Integrated project delivery is designed for collaboration from the commencement of a project. The uniting of owner, architect, and contractor on a level playing field is conducive to quality delivery. This triad branches out even further when subcontractors and consultants are brought into the equation. The fundamentals of this process ensure maximum efficiency and successful project delivery from all parties involved. More details and a case study of Caltrans District 7 HQ after the break.
The legal relationship within the IPD structure is a shared risk/reward model – all parties are equally vested. In the traditional practice, parties are quite often at opposite ends of the spectrum, which results in targeting blame when issues arise. In order to streamline project delivery and ensure quality and efficiency, having everyone share in the responsibility is crucial. While liabilities and independent insurance tangents are still present in a technical sense, the antagonistic aspect is eliminated when everybody is vested in the success of the project. Significant cost savings can be achieved through reduced involvement with lawyers and arbitrating processes as this is all achieved through the collaborative problem solving process. Quite often all parties come together to form a single legal entity for the duration of the project.
Management through committee within the IPD process is quite often approached through diplomatic avenues. The flow of decision making is not necessarily hierarchical, rather collaborative management that takes into account multiple parties expertise in order to achieve optimal solutions. In terms of efficiency of flow of decision making, all major players are typically housed within the same building/office for the duration of the project. This minimizes the decision making timeline, as everyone is readily accessible and management can take place under one roof. When problems arise, a democratic structured workflow enables optimization, quick turnaround, and rapid implementation into a fluid yet precise schedule.
The incentive pool is typically composed of the profits of the IPD contingency or percentage of profits for the IPD entity. This method increases the value of performance and quality across the spectrum of all those individuals vested in the project. When cost saving measures are achieved, the excess amount that would have gone to expenses can be reintroduced to the project in another area or split amongst the individuals of the IPD team. Reintroduction of saved funds back into the project inevitably allows for increased efficiency and minimal fiscal waste. Areas that may have run over budget can receive funds from areas where construction came in under budget. Whether the funds are split amongst the IPD team or invested back into the project, the incentive pool is conducive to project success.
Shared Risk/Reward Working Environment
In order for all parties to collaborate on an even playing field, it is crucial for shared risk and reward implementation. When all parties are equally vested, it is in the best interest of everyone to problem solve efficiently because the success of the project depends on this philosophy. The traditional methods of passing along blame and responsibility are virtually eliminated from the equation and replaced with working environments that encourage mentalities that seek for project prosperity.
Collaborative Design Assistance
The implementation of collaborative design assistance from the primary stages of development is a key component in the IPD process. Involving consultants and specialty trades allows for input that can achieve cost savings. The feedback and collaboration can detect clashes and deficiencies before construction starts, thus eliminating costly design mistakes. This process can result in significantly lower RFIs and COs based on the premise that the majority of these issues would be distilled prior to the construction phase and optimized for efficiency.
BIM software is leading the way for collaboration and the uniting of all aspects of project delivery – architectural, engineering, mechanical, construction, costing, scheduling, and life cycle management. The ability to unify all aspects of the design and construction into a shared model is beneficial from numerous standpoints. The disconnect and constant revision of drawings is significantly minimized by tightly integrating all these aspects into live updateable models that can feed data to all team members and all the professions involved in the project. Collaboration software allows for the complete construction of projects in the digital realm and the ability for pre construction problem solving.
Traditional construction is typically wasteful and inefficient when compared to the methods employed in integrated project delivery. With shared responsibility and the ability for collaboration in the physical and digital arenas, it is inevitable that efficiency is prioritized. BIM implementation can tightly control the various aspects of construction, from trade interoperability, costing, scheduling, to life cycle sustainability. The ability for front end planning and problem solving is crucial in eliminating construction excesses. Results from incorporating this practice methodology and philosophy into the project delivery ensure long-term success for all parties involved.
