Tag Archives: Integrated Project Delivery

The Surprising Civility of Primal IPD


When we come one by one to the quadrille at the four-way corner, we are who we are at our best, bowing, nodding, and moving on.

Verlyn Klinkenborg

After you. No, please, after you.

Have you ever approached a 4-way intersection at precisely the same time as another driver and played that game of Who Goes First?

That’s precisely what happened the other day at a crossroads just outside of Chicago.

As will sometimes happen, an Architect, Engineer, Contractor and Owner pulled-up in separate vehicles to a 4-Way intersection.

It doesn’t matter what they were driving.

The Architect drove a Porsche 911.

But what they were driving doesn’t matter to the outcome of the story.

The Engineer in a pre-Ford Volvo, the Contractor was in a Ford pick-up and the Owner in a 700 series BMW.

So, as the architect’s custom-painted lobster red 2-door sports coupe Carrera revved its engine…

But it really, really doesn’t matter what they were driving.

Or that the owner picked-up his Beamer in ‘09 for $46,500. [Lucky bastard.]

What matters for this story is that, as would have it, they all arrived at the intersection at precisely the same moment.

And somehow had to come to an agreement on how they would proceed.

Fortunately, all four were present at the intersection – for while three were otherwise engaged with their iPods, two were texting and one was on their cell – they could all nonetheless see each other’s gestures, eyes and facial expressions.Rules of the Road

Now, the default rule to establish the right of way at intersections – where you defer to the person on the right – doesn’t apply here since they were all right of each other.

The “person on the right goes first” rule would result in everyone moving forward at once. No good.

Normally, whichever vehicle first stops at the stop line has priority.

Rules of the road would tell you that if two vehicles stop at the same time, priority is given to the vehicle on the right.

If three vehicles stop at the same time, priority is given to the two vehicles going in opposite directions.

What about when 4 vehicles come to a stop at the same moment?

This is the really amazing thing.

You ready?

If four vehicles stop, drivers use gestures and other communication to establish right-of-way.

That’s it.

There is no way around it.

Gestures and communication.

Given all of the advanced technology available to us today – the fact that our vehicles are really just giant computer chips on wheels – the only way four people in modern civilization can proceed to move forward from such a situation is to…talk.

To each other.

Ideally, openly. Transparently.

And gesture. Communicating however one can manage.

For this is the new rule of the road:

You’ve got to go primal to proceed.BIG IPD little ipd

In the past, the A, E and C would have deferred to the Owner to lurch forward into the intersection – to go first.

But that was before everything changed.

For today it sometimes feels like if you were to wait for the Owner to make the first move you might be sitting there, at the intersection, for a long while.

A long, long while.

And so others at the intersection – and this junction in time – are taking matters into their own hands.

They’re finding workarounds.

They’re finding ways to gesture themselves forward even if all the legal and contractual ramifications aren’t all hammered out.

For all four to proceed, it doesn’t matter who goes first, so long as someone does.

That someone has got to make the first gesture.

It’s all about leadership.

Primal leadership.

Move – do something – while keeping everyone informed, and the others will follow.

Call it little ipd.

In IPD, all 4 (AECO – count ‘em) arriving at the table day one of an Integrated Design project are all equals.

At the start – before the contracts are drafted and signed – in order to proceed, in order to move forward, they must defer to their higher selves. Their humanity.

While it is easy for the foursome to get caught up in legal language and a focus on contracts, it is best to think of the arrangement at first as a social contract rather than a strictly legal one, whereby each team member desires to maintain order and so subjects themselves to a higher order – or higher law – in order to maintain this order.

Before the team grows beyond its initial core, and everything gets all complicated, there’s a magical moment at the start of every project when the team members defer to simple etiquette.

Social etiquette.The Four-Way Team

After the last post was inspired by a Neil Young song, it is only natural that this one references a Crosby Stills Nash and Young live album: 4-Way Street.

CSNY, a quartet, with their 4-part harmony. Working together, acknowledging the other players in the band.

CSNY, the first true folk-rock super-group formed by four guitar-playing singer-songwriters from other popular bands.

[David Crosby came from The Byrds; Stephen Stills and Neil Young came from Buffalo Springfield; and Graham Nash was a member of British pop band The Hollies.]

Much like the mix and match make-up of an Integrated Design team where it is more important that team members have BIM experience than the loyalty of a longstanding relationship.

And like OAC, they were originally a threesome: CSN.

AECO, where a quartet is more harmonious than an OAC trio, and the architect and engineer are distinguished and independent of one another.

For, when we come one by one to the quadrille at the four-way corner, we are who we are at our best, bowing, nodding, and moving on.

Afterword

Here I’ll repost in its entirety After You, a short essay from the New York Times and the source of this last quote, by our very own 21st century Emerson/Thoreau, Verlyn Klinkenborg.

Recently, I have been considering the four-way stop. It is, I think, the most successful unit of government in the State of California. It may be the perfect model of participatory democracy, the ideal fusion of “first come, first served” and the golden rule. There are four-way stops elsewhere in the country. But they are ubiquitous in California, and they bring out a civility — let me call it a surprising civility — in drivers here in a state where so much has recently gone so wrong.

