There are numerous levels of collaboration during a construction project. In selecting the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) method for a project, the owner challenges the designer and contractor to seamlessly work together throughout the entire project.
IPD provides an opportunity for total collaboration among team members to deliver projects that are designed, built and operated as efficiently as possible. This involves embracing a number of IPD principles in the project approach from day one. These principles include:
- Shared commitment to collaboration. Collaboration is a must and it’s vital that the team welcome a team-based approach to delivering the project. Firms with strong working relationships that have successfully partnered in the past on projects adapt to IPD with ease.
- Open communication. The team must engage in, and encourage, open and honest communication throughout the project.
- Bound together as equals. With a contractually-defined relationship as equals, “best for the project” behaviors and decisions are encouraged and “what’s best for me” thinking is eliminated. Information and expertise is openly shared. Risk is also collectively managed and appropriately shared. In the same vein, team success is tied to project success; it’s value-based.
- Mutual respect and trust. Nurturing a positive environment of mutual respect and trust is critical to team integration.
- Fiscal transparency. The team must maintain an open-book philosophy throughout the project in order to increase trust and keep costs visible and controllable.
- Early involvement of key team members. The contractor should offer the most complete and comprehensive pre-construction services available. These services allow the team to seamlessly incorporate construction knowledge with the design team’s expertise and services to ensure the project’s design, budget and schedule meet the owner’s goals from the beginning and are successfully executed.
- Intensified design and pre-construction. The cost of changes to projects increases relative to time. By increasing design and planning efforts before construction starts, the team can provide greater cost control by minimizing change orders during construction.
- Apply lean construction principles. By focusing on the value stream (i.e., the flow of information and material that make up a process) from day one, the team can eliminate waste and inefficiencies from the project.
- Collaborative decision-making. The team works together with the owner on important decisions to leverage their vast knowledge base and encourage joint accountability.
- Incorporate technology. Digitally-based and virtual communication (building information modeling) further facilitates team collaboration and information sharing to streamline the design and construction process.
The integrated process starts with a true understanding of the owner’s goals, vision and dreams for the project. For any project to reach its full potential, these unique drivers must become the focus of every project team member. Ultimately, the ability to engage the entire project team in realizing those goals, in a way that truly builds the owner’s unique vision into every phase of the project, is what sets an IPD team apart.
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