Unmasking Integrated Project Delivery
What is integrated project delivery (IPD)? The answer you get depends upon whom you ask. It seems that everybody is interested in the concept and some say they've been doing it all along.
So Worship Facilities Magazine went on a quest to learn more about IPDa journey we will continue to share with you, and a discussion we started in a feature entitled "Beyond the Debate: Design/Build vs. Design/Bid/Build, Part 2" in the July/August 2008 issue; http://tinyurl.com/od7ynw (see also "The Great Debate: Design/Build vs. Design/Bid/Build, Part 1" in the May/June 2008 issue; http://tinyurl.com/p7wt7x).
What do our sources who're studying and adopting IPD say that it is, and why do church leaders, building committee members and facilities managers need to understand it? Can it save you time and money, and are you an important link in the process? Read on and learn where you may fit into the looming IPD equation.
A Broken System?
When you compare today with 1964, going by Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' studies, various efficiencies have increased worker productivity by 125%. "During the same 40 [plus] years, worker productivity in the construction industry has decreased by 20%," reports Steve Barduson, AIA, LEED AP and principal of Tempe, Ariz.-based BCDM-Barduson, an architecture firm with a focus on houses of worship and a mission of reducing industry waste. "That includes most of the time we've had Construction Manager (CM)-at-Risk, Design/Build and Design/Bid/Build, so the existing methods are nearing obsolescence."
Martin Sell, president and CEO of MSA Integrated Project Delivery in Beaver Dam, Wis., a company that offers design, development and construction management services, sites another potential example of modern-day construction inefficiencies: " the Empire State Building was designed and built in a little more than a year?in 1929. If we were to build that building today, it would probably take us longer and it would cost more in 1929 dollars than what was accomplished more than eight decades ago."
Mel McGowan, founder and president of nationwide Visioneering Studios, a masterplanner and designer of Christ-centered communities, says this about the evolution toward IPD: "Most commercial developers have long ago figured out that there had to be a better way than the blind poker game' of competitive bids submitted by builders that have no ownership or involvement in the design effort. [IPD] in the simplest sense is an attempt to get everyone involved in a room together at the start of the process and get them to all agree to put the best interests of the project firstand to get them to all work together in an environment of openness and trust."
Can't it be argued that what McGowan describes is already being achieved through Design/Build? No, according to Craig Janssen, managing director of Acoustic Dimensions, an audio, video, lighting and acoustics consultant based in Addison, Texas. "At the end of the day you have to look and see who's in control. A Design/Build guy says we're doing IPD, but they have control?the contractor has control. In Design/Bid/Build the architect is in control."
It's the contract form then, according to Janssen, that shows who's in control. And in IPD, the control is evenly balanced between all parties: architect, builder, audiovisual designer, project engineersalongside church leaders. So while it's possible to have Design/Build that's nuanced toward IPD, true IPD has yet to grace the world of church building. [Editor's note: Watch in the months to come for more information on church project IPD contracts online at www.worshipfacilities.com.]
Stephen Pickard, principal and director of design for Dallas-based BASIC architecture + interiors, a creative think tank that focuses on the design of churches and mixed-use environments, says that in Design/Build, "the delivery method may be similar, but often the contract is with a single entity, usually the builder. The architect, therefore, works directly for the builder, not the church."
IPD requires each discipline involved in the building of a church to approach the project in a different, collaborative way from the get-go, and some appear to bristle at the concept. "Some proponents of IPD have tried to make it a jack-of-all-trades that can be used with any of these traditional project delivery approaches. If we're not precise in our language I think it can be watered down to mean a warm and fuzzy'/'kumbaya'/can't we all just get along' atmosphere of getting past the historical adversarial relationships that were inherent in the [traditional models]," McGowan says.
What Would IPD Look Like?
Although the definitions vary somewhat from source to source, it's clear that there's no "League of their Own" mentality in IPD. Instead, the emphasis is on the projectachieved through a team working together from project conception to completionoftentimes saving time and money along the way.
