Design-and-build procurement faces a two-pronged attack from the European Union and the revised Part L of the Building Regulations, which comes into force on Monday.
The Continental attack came from the European parliament, which called for public authorities to justify awarding contracts that include both design and build elements.

This proposed change to the public procurement directive stipulates that public authorities should "make provision for the execution and design of works to be awarded either separately or jointly". However, the directive adds that joint awards must be justified according to qualitative and economic criteria.

Use of design and build would have to be justified for every single construction project, because every project is unique, the directive adds.

European specialists body the Contractors Committee for the Construction Industry opposes the directive, on the grounds that it is "a one-sided limitation of contractual freedom".

[The EU rules are] a one-sided limitation of contractual freedom

Contractors Committee for the Construction Industry spokesperson

The revised energy regulations, Part L, could make design and build uneconomic when they come into effect on 1 April. They will require more detailed designs to be done at an earlier stage than is now the case.

Sarah McGowan, an M&E engineer at consultant Arup, said the problem was most likely to occur during the transition to Part L. She said: "If a D&B contract was passed on and Part L had not been considered, that will affect the contract."

Taylor Woodrow director Lawrence Parnell said: "Clients would be well advised to take the design to a more advanced stage, because otherwise the contractor would have to put in a price to cover the risk of having to make the building compliant with Part L."