What a four-way stop expresses is the equality of the drivers who meet there. It doesn’t matter what you drive. For it to work, no deference is required, no self-denial. Precedence is all that matters, like a water right in Wyoming. Except that at a four-way stop on the streets of Rancho Cucamonga everyone gets to take a turn being first.

There are moments when two cars — even four — arrive almost simultaneously. At times like that, I find myself lengthening my own braking, easing into the stop in order to give an unambiguous signal to the other driver, as if to say, “After you.” Is this because I’m from the East where four-way stops are not so common? Or do most California drivers do this, too? I don’t know. What I do know is that I almost never see two cars lurching into the middle of the intersection as if both were determined to assert their right of way.

I find myself strangely reassured each time I pass through a four-way stop. A social contract is renewed, and I pull away feeling better about my fellow humans, which some days, believe me, can take some doing. We arrive as strangers and leave as strangers. But somewhere between stopping and going, we must acknowledge each other. California is full of drivers everywhere acknowledging each other by winks and less-friendly gestures, by glances in the mirrors, as they catapult down the freeways. But at a four-way stop, there is an almost Junior League politeness about it.

And when the stoplights go out at the big intersections, as they do sometimes, everyone reverts to the etiquette of the four-way stop as if to a bastion of civilization. But there are limits to this power. We can only gauge precedence within a certain distance and among a very small number of cars. Too many, and self-policing soon begins to break down. But when we come one by one to the quadrille at the four-way corner, we are who we are at our best, bowing, nodding, and moving on.

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Filed under BIM, construction industry, design professionals, Integrated Design, Integrated Project Delivery, IPD, people

77 Things You Can Do Right Now to Help Make Integrated Design a Reality


This time of year, when many find themselves indoors, is a great time to catch up – and even get ahead of the pack – on several neglected fronts. Here are my top 77 suggestions for getting ahead in Integrated Design. All pretested, these promise to be a good investment of your time. Best of all, many of the suggestions in this list can be read or watched or even had for free or for very little cost. The 77 things you can do right now to help make Integrated Design a reality will not only benefit the design profession and construction industry, but by helping to move the field forward you may also find that you have helped yourself along the way.

Do you have other links to favorite sources you would like to share?

1. Listen in on a free conference call with Stephen M. R. Covey on the subject of trust

2. Or read the book that the call is based on, The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything, with one eye on how practicing mutual trust makes Integrated Design possible.

3. Still not convinced that increasing trust is the answer? Check out this video or listen to this summary of the book

4. Pick up a copy and read George Elvin’s Integrated Practice in Architecture: Mastering Design-Build, Fast-Track, and Building Information Modeling The world’s only book dedicated to this subject.

5. Read Creating with Others: The Practice of Imagination in Life, Art and the Workplace by Shaun McNiff where a master teacher provides important lessons on how to create together in a collaborative environment.

6. Share some info with someone you don’t normally trust or work with right now and see the results – if it negatively affects you or your firm (you might be surprised by the results)

7. Make it an effort to say “we” instead of “I” for an entire day. Get inspired by taking a look at The Power of We

8. Share AIA’s document on IPD with another practitioner and discuss its strengths and weaknesses.

9. Had a hunch that you could learn a thing or two about collaboration from understanding the secrets of improvisational theater? You were right and they’re all here in Keith Sawyer’s breathtaking Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration, 60% off at Amazon

10. Or read it for free here

11. Read an interview with author Keith Sawyer, professor of psychology and education at Washington University in St. Louis, is one of the country’s leading scientific experts on collaboration, here

12. Start a IPD discussion group, select a resource to start with and begin a discussion.

13. Download the AIA IPD Guide here

14. Better yet, enjoy AIA’s veritable cornucopia of Integrated Design features, programs, initiatives here

15. Read How to Make Collaboration Work; Powerful Ways to Build Consensus, Solve problems and Make  Decisions  Read it here for free.

16. Click here for Experiences in collaboration: On the Path to IPD

17. Or here to download the PowerPoint: Lessons Learned from Applied Integrated Project Delivery – presented at the AIA Convention  

18. Share the AIA document site with 10 others

19. The Integrative Design Guide to Green Building: Redefining the Practice of Sustainability by 7group, Bill Reed, Order it here or here but whatever you do, order it.

20. While you’re at it, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen or heard 7group’s John Boecker speak on the subject of Integrated Design.

21. Bill Reed’s also pretty inspiring, too. Check out some of his papers

22. Read the DesignIntelligence Thom Mayne Morphosis case study on being a design principal on an IPD team

23. Click here for a short (4 min.) video about IPD

24. Put down your current book and pick up Mastering the Art of Creative Collaboration by Robert Hargrove a copy of which can be yours here for 33 cents! Or get a summary here.

25. Think about why you originally went into your field and whether persuing Integrated Design will allow you to do what you originally wanted to do

26. Turn your firm into a collaboration factory. See how other fields are accomplishing it in The Culture of Collaboration: Maximizing time, talent and tools to create value in the global economy by Evan Rosen.

