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.