Defining sustainability requirements for design-build (DB) contractor selection in public sector projects

Bo Xia*, Martin Skitmore, Jian Zuo, Zhenyu Zhao, Madhav Nepal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


The design-build (DB) delivery system is an effective means of delivering a green construction project and selecting an appropriate contractor is critical to project success. Moreover, the delivery of green buildings requires specific design, construction and operation and maintenance considerations not generally encountered in the procurement of conventional buildings. Specifying clear sustainability requirements to potential contractors is particularly important in achieving sustainable project goals. However, many client/owners either do not explicitly specify sustainability requirements or do so in a prescriptive manner during the project procurement process. This paper investigates the current state-of-the-art procurement process used in specifying the sustainability requirements of the public sector in the USA construction market by means of a robust content analysis of 40 design-build requests for proposals (RFPs). The results of the content analysis indicate that the sustainability requirement is one of the most important dimensions in the best-value evaluation of DB contractors. Client/owners predominantly specify the LEED certification levels (e.g. LEED Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum) for a particular facility, and include the sustainability requirements as selection criteria (with specific importance weightings) for contractor evolution. Additionally, larger size projects tend to allocate higher importance weightings to sustainability requirements. This study provides public DB client/owners with a number of practical implications for selecting appropriate design-builders for sustainable DB projects.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th International Symposium on Advancement of Construction Management and Real Estate
EditorsDonglang Yang, Yanjun Qian
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-642-44916-1
ISBN (Print)9783642449154
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Defining sustainability requirements for design-build (DB) contractor selection in public sector projects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this