Less than 10 years ago, the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), Washington, D.C., developed the Designated Design-Build Professional program in response to owner-driven requests for a recognized standard of knowledge and experience with the delivery method. The certification program has grown exponentially over the past five years, mirroring the expansion of design-build project delivery in the A/E/C industry. In 2006, the number of Design-Build Professionals numbered just 200. Today, over 1,000 design and construction practitioners have earned the right to use "DBIA” after their names — a certification project owners are increasingly pointing to in requests for qualifications (RFQs).

The Design-Build Certification Board (DBCB) is committed to meeting the demand for certified professionals, and enhancing the integrity of the process by eliminating paper and pencil testing. The administration of the DBIA exam at local testing centers will provide immediate pass/fail results and allow credential seekers to take the test at hundreds of centers across the country. Prometric, a recognized global leader in technology-enabled testing and assessment, is the service provider.

The DBCB certifies hands-on design and construction practitioners as well as legal, marketing, and procurement professionals working in the design-build arena. 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. DBIA certification is aimed at all members of the project team — from owner’s representatives and legal professionals to designers and general and specialty contractors.

“The days of speculation about the level of experience and knowledge project teams bring to the table are over,” says Lisa Washington, DBIA executive director. “To ensure success, owners look for both experience and relevant knowledge of best practices. DBIA certification indicates a commitment to design-build done right. Owners are among the fastest growing segment of credential holders-and they expect no less from their design-build team.”

Candidates completing certification under the 2005-2010 requirements have until April 30 to pass the exam at a testing center. Prior to making an appointment, candidates should confirm with DBIA staff that they have met all requirements and are eligible to take the exam. The 2011 exam will be available at testing centers beginning in June 2011.

The launch of DBIA’s online education platform is also slated for 2011. Courses on acquisition strategies for owners and test preparation for certification seekers will further facilitate the expansion of the institute’s education and certification programs. “These developments directly reflect DBIA’s strategic direction,” Washington adds. “Implementing robust technology to promote design-build and deliver our products and services more efficiently is essential to maintaining our position as the preeminent resource for expertise in integrated delivery of capital projects.”