The Value of Inviting Manufacturers into Your Integrated Project Delivery Process

The tra­di­tion­al approach to build­ing design and con­struc­tion has been to allow each stake­hold­er to work on their spe­cif­ic stage of respon­si­bil­i­ty in a most­ly lin­ear process mov­ing suc­ces­sive­ly from one con­trib­u­tor to the next. The own­er sets project require­ments and bud­get, the archi­tect designs, the engi­neer engi­neers, and the con­trac­tor builds. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this method has proven to be inef­fi­cient and error-prone where desired out­comes often don’t line up with the stake­hold­ers’ orig­i­nal goals. These errors are painful, lead­ing to cost over­runs, sched­ule delays, moun­tains of RFI’s and change orders, and the ever-increas­ing val­ue engi­neer­ing (VE) of projects after designs have been com­plet­ed and sent out for bid.

In recent years Inte­grat­ed Project Deliv­ery (IPD) has risen in pop­u­lar­i­ty as a means to bet­ter achieve a build­ing project’s goals and out­comes. IPD has been defined by the Amer­i­can Insti­tute of Archi­tects (AIA) as a project deliv­ery approach that inte­grates peo­ple, sys­tems, busi­ness struc­tures and prac­tices into a process that col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly har­ness­es the tal­ents and insights of all par­tic­i­pants to opti­mize project results, increase val­ue to the own­er, reduce waste, and max­i­mize effi­cien­cy through all phas­es of design, fab­ri­ca­tion, and construction.”1

At it’s root, IPD aims to bring all stake­hold­ers to the table before any design com­mences. This puts respon­si­bil­i­ty on all of the stake­hold­ers to be ful­ly involved from the begin­ning of a project, work­ing togeth­er rather than inde­pen­dent­ly. With IPD, stake­hold­ers are no longer engaged in poten­tial­ly antag­o­nis­tic posi­tions, but are instead part of a team of col­lab­o­ra­tors with a set of shared respon­si­bil­i­ties and goals.

Benefits of IPD

There are numer­ous ben­e­fits to using the IPD method­ol­o­gy includ­ing reduced project costs, accel­er­at­ed sched­ules, improved qual­i­ty, shared risk and reward, and team build­ing that can be car­ried on to future projects. For own­ers, ear­ly and open shar­ing of project knowl­edge stream­lines project com­mu­ni­ca­tions and allows own­ers to effec­tive­ly bal­ance project options to meet their busi­ness enter­prise goals. Inte­grat­ed deliv­ery strength­ens the project team’s under­stand­ing of the owner’s desired out­comes, thus improv­ing the team’s abil­i­ty to con­trol costs and man­age the bud­get, all of which increase the like­li­hood that project goals, includ­ing sched­ule, life cycle costs, qual­i­ty and sus­tain­abil­i­ty, will be achieved.

For con­trac­tors, the inte­grat­ed deliv­ery process allows con­trac­tors to con­tribute their exper­tise in con­struc­tion tech­niques ear­ly in the design process result­ing in improved project qual­i­ty and finan­cial per­for­mance dur­ing the con­struc­tion phase. The contractor’s par­tic­i­pa­tion dur­ing the design phase pro­vides the oppor­tu­ni­ty for strong pre-con­struc­tion plan­ning, more time­ly and informed under­stand­ing of the design, antic­i­pat­ing and resolv­ing design-relat­ed issues, visu­al­iz­ing con­struc­tion sequenc­ing pri­or to con­struc­tion start, and improv­ing cost con­trol and bud­get man­age­ment. All of this increas­es the like­li­hood that project goals, includ­ing sched­ule, life cycle costs, qual­i­ty and sus­tain­abil­i­ty, will be achieved.

For archi­tects, the inte­grat­ed deliv­ery process allows them to ben­e­fit from the ear­ly con­tri­bu­tion of con­trac­tors’ exper­tise dur­ing the design phase, such as accu­rate bud­get esti­mates to inform design deci­sions and the pre-con­struc­tion res­o­lu­tion of design-relat­ed issues result­ing in improved project qual­i­ty and finan­cial per­for­mance. The IPD process increas­es the lev­el of effort dur­ing ear­ly design phas­es, result­ing in reduced doc­u­men­ta­tion time, and improved cost con­trol and bud­get man­age­ment, all of which increase the like­li­hood that project goals, includ­ing sched­ule, life cycle costs, qual­i­ty and sus­tain­abil­i­ty, will be achieved.

Who Is Missing From the Table?

Many projects are clear­ly ben­e­fit­ting from the use of IPD method­ol­o­gy, but too often key col­lab­o­ra­tors are miss­ing from the table. One of the most impor­tant and valu­able col­lab­o­ra­tors that is often left out of the IPD process or brought in far too late are build­ing mate­ri­als man­u­fac­tur­ers. While prod­uct man­u­fac­tur­ers don’t have any real say in how a build­ing will be designed and con­struct­ed, they may have the great­est lev­el of exper­tise and knowl­edge in how the build­ing should be designed and con­struct­ed.

This is espe­cial­ly true for man­u­fac­tur­ers of new­er and more inno­v­a­tive prod­ucts and build­ing sys­tems. New build­ing mate­ri­als are con­stant­ly being brought to mar­ket to solve prob­lems or to advance the qual­i­ty, safe­ty, cost and per­for­mance of our built infra­struc­ture. Suc­cess­ful­ly inte­grat­ing new prod­ucts into build­ing design requires care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion and plan­ning. For this rea­son, the IPD team should engage man­u­fac­tur­ers very ear­ly in design in order to reduce unnec­es­sary com­pli­ca­tions lat­er in the process and to opti­mize the ben­e­fit of using these new prod­ucts.

Bau­tex™ Sys­tems col­lab­o­rates with own­ers, archi­tects, engi­neers and con­trac­tors dur­ing the ear­ly stages of project design in order to more effec­tive­ly build bet­ter build­ings. Our team of tech­ni­cal and con­struc­tion vet­er­ans con­sis­tent­ly pro­vide val­ue to project teams in areas relat­ed to build­ing struc­ture and enve­lope. Request a con­sul­ta­tion from Bau­tex today for your next project.