Monday, April 5, 2010

Integrated Project Delivery : An Interview with Jonathan Cohen, FAIA, LEED AP

By Ed LeBard, Associate AIA, LEED AP+

American Institute of Architects (AIA) California Council's study on Integrated Project Delivery, compiled by Jonathan Cohen, FAIA, LEED AP, is an in-depth report on the benefits and issues confronting the IPD process. IPD offers an alternative in design and construction management in which obstacles between project team members are taken down, encouraging open dialogue , and reducing inter-disciplinary conflicts with BIM technology and an open-book approach. As IPD develops, more building owners, architects and contractors are discovering that committing to IPD allows for adjustments to the process itself.

The major IPD principles stated by AIA California Council that are vital to its success are:

• Early Involvement of Key Participants
• Shared Risk and Reward
• Multi-Party Contract
• Collaborative Decision Making and Control
• Liability Waivers Among Key Participants
• Jointly Developed and Validated Project Goals

What Is Integrated Project Delivery?
“Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is a project delivery approach that integrates people, systems, business structures, and practices into a process that collaboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to optimize project results, increase value to the owner, reduce waste, and maximize efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication, and construction.

IPD principles can be applied to a variety of contractual arrangements and IPD teams can include members well beyond the basic triad of owner, architect, and contractor. In all cases, integrated projects are uniquely distinguished by highly effective collaboration among the owner, the prime designer, and the prime constructor, commencing at early design and continuing through to project handover.”
(copyright - AIA and AIA California Council)

Interview with Jonathan Cohen, FAIA, LEED AP:

EL : The Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) process is relatively new to the A/E industry. What are its weakness and strengths? Where do you see IPD in the future as it develops?

JC: The biggest strength is the increased predictability of cost and schedule, which lowers everyone’s risk. It also eliminates explicit and hidden contingencies thereby saving a lot of money. The weakness is that more effort is required up front so IPD will appeal to owner-operators and not so much to developers who are looking to flip properties and mainly interested in first cost.

EL : Some architects fear that the IPD process is another tool for General Contractors to push them around. Could you expand on this? How can that myth be dispelled?

JC: So far the builders have been much more proactive on this than the architects. They have shown themselves to be more willing to collaborate and innovate on process. If architects would step up to the challenge they could ensure themselves of an expanded role. If they don’t they will be pushed around and marginalized.

EL : Your case study of the Encircle Health Ambulatory Care Center required a minimum of LEED Silver rating and the project team was confident in achieving LEED Gold despite the fast paced IPD process. Does the inclusion of IPD translate to smoother LEED coordination between all team members?

JC: Yes, since LEED points are awarded for both design and construction, an integrated team can better prepare for LEED and predict costs and projected savings. IPD is very helpful to sustainability in buildings.

EL : With the Federal Government now requiring a minimum of LEED Silver rating on all new construction and renovation projects, what are your thoughts on implementing the IPD process here?

JC: The federal government should adjust its procurement process to take advantage of IPD because it delivers the best value. I don’t know enough about federal contracting to have an opinion about how that might take place and what impediments there are. Many state and local government agencies are seriously looking at IPD and in some cases writing new contracts or seeking legislative authority to implement.

For more information on AIA California Council's IPD Case Studies:
For more information on Jonathan Cohen, FAIA, LEED AP:

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