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.
“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.