “Thanks to the leadership of Commissioner Grillo, and work being done across city agencies, we now have a working blueprint on how to best streamline and operate projects in a more efficient manner that will benefit all New Yorkers.”

The Strategic Blueprint detailed four overall areas in which DDC aimed to improve its processes in order to better deliver capital projects: improve the pipeline that brings projects to DDC so that all the necessary elements to make a project successful are in place before a project begins; manage projects more effectively within DDC; get more out of the contractors and construction management firms that DDC contracts with; and modernize the agency’s systems and technology.

Today’s Progress Update details almost 30 positive developments since January in all four areas, including these examples:

Improve the Pipeline

  • Every DDC infrastructure and public buildings project now goes through an enhanced Front-End Planning process the ensures the necessary scope and funding are in place before DDC accepts it. In Fiscal Year 2019, DDC’s Front End Planning units reviewed 170 projects and found that 69 of them required further scope development or funding.
  • The DDC Front-End Planning report now serves as the official submission to the NYC Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for project review, which has reduced by several weeks the project initiation phase of public buildings projects.

Manage Projects More Effectively

  • DDC has established an Office of Cost Control that is using data to standardize a range of unit costs for materials and construction.
  • The agency has reduced average change order review time by 50 percent by centralizing its change order review process.
  • DDC is establishing standard design and construction durations that will set clear expectations for future performance while reducing delays and cost overruns.
  • A pilot Expanded Work Allowance program is enabling faster payments to contractors so that projects can continue unabated when certain types of common yet unanticipated project conditions arise.

Getting More Out of Contractors and Consultants

  • To better manage contractor budgets and schedules, DDC has begun to implement program management and project controls that use Building Information Modeling technology and enhanced cost estimating.
  • DDC has revamped its performance evaluation system for design consultants and construction managers, with plans to expand to all vendors next year, to hold vendors to higher standards of timeliness, fiscal responsibility and quality.
  • Procurement of consultant and contractor services has been centralized in the Office of the Agency Chief Contracting Officer (ACCO) greatly reducing processing times. The median number of days required for DDC to procure services has decreased by more than one-third since Fiscal Year 2017.

Modernizing Internal Systems and Technology

  • A new end-to-end project management system is being developed to support numerous innovations, including modules for Front-End Planning, change order initiation and payment processing. When completed this system is anticipated to reduce the capital project process by about nine months.
  • New program management systems are in place for large portfolios of related projects, such as the City’s Southeast Queens Initiative and DDC’s Coastal Resiliency program.

A Strategic Blueprint for Construction Excellence was created in conjunction with the Office of Deputy Mayor for Operations Laura Anglin, and includes input from elected officials, construction industry groups, sponsor agencies, local utilities and entities charged with oversight of DDC and the City capital budget, including the Office of Management and Budget, the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services and the Office of the Comptroller. 

Download the July 2019 Strategic Blueprint Progress Update 


About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $14 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit