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Design and Construction Delivery Process

Architecture and Construction Delivery Process


The U.S. General Services Administration, through its Public Buildings Service (PBS), manages projects for the housing of almost a million Federal employees. Projects involve renovations, restorations, and modernizations, as well as the construction of new buildings. PBS delivers its construction program through eleven regions, managing projects within its geographic boundaries.  GSA headquarters in Washington, DC, establishes programming, design, and construction standards and guidelines for the regions, and provides technical backup when needed.

Both headquarters and regional staffs support other GSA offices in assessing federal facility needs and guiding project development and execution. These preliminary steps, such as site selection, prospectus development, and obtaining Congressional authorization and funding can span several years. Project delivery by the regional offices begins with site acquisition and initiating architect-engineer (A-E) design and construction management (CM) services, which are procured in the eleven regional offices. The regional offices manage all design, construction, and build out. This project management ends only after all needs of the new tenants have been met and the facility is occupied and functioning.

This delivery Process is part of GSA's Design Excellence & Construction Excellence Programs, designed to provide taxpayers with outstanding and cost-effective federal buildings.

Contracting opportunities to participate in the design and construction process for these major federal projects are available to all companies based in the United States and its territories.  

The Process

Shown here is a step-by-step explanation of the Design and Construction Delivery Process for major projects.  Project development and execution steps follow this overview.

Community Planning

Updated annually by the Office of Portfolio Management in support of a rolling 5-year planning effort, Community Plans are established by each regional office to identify a preferred course to meet future federal space needs in all major metropolitan areas. Building Engineering Reports are developed for existing buildings to establish future space building repair needs.

Prospectus Development Study (PDS)

Planned future projects are selected from the Community Plans for further development. The PDS incorporates data and findings from the Community Plan, the Building Engineering Report (if a modernization project), and other preliminary planning studies. After thorough examination of requirements and options, GSA makes informed decisions about approval and funding requests to Congress for proposed projects. The results are better prospectuses with more accurate and realistic scope requirements, implementation strategies, and cost estimates.

Project Authorization

Proposed projects cannot proceed into execution until:

GSA's Headquarters compares cost estimates to benchmarks and makes an investment decision; the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reviews each prospectus as part of GSA's budget request; and Congress authorizes projects and appropriates project funds as part of the federal budget cycle.

Project Management

GSA offices offer centralized responsibility and accountability and start-to-finish management of each project. Project managers drive the delivery process, helping to achieve faster decision making and day-to-day leadership of the project team. The project team is composed of the architect-engineer, the construction manager, GSA client/tenant groups, Property Development professionals, and other program offices. 

Project Development

  1. Community Plan and Building Evaluation Define client/tenant space requirements
    Obtain Building Engineering Report (BER) if required and determine whether new construction or modernization projects are required.  Conduct preliminary life cycle/ space delivery analysis

2. Site Selection Conduct preliminary site evaluation

    Perform preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment(s)

    Select preferred site

3. Prospectus Development Study (PDS) Define project scope/implementation plan/budget

    Develop preliminary concept design

Prepare Project Management Plan

4. Approval and Funding Regions submit project PDS to GSA Headquarters for    budget         

Benchmark cost assessment

Effect project selection

prepare prospectus for Congressional submittal

Obtain GSA and OMB approvals

Obtain Congressional approval of the prospectus and appropriation of funds


Project Execution

5. Pre-Design Activity Finalize Environmental Impact Assessment

Acquire Site

Update Project Management Plan

Regional Offices advertise in Commerce Business Daily (CBD) for A/E, CM & other professional services if required

Make selection of professional A/E services consultants using Design Excellence (if appropriate), negotiate fees

Begin design work

6. Design, Review, and Approval
 Perform value engineering

Conduct GSA owner's review with client/tenants

Conduct code/standards/constructibility review

Finalize and present design concept for new buildings to GSA Headquarters for approval

Prepare final construction documents

Verify that project estimate is within budget

7. Pre-Construction Activity

Complete swing space relocations of existing tenants (if required)

Obtain Congressional construction authorization and appropriations (if not previously obtained)

Prepare site (demolition/clearing) (if required)

Advertise for construction in the CBD

Award construction contract(s)

8. Construction

Construct building and site improvements

Arrange for utilities and other primary services

Control cost growth

Provide integrated occupancy services (telecommunications, furniture, moves)

Prepare for occupancy

Arrange for building turnover to property manager



Office of Design and Construction
(202) 501-1888

Design and Construction Delivery Process