Integrating Project Delivery

By Dean Reed and John Wiegand

This article focuses on a new perspective on Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) in which the strategies for organization, work methods and processes, and information management are derived from the value created through design and construction of a valuable, high performance building. A high performing building can only be achieved through a building with integrated building systems, which can only be produced through an integrated process, which depends on an integrated team with the right people, which needs integrated information (i.e., BIM+) to function effectively and efficiently.

Simulation and visualization are the primary ways in which BIM+ informs the integrated team. Collaboration and co-location are the primary ways that allow the integrated team to integrate processes. Production management methods enable the productive design, fabrication, and construction of the integrated building system. Outcome metrics define the performance of the building and validate the integrated building system. All of this is supported by the appropriate agreement or framework.

There are four tasks every project team must do well to succeed: lead, coordinate, decide, and do the right work at the right time, correctly. At the end of the day, a team gets paid for value-added work. Doing only or mostly value-adding work requires coordination, leadership, and decisions — otherwise it’s unlikely that each team member and all the sub-teams will carry out the work and work processes needed to produce a high performing facility with integrated systems. Team members with the most experience and responsibility must create a new culture and organization. This includes setting up the coordination scopes and mechanisms and helping team members and owner stakeholders determine which decisions must be made, when and how to advance toward the project goals, etc. These same leaders help team members decide on their next steps.

Because team members in non-IPD projects do not win or lose together, but by themselves, individual leaders must first think about how a decision affects their budget, schedule and bottom line, and maybe, if it doesn’t cost anything, the project. Team members make sure their work is internally coordinated and sequenced before thinking about the project. Leaders and team members must make must make sure their company’s interests are protected in making decisions, and then try to do what’s best for the project.

Figure 1. Fragmented delivery.

The imperative to first take care of each participating organization’s interest results in having to re-do work because it does not meet the needs of other team members and the project as a whole. This rework is accepted as the normal course of business and not seen for the waste that it is. No one really knows how much there is because the rework is invisible. The rework consumes the time of valuable human resources and certainly adds cost to projects. Figure 1 shows the result of organizing this way.

The Simple Framework is best understood by working backwards from the product, which integrated project teams have agreed to deliver. A “high performance building” must be useful to or usable by its occupants, it must be buildable safely within the time and money budgets available, it must be operable so that the building managers can create the right environment for the occupants with a commensurate expense, and finally, a building must be sustainable in its economic, environmental, and social context. A high performance building is able to demonstrate that it meets the values and objectives stated by the owner at the beginning of the project, using specific metrics developed to evaluate its achievement.

A high performance building is comprised of highly integrated systems, where systems are designed to work together and complement each other. To work together effectively, teams must have a way of communicating reliably and efficiently. “Integrated information,” which supports simulation and visualization, and the easy access to that information, are used heavily to create a transparent and integrated process, in which all members of the team understand the work at all times. Simulations and visualization enable team members to share their knowledge effectively, to experiment, test and evaluate their ideas, to compare good solutions to poor solutions, and to communicate with other team members and stakeholders.

Meaningful metrics, not simply data collected for the sake of having numbers in a chart, must be used both to track how well a team is performing, and how closely the building conforms to the goals and values of the owner. Metrics are essential to understanding and improving team performance during the process.

Upholding the entire IPD system is a contractual agreement and framework, which sets the “ground rules” for the project, and reinforces the idea that decisions can and must be made for the good of the project, not just for individual benefit. The contract will encourage and enable an integrated delivery system, and allow organizations and individuals to share information, collaborate, innovate, and challenge each other without fear of retribution.

Figure 2. The simple framework for integrating project delivery.

The Simple Framework sits on the foundation created by a contractual agreement in which all the parties share in the risk and reward for the project. Achieving specific and better outcomes is the purpose of the IPD Contract. The process of defining a structure starts with determining the outcomes to be achieved, deciding which behaviors and processes are necessary to achieve the outcomes, factoring limitations that are imposed on the contract and then designing a structure. In this process, structure is the servant of outcome.

In the influence diagram shown in Figure 3, the project outcome requires some blend of the behaviors, shown as ovals. These behaviors are encouraged and shaped by the five key structural elements linked to them. In a full IPD Contract, all five structural elements are present and harmonized to the project objectives.

Figure 3. IPD elements and outcomes. (© Howard Ashcraft)

We look at building performance through the eyes of the four main stakeholder groups in a building. In chronological order of building delivery, they are the design and build team, the professionals operating the building, the users of the building, and the managers of the building users who need to sustain their business. That’s why we define performance of a building in these four categories: buildability, operability, usability, and sustainability, shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4. High performing building criteria.

High performance is about the whole package. It is the idea that a facility can be resource efficient, environmentally responsible in construction and operation, comfortable and safe for its occupants, easy and cost-effective to maintain, and allows its users to perform at their highest level. In short, a truly high performance building satisfies everyone who designs, constructs, operates, and uses a building as much as possible; it is a building everyone can be proud of.

A high performance facility enables its users to create the value they must deliver to thrive in their own business. For example, a bridge allows a certain number of cars to cross each day helping a transportation agency meet its goal of enabling people to go places; a school building allows teachers to inspire, educate, and engage with a certain number and type of students; a home enables affordable and healthy lives of its occupants, etc. The work of designers, builders, and operators accomplishes this performance and enables this value through the efficient allocation of materials and technical, financial, and human resources.

This is a complex endeavor because of the difficulty in predicting many aspects that must be considered when making decisions about a facility. These decisions affect the duration and cost of the design and construction phase or the CO2 footprint during operations, or the expected durability of the facility. In summary, a high performance facility optimizes its performance across all the cost and income aspects shown in Figure 5. As mentioned, this is challenging to accomplish given the unique nature of each facility in its economic, environmental, and social context.

