Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Problems. Topic 45-03. Current Practices to Set a DBE Goal on Design-Build Projects

State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) are required to establish a triennial Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) participation goal for federal-aid highway contracts using funds disbursed by the Federal Highway Administration. These goals typically are met through goals on individual Design-Bid-Build (DBB) projects. The federal regulatory mandate is set forth in Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (Part 26). These regulations were written with a focus on DBB. Unlike DBB projects, states contract with a single entity on design-build projects to provide both design and construction. Design-build projects have become a common contracting method in recent years, as well as other alternative project delivery methods, such as Construction Manager/General Contractor (CMGC), Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR), and Public Private Partnerships (P3). Alternative project delivery methods pose a unique set of problems for DBE goal calculation and monitoring. Part 26 and court decisions require DOTs to narrowly tailor the project goal based on statistical data concerning DBE firms' relative availability in the relevant markets. Many state procurement laws require DOTs to contract with a prime consultant or contractor, and the DBE goal becomes part of that contract. A logical reading of Part 26 would suggest that DOTs calculate contract goals on both the design and construction portions to create the overall project goal. Because DOTs award a contract before design is complete on projects using alternative project delivery methods, it is difficult to determine the universe of opportunities that will be available to DBEs during the life of the project. Therefore, State DOTs have challenges concerning when and how to establish a reasonable DBE goal for all phases of a project. This study will review and synthesize problems that DOTs face when setting DBE contract goals and monitoring compliance on design-build projects and other alternative project delivery methods. The study will collect information through a review of literature, a screening survey to State DBE Liaisons, and a second survey that will gather in-depth information about state DOT practices. The purpose of the screening survey will be to identify the appropriate contact or key personnel responsible for DBE goal setting. The second, in-depth survey will: (1) Document design-build projects and identify practices used to establish the DBE goal for the project at the design and construction phases; (2) Identify practices, tools and methods used by DOTs to monitor achievement of the DBE goal, compliance, and to evaluate Good Faith Efforts during the life of the projects; (3) Provide information on creating, interpreting or enforcing Part 26 on alternative delivery projects; (4) Document P3 projects and how these projects comply with Part 26 and if there are similarities on issues of compliance as with other alternative delivery projects. The final synthesis report should: (1) Summarize state DOT practices in setting the DBE goal in alternative delivery projects; (2) Highlight program examples that reflect a diverse scale of projects, from small to mega-projects; (3) Include perspectives from DBEs, design consultants and contractors about subcontracting opportunities identified to meet DBE goals for alternative delivery projects. This information can be gathered through the literature review or interviews. and (4) Include examples of documents that pertain to DBE participation in alternative project delivery methods, including but not limited to Requests for Proposals (RFPs), Requests for Qualifications (RFQs), state DOT contract specifications, DOT policy documents on this subject, and DBE Participation Plans.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Zwahlen, Tanya

  • Performing Organizations:

    Keen Independent Research LLC

    Denver, CO  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Keen, David

  • Start Date: 20131023
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37752

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01543755
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 21 2014 1:03AM