American Society of Civil Engineers

Applying the Design/Build Project Delivery Method to Shore Protection and Other Coastal Works Projects

by James E. Spady, P.E., M.ASCE, (Clark Nexsen, 6160 Kempsville Circle, Suite 200A, Norfolk, VA 23502. E-mail:
Section: Local, State, and Federal Involvement in Planning, Design, and Construction of Coastal Projects, pp. 807-819, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Coastal Engineering Practice
Abstract: The design/build method of procurement is now a major source of project administration for the Owner and has been successfully employed through a broad spectrum of construction. Recent history indicates that building and bridge construction has been the primary beneficiary of the design/build procurement method but there has been a movement to deploy this contracting method to other project types including shore protection and other coastal works. As this project delivery method migrates into these specific areas, the design/build team will be faced with a set of challenges not typically experienced within the traditional design/build project. These challenges may include lengthy regulatory reviews that influence the design and construction schedule, adjusting project goals and requirements as existing physical features change during the design and construction process, modifying design solutions to address the unknown conditions inherent to construction along the shoreline, and adapting construction activity to address the local fauna and flora regulatory requirements. Conversely, the benefits that can be derived from the design/build project delivery method can be substantial relative to the overall project costs. These benefits can include better design solutions resulting from the collaboration between designer and contractor, reducing the owner’s administrative time and expense by consolidating the contract into a single design/build entity, potential to reduce the project delivery time, and a coordinated effort between designer and contractor to quickly address field issues that arise during construction. Understanding the opportunities and challenges presented to the design/build team is essential to ensuring a successful result from the collaboration between owner, designer, and contractor. Owners, Designers, and Contractors who function within the shore protection and coastal works field should be particularly aware of these opportunities and challenges as the traditional project delivery methods are replaced by the design/build project delivery method.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Shore protection
Coastal management