“The design-build method is streamlined and collaborative. In this delivery, the Owner manages one contract with a single point of responsibility, with the Architect and CM on the same team providing both design and construction services.”

Designed to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of public projects, the Illinois Design-Build legislation allows municipalities and school districts to enter into contracts to significantly expand how public entities can procure and structure construction projects. 

The Municipal Design-Build Authorization Act took effect on January 1, 2024. The legislation defines “design-build” as “a delivery system that provides responsibility within a single contract for the furnishing of architecture, engineering, land surveying and related services, as required, and the labor, materials, equipment and other construction services for the project,” listed in 65 ILCS 5/11-39.2-10 and 105 ILCS 5/15A-10. Link to legislation. 

For 100+ years, S. M. Wilson & Co. has exceeded our clients’ and partners’ expectations through various services, including pre-construction, construction management, general construction and design/build. While well-versed in these delivery methods, our company is ready to work with each client to determine the best method for their project regarding funding and time management. The Design-Build method has many benefits, including a fast-tracked schedule, cost certainty and transparency, increased collaboration and flexibility and improved project quality. 

Click here S. M. Wilson’s presentation to understand the Design-Build process better as laid out in this new legislation and its benefits for your school district or municipality. 


With design-build, a project owner enters into a single agreement with the design-build entity that covers a contract’s design and construction phases through this delivery method. The efficiency of a single contract allows for construction cost savings and more efficient communications. This also reduces the number of parties involved in the design, planning and building process. 

“The Design-Build process allows for a more efficient, more collaborative project. From the beginning, all parties move together throughout the project, working as one regarding budget, schedule, design and construction. This allows for a more efficient and seamless project,” Chief Operations Officer Mark Cochran said. 

Under the Design-Build Act, public entities must follow a strict two-phase selection process once proposals are received. In Phase 1, the municipality or school district must evaluate and shortlist the proposers based on their qualifications. In Phase II, the municipality or school district must determine the technical and cost proposals. The phases can be combined into one if the overall total cost of the project is estimated to be less than $12M. 

Providing clear criteria and requirements for municipalities and school districts establishes the scope and performance criteria for design-build contracts and procedures for awarding contracts. The total project cost may be weighted at thirty percent (30%) of the weighted criteria. 

Once the highest-ranked proposal is determined, the public entity may award the contract. The selected proposer must submit a detailed report every six months showing the project’s compliance and utilization goals. 

While the new legislation provides municipalities and school districts new abilities and approaches to public construction projects, public entities are encouraged to consult legal counsel to ensure compliance with procurement requirements and mitigate all risk potentials.

Legislation explanation excerpts from September 2023 article, “Municipal Design-Build Authorization Act Effective January 1, 2024,” by Robbins Schwartz Firm.

Below is a Summary Chart of IL Public Act 103-0491:

For more information about this new Design-Build legislation in Illinois and how S. M. Wilson & Co. will work with your organization to determine what delivery method best suits your next project, contact Mark Cochran at mark.cochran@smwilson.com or Kerry Lorts at kerry.lorts@smwilson.com.


As a trusted partner, the company has built its reputation for 100+ years as a design/build, construction management and general contracting firm. Always putting people first, our company is committed to adding significant value and building client partnerships. S. M. Wilson enriches lives by creating spaces to live, work, heal, learn and play. Our expertise is in many specialty markets, primarily education, commercial, municipal, healthcare, industrial and retail. S. M. Wilson continues transforming landscapes and communities throughout the country, especially in the Midwest. For more information, go to smwilson.com.