After what many consider Florida’s worst real estate collapse and the coupled effect on the construction industry, the construction industry in Florida continues to recover with new projects transforming the South Florida skyline. As the construction industry continues to grow, so does the need for effective methods to efficiently deliver projects. One of the most important decisions made by every owner starting a construction project is how the project will be designed and constructed, or the project delivery method. There are several traditional project delivery methods. The Design-Bid-Build method typically involves three project phases: design, procurement, and construction. The Construction Management At Risk delivery method involves a construction manager acting as a consultant to the owner in the development and design phases, but assumes the risk for construction performance, akin to a general contractor. The Design-Build method combines architectural and engineering design services with construction performance under one contract.
In an effort to become more efficient and streamlined, an evolving trend in the recovering construction industry is integrated project delivery, also known as “IPD.” IPD generally involves the owner, architect or engineer and the contractor all entering into one contract and functioning as a cooperative and collaborative team to design and construct a project with shared risks and rewards in the ultimate cost, schedule, and quality of the overall project. IPD requires a strong, active, and sophisticated owner who is willing and able to take on greater risk and responsibility, especially during the early phases of project design. The advantages of IPD include increased productivity, less time lost waiting for documentation, better coordination of documents, fewer requests for information and conflicts, more informed decision making, better project cost control, and higher predictability of outcomes. Construction participants desiring to use IPD, however, must be patient because of the potential difficulty in reaching agreement on the criteria and the final contract. In addition, IPD can increase design cost, and may shift some risk to the owner compared to other methods.
The successful outcome of a construction project largely depends on how the project is structured. Each project delivery system has its own benefits and risks, all of which should be carefully evaluated.