As a design-build firm, Cambridge strives to create and deliver an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) approach to ensuring the highest quality and experience. This is a well-established approach that is gaining acceptance within the construction field for being able to deliver high-quality projects, with multiple stakeholders, by eliminating individual silos and helping build a team-win mindset.

At the core, an IPD approach employs productive, collaborative, and integrated teams of project stakeholders. These team members are grouped under principles that include shared risk and reward, value-based decision making, effective collaboration, trust, transparent processes, and the use of the best integration technologies available. The result is an opportunity for the project to operate as effectively and efficiently as possible. This approach requires all project participants to internalize and deliver on these nine IPD principles.

1. Mutual Benefit and Reward
Participants in the IPD team must all realize some sort of meaningful benefit or reward from the process. This can range from decreased change orders to an owner through more collaborative involvement in the project development, to shortened timeframes for the construction team from streamlined design coordination processes. Regardless, for IPD to be a success, all the participants should realize a tangible benefit.

2. Early Involvement of Key Participants
In an IPD project, it is essential to involve all stakeholders from as early in the project as possible. Cambridge uses scoping documents, best practices, lessons learned, input from their internal staff, and owner input to ensure early involvement from key project participants in included.

3. Mutual Respect and Trust
The IPD requires all project participants, including the owner(s), the general contractor, the design team, and the sub-contractors to be dedicated to the team approach and all value the contributions of the other team members. This is the foundation that the IPD approach relies on.

4. Early Goal Definition
Setting the project goals early is essential to ensuring the project stays on track. To that end, Cambridge often starts all projects with a scoping phase to help set project parameters, from programmatic needs to preliminary plans, pricing, and schedules.

5. Open Communication
Open and honest communication must be pursued as the ideal. The focus of this approach on team performance relies on direct, open, and honest communication among all the team members. There must be a focus on a no-blame culture with a focus on identifying issues and resolving them. Less focus should be directed toward blame and liability. Disagreements and disputes should be noted as they occur and be dealt with quickly to maintain forward momentum.

6. Intensified Planning
The goal with IPD is to expend an increased effort on the design approach to help minimize the more expensive construction effort. The thrust should not necessarily be to reduce design effort but to minimize added cost(s) to construction field changes.

7. Organizational Leadership
Each project has a specific team created to deliver it, and within it, specific responsibilities are assigned based on the individual’s roles and competencies. At Cambridge, as a part of the project kick-off meeting, we set up a project responsibility table. This sets out who the critical team members are, and more importantly, what their responsibilities are. Within Cambridge, the Project Manager delegates responsibility for many tasks to the owner, design sub-consultants, etc. Their over-arching responsibility to the project schedule and budget keep tabs on these tasks while ensuring they are not creating artificial barriers that chill open communication.

8. Appropriate Technology
IPD requires a high level of coordination, which extends to how information, data, and work product is compiled and shared. To that end, Cambridge uses Sage Project center to centralize the project database including project billing, all construction paperwork, meeting minutes, as well as formal correspondence. On the design side, we prefer to use BIM compliant programs, such as Autodesk’s Revit which allows for increased collaboration and coordination between the design and construction sub-contractors.

9. Collaborative Innovation and Decision Making
In any Cambridge project, we value innovative ideas that will deliver a better project for the end-user, regardless of their role in the project. These key decisions should be made by the entire project team, and where possible, a unanimous agreement should be the goal. Care is taken to listen to all ideas and give them due consideration. Even if they prove unworkable or not preferred by the end-user, the very exercise of taking in a new idea, vetting it, and determining whether or not it will work has value.

The more traditional project delivery systems will continue to rely on their silos while always having inefficiencies when there are hand-offs between those silos. The IPD approach attempts to strategically realign the team members and their roles and involvement to utilize their competencies and skills at the appropriate stages in the project.

No project delivery approach is without risks. The goal of IPD is to best minimize those risks by involving as many stakeholders in the process in a meaningful way. By taking a collaborative Integrated Project Delivery approach to conceptualizing, designing, and constructing projects, Cambridge strives to empower all the project team members to make their most impactful and effective contribution to the project.

Evan Williams – Design Project Manager

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