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City seeks design-build teams to make sidewalks ADA compliant

The city’s Department of Design and Construction (DDC) is seeking design-build teams to construct ADA-compliant sidewalk pedestrian ramps throughout New York.

The Request for Qualifications comes as the city moves to save millions and fast-track major construction work after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed new designed build rules into law. The rules will allow several city agencies to now issue a single contract for the design and construction of major infrastructure projects.

It is the first RFQ for an infrastructure project under the DDC’s developing design-build program.

“Our design-build program will reduce costs and project durations for both infrastructure and public buildings projects,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo.


“As our program expands to include infrastructure projects we have been implementing best practices so that our industry partners will consider us an owner of choice, and we expect a robust response to this RFQ as well as our future solicitations.”

“With its numerous locations and varied field conditions, we believe that pedestrian ramps are ideal projects to proceed under the flexibility that design-build provides. We strongly encourage qualified firms to respond, particularly minority- and women-owned business enterprises.”

The sidewalk upgrades come following a survey by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s office found that hundreds of sidewalk ramps across the borough are inaccessible for blind people or those in wheelchairs. The ADA requires any crosswalk to have a ramp at least three feet wide, be free of cracks and potholes and have grooves that make them detectable to people with poor vision.

The RFQ is the first part of a two-step procurement process. DDC will rank submissions that it receives for the project to identify up to three design-build teams that will be able to exclusively respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP) that will determine which team is awarded the project.

The RFQ can be viewed or downloaded here. Responses in the form of SOQs must be received by DDC by February 22.

The design-build method of project delivery offers several advantages over the traditional low-bid method that City government has been required to use in the past, including reducing project costs and durations and improving coordination between designers and builders. DDC and several other City agencies received permission from the State of New York in December 2019 to begin using design-build for a variety of projects. Since that time, DDC has been working to identify suitable projects to proceed under design-build and to develop a program and materials to proceed with the necessary procurements.

DDC intends to use in its design-build program qualified firms that have a demonstrated history of hiring, training, developing, promoting and retaining minority and women staff and to encourage participation by City- and State-certified M/WBE firms. Each design-build project will be subject to M/WBE participation goals for both design/consulting and construction activities.

Eligible firms are encouraged to get certified, and/or to get their eligible trade partners certified, well in advance of SOQ submission. For information about getting certified and assistance in contacting qualified M/WBE firms for partnering and subcontracting opportunities, please visit the website of the NYC Department of Small Business Services here.

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