The Design-Build Institute of America has expanded the reach of its certification program. The program is intended to establish an accepted and recognized standard of design-build knowledge and experience. DBIA has certified hands-on professionals since 2002. Through coursework and testing, these individuals demonstrate an understanding of best practices in every phase of design-build project delivery, from proposal preparation to substantial completion.

Previously, only practitioners with design or construction degrees and significant design-build experience qualified for permanent designation status.

Recognizing the importance of full team integration early in the process, the Design-Build Certification Board (DBCB) decided the existing program failed to properly recognize the team members and owners' representatives who are key early on in the design-build process. Examples include acquisition specialists, as well as legal, marketing and business development professionals who are critical to the owner and the pre-award design-build team. Individuals more involved in the post-award process will continue to be recognized under the existing Professional DBIA credential.

Both private firms and public agencies train personnel from a variety of disciplines and departments in the best practices developed by DBIA. Now these professionals may seek the Assoc. DBIA certification as evidence of their familiarity with the entire design-build process in addition to the best practices pertaining to their areas of expertise. Recognized as design-build experts within their spheres, these professionals may renew their Assoc. DBIA indefinitely by earning continuing education credits.

"Design-build requires collaboration and teamwork from project inception to completion," says DBIA Executive Director Lisa Washington. "DBIA's certification program should reflect and acknowledge the important role legal, marketing, acquisition and other pre-award professionals play in the process and we are please to adopt the certification board's recommendation."

"Single-source contracting remains the basis for design-build and is an essential difference between this method and other forms of integrated delivery,” notes DBCB Chair Marty Hedlund, P.E., CPC, LEED AP, DBIA. "True design-build only occurs when everyone understands the process, the expectations, and is prepared to fully engage in the collaborative process. The Assoc. DBIA credential will expand the Institute’s educational outreach and ensure even more qualified design-build professionals among our ranks."

Four courses covering all aspects of the delivery method form the core of DBIA's certification program. Testing ensures that candidates have a thorough understanding of the fundamentals, principles, contracts, risk management, and post-award process associated with the delivery method. All DBIA credential holders must maintain familiarity with current knowledge through continuing education and must accrue 24 hours of approved continuing education credit every two years to be eligible for renewal.

Emerging A/E/C professionals may choose to hold the Associate DBIA credential while they acquire the two to six years of hands-on design-build project experience necessary to fulfill the requirements for the Professional DBIA credential. Similarly, seasoned practitioners new to design-build project delivery and interested in gaining an understanding of best practices may hold Assoc. DBIA certification. These architects, engineers, and general and specialty contractors may eventually gain the project experience necessary to obtain the Design-Build Professional certification.