Figure 5. Cost and income of facilities. (Illustration provided by Martin A. Fischer, Stanford University)

Today’s project delivery process often attempts to optimize the design and construction cost and duration (optimization goals 1 and 2 in Figure 5). Minimizing design and construction duration benefits the project delivery team and the client because the project delivery team can add value to another project sooner and the client can obtain income from the facility as early as possible (supporting optimization goal 4). The total income that can be generated from a facility does not only depend on its opening date, of course, but also on the income that the facility enables (optimization goal 4, the positive segment of the y-axis in Figure 5), and the duration during which the income can be generated (optimization goal 5, the duration of the use phase shown on the x-axis).

To effectively integrate systems a team must first identify the user values and tie them explicitly to the features that are being considered from a systems perspective for the building. The integrated team of owner, designers, and subcontractors should then build models to predict the behavior of the building relevant to characteristics valuable to the sponsor and stakeholders.

These might include environmental impacts, operational parameters like energy consumption and ease of maintenance, usability considerations such as flexibility of the building’s layout to changes in the users’ business, constructability concerns or other factors. For example, the DPR Construction Phoenix Regional Headquarters team modeled performance for its office remodel project and used CFD (computational fluid dynamics) simulations to predict the temperature distribution inside the building under various use criteria and at various times during the day and the year. This helped them design a passive cooling system that utilizes four direct- evaporative shower towers, 14 high-volume, low-velocity Big Ass Fans hung throughout the ceiling, an 87-foot long by 13-foot high solar chimney, 82 Solatube lighting units, louvers attached on the exterior walls and a Building Management System/BMS that controls these systems so that they respond together to maintain comfort inside the building given the environmental conditions outside. These elements were chosen to complement each other.

Figure 6 shows a cross section of the DPR Phoenix office systems: the parking canopy system covered with photovoltaic panels, tubular daylighting devices for natural lighting, passive cooling tower, and solar chimney for heat exhaust. This conceptual model was developed to demonstrate how the various systems work together.

Figure 6. A cross section of the DPR Phoenix office systems. (Courtesy of SmithGroupJJR; courtesy of DPR Construction)

The plan view of the DPR Phoenix office building in Figure 7 illustrates the bioclimatic architectural strategy. The design takes into account the desert climate and environmental conditions, such as no prevailing wind, to help achieve optimal thermal comfort inside. It avoids complete dependence on mechanical systems, which are almost universal in the Southwest. These operate only as support when outside air is too hot to use.

Figure 7. Plan view of interrelated systems for the DPR Phoenix office building. (DNV GL Energy Services USA, Inc.; courtesy of DPR Construction)
Figure 8. Interior view of the DPR Phoenix office building.

The output of the design phase must be the design of a facility that is valuable for its users, can be built, and can be operated. It follows that there are five main process integration needs, listed below and shown in Figure 9.

1. User value is translated into design solutions.

2. Design informs and enriches user value and is checked against user value to ensure that user value does not get compromised as the design progresses.

3. Builder’s knowledge informs and shapes design.

4. Operator’s knowledge informs and shapes design.

5. Sustainability concerns and knowledge inform and shape design.

Figure 9. Process knowledge integration.
Figure 10. Collaborative design review using BIM. (Courtesy of Sutter Health; courtesy of Ghafari Associates, LLC)

Figure 10 shows a design review session. The designers and trade contractor modelers and managers were going through the coordinated BIM at the site office along with other disciplines to understand the progress of design. This meeting was an “all hands on deck” meeting that occurred every other week during the design phase and was how the team integrated process knowledge.

The integrated project organization aligns people to the project in four ways. It first connects people’s actions, information, and decisions. Individuals are not left to do this on their own in a hit-and-miss fashion. Second, the integrated project organization is literally built through and on people’s use of language to make and keep commitments to do what they believe needs to be done as contributors. Third, the integrated project organization promotes individual and collective learning so that the organization’s IQ is greater than any single individual. Fourth, integrated project organization connects the work that people do through its structure to the unique combination of things that the end-customer, the client, has defined as value.

Figure 11. Five big ideas that are reshaping the delivery of capital projects. (Courtesy of Sutter Health)

Figure 11 shows Sutter Health’s “Five Big Ideas that Are Reshaping the Design and Delivery of Capital Projects,” which have guided their project teams. Taken together, they are building blocks people can use to integrate their project organizations.

Dean Reed has seen a lot in his 43 years in construction. His perspective changed dramatically in 1996 when he discovered Lean Construction and Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) together. He brought that new thinking to DPR Construction when he began working there as a project planner in 1997. Since that time, Dean has worked tirelessly to help DPR people, and owners, designers and trade partners understand and leverage their creative talents to deliver significantly better buildings.

John Wiegand is a senior Autodesk BIM 360 implementation consultant with the mission to help professionals understand the real-world application of Autodesk solutions for the construction community (including BIM 360 Docs, BIM 360 Glue, and BIM 360 Field). He is a LEED accredited professional with 33 years of construction management experience.

Please note: The material in this article was presented at Autodesk University Las Vegas 2016 and is based on the book, Integrating Project Delivery by Martin Fischer, Howard Ashcraft, Dean Reed, and Atul Khanzode, published by John Wiley & Sons. The text that appears here, and figures not credited to others, are © 2016 by Martin Fischer of Stanford University, Howard Ashcraft of Hanson Bridgett LLP, and Dean Reed and Atul Khanzode of DPR Construction.

Learn more with the full class at AU online: Integrating Project Delivery.

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