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Military construction projects: comparison of project delivery methods

Darren McWhirt (US Army Health Facility Planning Agency, Ames, Iowa, USA)
Junyong Ahn (Town Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA)
Jennifer S. Shane (Town Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA)
Kelly C. Strong (Town Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA)

Journal of Facilities Management

ISSN: 1472-5967

Article publication date: 12 July 2011




Design‐build project delivery will likely yield benefits when it is a rational choice by a program director or owner's construction manager. It is not well understood whether those benefits translate to construction programs where design‐build is mandated for the vast majority of project types. Such a determination for military construction (MILCON) is the purpose of this paper.


The methodology for the research involved a comparison of mean performance metrics for design‐build and design‐bid‐build MILCON projects. Once an appropriate sample of projects was identified, project data were corrected for project location, size and time‐value‐of‐money.


Military design‐build projects did experience a lower total cost of change orders as well as a reduced change order cost associated with field changes. Also, statistical analysis demonstrated no significant difference in project performance metrics based on facility type. These results indicate that design‐build project delivery method can work equally well on all types of MILCON projects and is an effective system for cost and scope control, but that some of the expected schedule performance gains underlying the decision to use design‐build will be difficult to achieve on all MILCON projects.


The paper presents advantages and disadvantages of utilising design‐build to MILCON projects by facility types.



McWhirt, D., Ahn, J., Shane, J.S. and Strong, K.C. (2011), "Military construction projects: comparison of project delivery methods", Journal of Facilities Management, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 157-169.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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