Integrated project delivery is at its very core collaborative from all aspects. This includes leadership amongst all parties. The traditional hierarchical philosophies of managing and delivering projects no longer applies. Leadership roles are fluid in nature. Individuals with expertise in specific areas are encouraged to take on leadership roles within their realm and integrate their knowledge into the project with the goal of optimizing the delivery from early stages. Implementing dynamic leadership within the process allows expertise to be gleaned from individuals who might not have had input in the traditional delivery practice. The result is a project that benefits from a breadth of expertise and significant optimization over the traditional project.
Caltrans District 7 HQ Project Delivery Case Study
We recently had the opportunity to speak with architect Pavel Getov who was the project architect with Morphosis – a Santa Monica based firm founded by the Pritzker prize winning architect Thom Mayne – about the integrated project delivery process of Caltrans District 7 Headquarters. This project represented one of the first forays into the integrated project delivery methodology. Located in the heart of downtown LA, the state had allotted a fixed fund for construction and a tight schedule. The traditional methods of construction administration and project delivery needed to change in order to deliver the project on time and on budget, and be of the utmost quality.
Starting with the legal relationship, the architects, general contractor and state all signed on together in the early stages. Legally, the contract was still a design build. However, as Pavel explains, the process differed significantly from the traditional methods and functioned as a predecessor for advanced project delivery methodologies of later projects. Even though each entity had various levels of legal responsibility, together as a team the goal was to work in unison to achieve the goals set out at the very beginning. Major subtrades including concrete, steel, and mechanical were also brought into the equation at the start in order to provide guidance and expertise while the project was still in its infancy stages of design.
With a tight budget of $165 million for construction costs, and a $10 million contingency fund, any money saved during the collaborative design process would be reinvested into the project. One area that benefited from this reinvestment of funds was the outdoor plaza, benches, and lighting system. As with any project, flow of information is critical to success. With the Caltrans, descriptions of basic intent would be passed to the state, whom would make comments and send back to the on site team where it would be refined and shared with all parties involved.
In terms of the construction administration, a logical sequence was adhered to in order to maintain systems synchronization and ensure all parties were up to date with the latest information. Coordination between all parties was integral to the success of a project of this scale. Monthly, weekly, and daily meetings between the various parties and recommendations from individuals with expertise in certain areas ensured up front problem solving, limiting costly change orders down the line. It is of particular importance that during the time of design and construction the commodities market was rising at an exponential rate. In order to shield the project from unwanted price spikes of raw materials, the structural steel design was one of the first elements to be finalized and ordered. By preemptively purchasing the steel, the project was shielded from high prices that would have resulted in the scaling back of the project. Some of the other significant areas that were distilled prior to the designs leaving paper were the cement board façade system and the installation method for the exterior perforated metal scrim system. The original designs called for a particular size of cement board panel that would have resulted in lost product off-cut waste. By bringing in the manufacturer in the preliminary stages, the size of the cement panels were redesigned to suit the manufacturer’s stock size, with no detriment to the aesthetic intent of the design. The metal scrim installation achieved cost savings by utilizing a window washing system in place of using traditional scaffolding that would have necessitated additional liability insurance and involved extensive labor for erection and removal. It should be noted that Morphosis Architects were able to design a cement board and perforated metal façade system for equal cost to an EIFS façade by involving the subtrades early on who subsequently were able to provide insight into alternative methods that allowed for money saved to be reinvested into other areas.
In regards to the collaborative software, Microstation was used for the majority of construction documentation where 3D was distilled down to 2D documentation. Pavel notes that at the time of construction, the building industry was still in transition as BIM was in its preliminary stages. He emphasizes that the industry in its current state is equipped to handle full 3D documentation, which is inherently efficient as it includes 4D data such as cost, timeline, and building life cycle information.
In terms of overall construction, the Caltrans building is a great example of the collaborative process that is inherent within integrated project delivery. The result was a project that was delivered on time, on budget, of superior construction, and of a quality material palette.