If a church is building or renovating using the IPD approach, according to Janssen, "Teams work together by agreed means, with open learning and open book. They share knowledge and everybody gains from the benefit of lower costs."
And he continues, "IPD has extremely high potential of lowering costs. The problem is that [it's only] a contractual relationship on the surface. But it has to be a true relationshipradically different from Design/Build, Design/Bid/Build, and Construction Management at this point. Somebody has to give up something for the relationship to be balanced."
Janssen contends that the true power of IPD is in taking the delivery method beyond trusted relationships into competent trusted relationships between the church and all involved in the facility planning project. "We're talking about group competency," he adds.
For Barduson, "The marketing version is this: less stress and more efficiency. IPD is moving from planning to design to construction with a single entity. No dual roles. It's a single entity with expertise in each of these three areasplanning, design and construction. I have a narrow definition of IPD."
McGowan paints a picture of the entire IPD team, including the church, like this: "IPD tries to put the people, systems and practices in place that will lead to a successful project through increased efficiency and reduced waste by building in a process of collaboration as a team unified around a common goal."
Anyone who spends much time around the world of architecture and construction today is going to hear the term Building Information Modeling, or BIM. What is BIM, and what does it have to do with IPD? BIM is the tool that can facilitate the true competent collaborative relationship that the experts describe above. It is software used to create a 3D model of a building, constructed in real time as the team collaborates, that's a virtual recreation of the very building itselfcomplete with all architectural specifications, building materials, electrical gridthat even gets down to the nitty-gritty details of the exact lighting fixtures and wattages, for example, that will make up a building.
Barduson describes the potential role of BIM this way: "BIM is the fuel to make IPD happen. BIM creates, actually, a little virtual building."
The experts agree that while IPD can be achieved without BIM, BIM has strong potential to act as a catalyst for IPD in the not-too-distant years to come. But right now, many are using the tool as more of a high-tech drafting tool.
"Because everyone [using BIM will be] working with the same 3D model, hypothetically, most conflicts are identified early in the design process and a tighter coordination of all building systems results," Pickard describes. "It also makes it easier for the [team] to inventory all the pieces and parts' of the building, then evaluate, quantify and adjust as required."
For Sell, BIM hands-down represents the most dramatic change in the design and construction industry in the past century. He says, "While the 3D modeling aspects of BIM are well recognized, what is not as apparent to many is the ability for us to virtually construction manage a project 100% prior to ever breaking ground on the construction site."
McGowan sums up BIM's historical context and potential: "BIM is revolutionizing the whole design and construction industry in much the same way that CAD [computer-aided drawing] revolutionized the design industry more than a generation ago. But BIM does not stop at three dimensions; it is also a powerful relational database that can take projects into the fourth and fifth dimensions by integrating timelines and project costs. BIM is really the collaboration engine that is at the heart of the Integrated Project Delivery system."
A New Way of Thinking
Like anything new we are asked to consider and make a part of our lives, any transition toward IPD may be threatening to those in the design and construction industry, and ultimately to the church leader clients they serve. The idea of giving up control and asking all parties to work together, in a new fashion, with nothing but the interests of the best building possible, can be daunting for both church leaders and the experts who help build their facilities.
Wiley Brown, director of marketing for the faith-based Cornerstone Group of builder Edifice Inc. in Charlotte, N.C., describes the potential industry-wide resistance to change. "Some are opposed to any method with which they are unfamiliar. Those that have benefited from the experience [of] utilizing IPD overwhelmingly endorse it. "
And Barduson adds, "Why are people resistant? The word is trust. Trust is the IPD Achilles' heel for church construction. [Churches] are so into building spiritual relationships that's their sweet spot. [But it's hard] for the church staff to entrust millions of dollars to someone and to acknowledge that they don't know much about construction and don't have sufficient training or guidance. What a powerless position for church leaders."
Architects, builders and engineers, too, are not free of hurdles in the IPD transition. As Janssen closes, "Some architects and engineers have no team training. They certainly didn't get it in the early years of working in their fields. Now IPD says we're going to get them all in a room and ask them to work together. This is a massive cultural shift and a profound change of our industry."