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Financial Crisis Leads to Predictable Focus on DBOM

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Public entities are turning to Design Build Operate Maintain (DBOM) Alternate I as the competitive engine for reducing costs AND raising levels of service.  The DBOM Alt. 1 strategy is one of the Six Key Delivery Methods (see home page) in the MIT Framework and has been in use across the world for over two centuries.  Search the Barchan Foundation database for "DBOM" to view recent posted projects in Quadrant I.

Currently, public funds for infrastructure projects are short, “stimulus” dollars are primarily directed at interim funding to preserve essential staff , and the value of deferred maintenance across entire collections of public infrastructure assets is rising dramatically. 

In this environment, can governments reduce operating costs AND raise levels of service (LOS) to taxpaying customers?  

The Six Key Delivery Methods in the MIT Framework.

These Six Key Delivery Methods are summarized in the Figure below.


Public officials are growing increasingly comfortable with DBOM in Quadrant I.   Examples include long term capital repair and O&M of water treatment plants and wastewater treatment plants in the UK, the US, and Canada; long term design construction and operation of schools, bridges, and highway projects in Canada; long term provision of parking facilities, equipment, and services in the US and Canada.  Where budgets are tight, the provision of quality services is required, and current cost profiles are known - governments can be increasingly assured that competitive procurements can both lock in Level of Service (LOS) improvements AND substantial long term cost savings.

The Delivery Methods Behave Differently

As shown in the Figure below, the Six Key Delivery Methods behave quite differently, providing public infrastructure officials with valuable opportunities to manage entire portfolios of infrastructure services and facilities by matching delivery methods with short, medium, and long term needs of the entire collection.


DBOM as “Efficient Technology” Engine

When applied using head-to-head competition, the Delivery Methods in Quadrant I are “efficiency” engines.  This is accomplished through a procurement solicitation with required improvements in Level of Service which then prices the improved LOS through head-to-head competition to establish lowest life cycle cost to users.  Properly structured, these DBOM procurements allow competitors to combine incrementally better technical solutions, innovations in systems and controls, and volume purchasing to lower O&M costs, lower energy costs, while covering deferred maintenance and repairs.  Case studies in MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering confirm typical life-cycle savings of between 20-40% over operating periods of 20 to 35 years.  Principles of Public and Private Infrastructure Delivery, Springer 2000, John B. Miller; Case Studies in Infrastructure Delivery, Springer 2002, John B. Miller.

When Is Publicly Funded DBOM Particularly Useful.

  • Where current operating, maintenance, and deferred maintenance and repair costs are known. 
  • Where public funding to purchase and install substitute equipment, technology, or practices is not available. 
  • Where specific levels of service can be specified in writing.


1. To view more information about the project delivery and procurement strategy followed on DBOM and other projects, go to, click on the Projects tab, set the Search parameters as you wish, and select Search.

2. To learn more about The Barchan Foundation, Inc. or to post interesting public infrastructure projects to the Barchan Foundation data base, please register at

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