So where are we with Integrated Project Delivery?
Is IPD losing steam?
The evidence – however anecdotal – is threefold.
First, Google Alerts containing the term are sparser and less frequent.
There are fewer content providers, with rare exceptions, writing on the topic.
Back in January 2010 AIA issued IPD Case Studies.
These provided what everyone was seemingly eagerly awaiting:
An examination of real-world, completed building projects that used Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) in as pure a form as possible.
Projects illustrating – showing, not telling – the successful application of IPD in a variety of building types and scales and in diverse regions of the country.
These were followed by dozens of posts announcing the release of the IPD Case Studies.
Followed soon thereafter by an inexplicable silence.
R.I.P. 2010. Case (studies) closed.
Since then, there have been what seem to be fewer and fewer activities related to IPD.
Which brings up the second reason:
No doubt due in part to the economy.
In the doldrums (where doldrums = dumpster.)
Face it: there are just plain fewer opportunities to use the IPD delivery method.
Even if they were building, there is a tendency for already risk-averse owners – who need to lead this process – to go all conservative on us in tough times.
Translating as conventional design-bid-build.
Without educated, intelligent, willing owners to drive its use – not only is IPD dead, but so is building, and by extension, architecture.
Hedging on IPD
My blog (and book) were deliberately called BIM + Integrated Design, not BIM + Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) for two reasons.
To call attention to the fact that Integrated Design is not only a delivery method but a collaborative work process enabled by technology.
But also because I was hedging.
Hedging on the fact that IPD would one day give way to something else.
Some other way of working together, one with a different name.
But why hedge?
With the exception of fellow Wiley author George Elvin,
Who remembers the term Integrated Practice?
(Markku, no cheating.)
R.I.P. 2007. Case closed.
What would we truly miss if IPD would go away altogether by, say, tomorrow afternoon?
Wiped from our collective memory, Google searches and treasure trove of resources.
The whole shebang wiped out as though a giant D/B meteor hit it front and center.
Where it hurts.
Gone forever are all the IPD seminar presentations you never bothered to see.
The Next Great Delivery Method
If not IPD, what then?
Let’s be honest.
The basic tenets – the fundamental principles that form the basis of IPD and NGDM (Next Great Delivery Method) – are what made IPD something special.
And perhaps difficult to enforce contractually.
You: “The contractor’s not being trustworthy!”
Principles that have been around a lot longer than 2007.
Because they are not only part of IPD’s DNA (t/y Zigmund Rubel) but because they are part of our own DNA.
Familiar to everyone by now, they include:
- · Mutual Respect and Trust
- · Mutual Benefit and Reward
- · Mutual of Omaha
- · Collaborative Innovation and Decision Making
- · Open Communication
- · Organization and Leadership
As well as others perhaps unique to IPD:
- · Early Involvement of Key Participants
- · Early Goal Definition
- · Early to Bed
- · Intensified Planning
- · Appropriate Technology
As to this last one, while it can include communication software and management tools, what is meant by Appropriate Technology is a not so subtle reference to
Because BIM is most valuable when shared across disciplines.
But at many firms there is no sharing.
BIM is used for narrow purposes rather than for the benefit of the project.
What can be done about that?
Scrap it, Sell parts
The third and last indication that IPD may be losing its way was triggered by something said at a panel discussion I recently moderated at the NTAP conference in Washington DC.
With Phil Bernstein FAIA, Howard W. Ashcraft Jr and Jonathan Cohen, FAIA.
Cohen, who conducted the research and authored the report for the AIA Case Studies, said:
“I don’t think ‘pure’ IPD will predominate by 2015 – but all of the project delivery methods will have learned something valuable from IPD.”
“Should we not find ways to apply elements of IPD to CM@Risk, Bridging Design-Build, etc? Owners, particularly in the public sector, are asking for this.”
What is a Lamborghini without an engine?
An Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato without wheels?
I was a bit surprised, even taken-aback (full disclosure: also shocked and dismayed,) by the NTAP panelist’s assertions that IPD will not catch on whole cloth.
Even among those who created it.
Not that IPD is DOA.
Not that when we search “ipd” Google will henceforth ask: do you mean “iPod?”
But that there are perhaps only parts of IPD that work.
In a recent post, Hafez Daraee states,
“Integrated Project Delivery (‘IPD’) has been the topic of much discussion over the past several years. Despite being heralded as revolutionary, IPD has not become the gold standard in construction project delivery; it remains just a great idea that is sparingly used.”
But due to the economy and dearth of imagination you could likewise say:
Architecture has not become the gold standard in building; it remains just a great idea that is sparingly used.
Heck, for the past 12 months I have been sparingly used.
“IPD is gaining a foothold but more slowly than it should, and the economic upheaval of the last few years has not yet ended. Until contractors believe they will be more efficient and more profitable by using IPD, it will be hard to convince them to take a chance and bet on IPD.”
There might be something to say after all for all the IPD-ish and IPD-lite projects being pursued.
Perhaps we ought to scrap IPD and sell off the parts?
IPD is dead. Long Live IPD.
10 responses to “Is IPD dead?”
Very nicely played. Keep up the good work and invest in Mutual of Omaha.
Thanks Mike. Great to hear from you – and for being such a close reader!
design integration in a way or another (i.e. with one name or another) is helping deliver projects with better results. But contracts and common practice are things difficult to change in one shot. So I think you are right, maybe only certain things about IPD will be incorporated into other type of contracts making them more collaborative, so lets thank IPD and all those who developed and push for the method for that.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I only hope that’s not the sound of a eulogy I hear in what you wrote!
Hmm.. I think your mention of monitoring google alerts related to BIM may indeed be telling. I just checked Google Insights and while it may not be a full blown downward trend, the usual terms indeed peaked in the past.
Excellent point, Alan. Perhaps it only seems that there are fewer items on IPD being written today because references to BIM have gone up. But another explanation could be that there are the same number of references to IPD but that they are not being produced by content providers but instead mentioned in articles and posts by end-users. If this is the case, this trickle down to the end user (owners, institutions, organizations) may portend good news for IPD once the economy picks up.
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Constructor firms have become primary motivators with BIM because of specific value propositions: elimination of physical conflicts between building systems that cost money and time; ability to plan construction logistics that save money and time; ability to assert more constructor control over detailed design process that translate into money and time.
IPD does not offer the constructor firm the same value propositions. It offers the owner potential value, but the owner is almost always a construction amateur, a dilettante, compared to the constructor firm for whom time is money and money is money. BIM = profit. IPD = better owner solutions. Constructors know which tool to concentrate on.
Architects? Well, they struggle with economic self-interest. Constructors don’t. If architects could figure out how IPD could give them an economic advantage, and at the same time could figure out that their own economic advantage is something desireable, then we would see practitioners pushing for the process. But architects are not profit driven, they’re concept and service driven. For now, the owners are the ones footing the bill, and I agree, Randy, if they are not behind IPD, no one is.
The responses to the question posed by this blog post on the LinkedIn IPD Group site are simply brilliant and not to miss. If you care about the future of Integrated Project Delivery read the responses to “Is IPD Dead?” http://linkd.in/dXZssd
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