Building Construction Professor Awarded $172,242 Grant from GDOT

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Building Construction Assistant Professor Baabak Ashuri has recently been awarded a $172,242 grant to conduct a two-year research project for the Georgia Department of Transportation. The project, titled “Recommended Guide for Next Generation of Transportation Design Build Procurement and Contracting in the State of Georgia,” will involve developing a Transportation Design Build Guidebook for use by the GDOT to better implement and expand Design Build contracting in highway construction programs.   


Dr. Ashuri joined the School of Building Construction in 2007, after receiving his doctorate from Georgia Tech. He is Director of the Economics of the Sustainable Built Environment (ESBE) Lab at Georgia Institute of Technology. He specializes in Economic Decision Analysis, Strategic Risk Management, Project Delivery Systems, and Capital Budgeting. He teaches graduate-level courses in Decision Analysis and Risk Management, Design and Construction Processes,  Project Management, and Building Economics and Value Engineering and serves as the Graduate Coordinator for the Integrated Project Delivery Systems Track in the master’s program in the School of Building Construction at Georgia Tech.




A brief description of this project is as follows:


 GDOT, like many State DOTs across the nation, faces the challenge of rising expectations for maintaining, modernizing and expanding transportation infrastructure systems to support economic growth and improve social welfare, despite shrinking local and federal funding and sharply declining fuel tax revenues. GDOT has undertaken utilizing Design Build methodology by reforming its organization and modifying contracting and procurement models.  Based on the statutory guidance and the desire to modify the current contracting model, most of the contracting techniques rely heavily on revising current “tried and true” specifications, which are mostly focused on fairly prescriptive requirements.  Other State DOTs have approached Design Build through a variety of ways, but have varying degrees of political and institutional support.

What appears to be a common desire among many State DOTs across the nation is the sense of urgency for looking beyond the tweaking of current documents and procedures to the development of the “next generation” of Design Build contracting and procurement methods.  Such research will be key to help State DOTs: (1) identify and assess projects that best fit with the Design Build project delivery system; (2) enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of Design Build projects; (3) maximize the public benefits through the use of the private sectors’ innovative solutions; (4) manage and mitigate risks with effective and efficient risk management strategies described in contracting instruments; and (5) provide for efficient and effective DOT administration of Design Build contracts. Because Georgia has its own legislative and procedural framework, it is critical that GDOT not only stay aware of national Design Build trends, but also bring to the related research efforts the unique perspective of Georgia’s interest.


In addition, Georgia legislators have recently approved a substantial increase in the level of using Design Build methodology in transportation projects; the cap for Design Build project delivery system has just risen to 30% from 15% (in dollars). However, the legislators observed a concern about this innovative project delivery system by setting 20/14 as the sunset date for this legislation. In spirit of making true assessment of the Design Build methodology, there is a need to develop a systematic progress measurement framework to demonstrate the efficiency and effectiveness of Design Build methodology for delivering transportation projects in Georgia. It is primitive to look ahead and plan to ample confidence among the public and legislators to continue utilizing Design Build methodology beyond the sunset date of 20/14. Next Generation of Transportation Design Build guide is aimed to increase the desire of legislators to extend or expand the cap on using Design Build project delivery system. This project is aimed to respond to specific research needs to achieve this goal.



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