The U.S. House has approved legislation introduced by Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, that would encourage the Department of Veterans Affairs to use design-build construction when appropriate.
Design-build construction integrates architectural, engineering and construction activities into a single contract rather than splitting the work among multiple contractors.
The Democratic-controlled House passed the VA Design-Build Construction Enhancement Act by unanimous consent Tuesday, advancing the legislation to the Senate for consideration.
During floor debate Tuesday, Banks said design-build construction has been used in the private and public sectors, including for the reconstruction of the Pentagon after terrorists crashed a hijacked jetliner into the building Sept. 11, 2001.
“VA has a multibillion-dollar backlog of construction projects but has never made much use of the design-build method, despite it being available for over 20 years,” Banks said, according to a transcript of his comments.
A 1996 law encouraged design-build contracts for the federal government.
“When used correctly, design-build can speed up construction and minimize costly change orders. That is exactly what we need in the VA, and I am committed to making sure that that happens,” said Banks, a member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee.
Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, said during debate that “both veterans and taxpayers are suffering from the cumbersome VA construction process. I am confident this piece of legislation will help deliver state-of-the-art facilities to our veterans in a more effective and expeditious manner.”
Banks' legislation was co-sponsored by Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado.