Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), although one of the bigger news-making concepts in the construction industry of late, remains more talked-about than accomplished. Estimates suggest less than 40 such projects in the US, so there have probably been more seminars about IPD than actual projects! And now, developments in technology lead credence to the idea that technology may reduce the incentive for owners to consider IPD for their projects.
IPD is touted as useful for project owners with complex projects, who need a collaborative approach to manage risk, particularly with a tight schedule or budget. With IPD, owners, contractors and designers (as well as critical subs) have common goals and incentives. Collaboration is driven by the contract structure and facilitated by technology which allows ready sharing of project drawings, details and other information. Even with several converts, though, IPD is still a tough sell among capital facility owners.
Full disclosure: I am a member of an IPD task force sponsored by AGC of America, to disseminate information to members and the public about IPD. IPD remains an intriguing and potentially rewarding delivery method for the right owners and projects.
Many owners wary of the multi-party relationship have embarked on “IPD lite” delivery methodologies, attempting to instill collaborative processes within the traditional contractual framework. This “IPD lite” framework – which cannot be called a delivery system – relies upon technology to boost communication among team members. Recent announcements on new technologies and platforms pave the way for owners to opt for increased information-sharing in support of “IPD lite” project management. For instance, Gehry Technologies has announced its new “G|Team” online 3D file-sharing and BIM platform. An ENR article discusses existing tools and apps that allow iPad and desktop users to carry thousands of plans. One of the apps, PlanGrid, allows for sharing and management of plans on mobile platforms.
What does this all mean? Better communication tools may result in project owners capitalizing on the same information exchange that is integral to IPD, without going the way of the multi-party agreement.