What is IPD?
Integrated project delivery (IPD) is a collaborative building delivery method.
IPD integrates diverse stakeholders—owners, engineers, architects, construction companies, contractors, and government agencies—to form a collaborative team under one contract. IPD also incorporates a variety of systems, practices, and business and financial structures. It is a joint venture approach, with shared risks and rewards.
Successful IPD has been achieved through many different approaches, including design-assist, design-build, and public-private partnership.
The goal of IPD is faster delivery of a high-quality, cost-effective project.
A project not utilizing IPD can be a fragmented process. In traditional project delivery, various project contributors typically don’t work together efficiently.
Often, teams are assembled on a “just-as-needed” basis. The process is linear and segregated, and information, including costs, is not shared.
Risk is individually managed, while compensation—or reward—is individually pursued.
The result is an overrun budget and schedule, yielding project outcomes below expectations.
Benefits of IPD
Conversely, a project utilizing IPD allows project team members to work together as a single, virtual company. In an IPD approach, key project stakeholders are assembled early in the process.
As a result, IPD leverages the experience, talent, and input of team members from the start.
Information is openly shared, and decision-making is faster in regards to scheduling, budgeting, and materials. With the right IT infrastructure, IPD can help manage costs, safety, and field conflicts, resulting in reduced waste and increased productivity during a project life cycle.
Coordinated IPD phases, such as conceptualization and design, result in a more efficient—and potentially shorter—construction phase than traditional delivery. The project risk is shared. Compensation is based on collaboration and tied to the project’s overall success. Individual actors have the potential to profit more than under a traditional model.
The AEC industry is faced with global market challenges, such as efficiency, productivity, and high costs. IPD can solve industry challenges and achieve successful outcomes by enabling collaboration among project experts through all phases of design, fabrication, and construction.
Case Study: UCSF at Mission Bay
A recent example of a public works IPD success story is the $1.5-billion University of California, San Francisco Medical Center (UCSF) at Mission Bay in San Francisco, CA.
The collaborative project team comprised the owner, designers, the contractor, and 17 subcontractors. The design-build challenge called for integrating three separate hospitals along one common spine within an 878,000-square-foot structure.
Additional challenges included changing legislation, workflow practices, and technology over an 8-year life cycle.
Furthermore, 18 months after construction began, UCSF added cancer-treatment services to its design, requiring an additional 175,000 square feet. The team segregated out this revised area as a new project to control overall scheduling and budgeting.
Despite the revised design, the UCSF Medical Center was completed in June 2014, one week ahead of schedule, and had a $200-million reduction in budget from the initial estimate.
Overcoming the Challenges of Adopting IPD
The complexity and size of a project, as well as differences in business models, will influence how willing stakeholders are in participating in the IPD process. The idea of sharing information, balancing financial risk, and being project-focused presents an enormous challenge for companies whose previous experience is based solely in a traditional delivery method.
To be successful, AEC companies will need to overcome a fear of change and be open to collaboration, transparency, and trust. Adopting IPD also has the perception of liability. A contractual agreement assigning risk to each party, however, will adjust participant liability.
Keys to IPD success include:
- selecting the right project delivery strategy based on project size, complexity, and schedule
- selecting the right team
- choosing the right contract
- establishing an effective compensation structure
- and implementing an operating model aligned with processes and resources.
Adhering to the core principles of IPD—mutual trust, shared risk and reward, and open communication—are crucial in achieving team integration and overall project success.
Finally, a common collaboration platform, integrated project management tools, and a 3D BIM system to enable the open exchange of data are essential to the successful implementation of an IPD approach. Cloud-based programs are particularly useful for tying together project contributors from all corners of the globe.
IPD Offers a Better Collaboration Framework
Collaboration among the owner, contractors, and design professionals is based on shared information and risk/reward. In the IPD method, the entire team is communicating and is on the same page throughout the project, enabled by collaborative technologies.
The outcomes are improved efficiency and productivity, higher-quality and cost-effective design and construction, faster delivery, reduced liability, and shared profits.