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.