Efforts by the Army Corps of Engineers to streamline design costs on similar types of military facilities now being built and planned on bases around the U.S. have industry firms worried the agency is backing away from use of design-build and aims to manage more design work in-house. Critics claim the strategy could hike the government’s level of risk and expense. Practitioners are concerned about what they see as a shifting approach for about 44 types of structures such as barracks and child-development centers now being managed by Corps “centers of standardization” around the U.S. under the military’s construction-reform effort.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.