27. Look here to read Integrated Project Delivery and BIM: Changing the Way the Industry Operates

28. Visit and explore Evan Rosen’s blog  on Collaboration, Sharing Information and Trust.

29. Practice self-sacrifice while reading fiction. Mark Helprin’s short story collection, The Pacific and Other Stories, contains an incisive story entitled “Monday,” an honorable contractor willing to sacrifice other contracts and his own reputation to renovate the home of a woman whose husband was killed on September 11 learns “the power of those who had done right.” Read it.

30. Look for an opportunity to hear Choreographer Twyla Tharp discuss The Collaborative Habit at a theater near you.

31. Still not convinced collaboration works? Niether is Berkeley professor and author Morten T. Hansen in Harvard Business review book Collaboration: How leaders avoid the traps, create unity and reap big results. Read it for free here but after reading Good to Great author Jim Collin’s insightful foreword you’re going to want to buy  a copy for yourself and those you work with.

32. Still not convinced collaboration within your firm always a good thing? Watch this video

33. Cant afford the somewhat steep membership cost to join the Design Futures Council? Worry not. Spend a free afternoon perusing articles at designintelligence.com. Do a search on any of the following topics and marvel at the wealth of brilliance that can be found here: Best Practices, Client Relationships, Communications, Design/Build Project Delivery, Intelligent Choices, Leadership, Strategy, Technology, Trends and MANY others.

34. Check out this PowerPoint presentation: IPD It’s not your father’s architectural practice

35. Watch IPD wunderkind John Moebes in action speaking on the benefits on Integrated Design or check out this presentation by him.

36. Or this article about what John Moebes has to say about IPD.

37. Call a colleague that has worked in IPD and ask to lunch – discuss their experience

38. Take a look at architect Scott Simpson’s immortal blog post entitled Let’s Believe in Our Own Future. As Design Futures Council founder Jim Cramer writes in the comments, “Scott, you nailed it.”

39. Make a promise in 2010 to attend a 2- or 4-hour Culture of Collaboration workshop when it comes to town and learn 17 Ways to Move from Competing to Cooperating in Your Organization

40. Compare and contrast the AIA’s various IPD documents

41. Then compare them with ConsensusDOCS

42. Or compare the two here

43. In fact, check out President of Collaborative Construction Resources James Salmon’s blog for great insights into all thing related to Integrated Design

44. Soak-up the great stories in choreographer Twyla Tharp’s latest bestseller, The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together. The book is short – you could down it in an hour – but the anecdotes, quotes and lessons will live long with you and bear repeating.

45. While you’re at it, reread Tharp’s inspiring and peerless The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

46. Visit the DesignIntelligence.blog from time to time for inspiration and insight into integrated design trends and best practices.

47. I recently interviewed architect Paul Durand of Winter Street Architects for my forthcoming book, BIM and Integrated Design: Strategies for Practice (Wiley, 2011) after reading Paul’s inspiring article about his firm’s adjustments to and eventual mastery of the technology and work processes involved with Integrated Design.

48. In fact, BIM and IPD have their very own blog

49. Watch this Harvard Business Review video of an interview with Daniel Goleman, Psychologist. See how you can use emotional and social intelligence to improve your own and your organization’s performance

50. Find a question or problem that you have been noodling on and share it with your network by posting it on a LinkedIn group discussion.

51. Calibrate your progress: If you haven’t in a while, revisit your threadbare copy of Finith Jernigan’s BIG BIM little bim – The practical approach to Building Information Modeling – Integrated practice done the right way! The book that started it all.

52. Assess yourself in this video from the bestselling author of EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE and SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE author Daniel Goleman on how socially intelligent you are.

53. Dust off your copy of The Wisdom of Teams and see how much you’ve learned from it and have integrated into your own practice

54. Listen to Cisco CEO John Chambers explain how abandoning command-and-control leadership has enabled his company to innovate more quickly, using collaboration and teamwork.

55. Connect with other Integrated Design cohorts on LinkedIn

56. Reread Working with Emotional Intelligence – this time with an eye on IPD. Don’t have it? Read the first chapter here.

57. Ask a contractor to lunch or for an after work drink – discuss their observations and insights about the architecture profession – they’ll appreciate it (Recommendation: stay on their turf, take them to Carmichaels or another contractor hang out)

58. Reread your copy of Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets: How to Fix America’s Trillion-Dollar Construction Industry from the viewpoint of how integrated design promises to fix what ails the AEC industry.                                                                                         

59. Read an interview with Barry LePatner on the promise of integrated design in the construction industry in the article, “Unreconstructed,” by Zach Patton published in Governing magazine

60. MacArthur Fellow, New Yorker staff writer and acclaimed surgeon Atul Gawande’s fascinating new book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, has a chapter entitled The End of the Master Builder where he argues that Integrated Design is the one way the construction industry will contend with ever-increasing complexities. Read it. Amazon has it on sale for 65% off.

61. Still too expensive? You can watch a presentation Atul Gawande gave at the New Yorker Festival this past October. His talk was entitled Death of the Master Builder

62. And even read post about Atul Gawande’s presentation at The New Yorker blog.

63. Already mastered Integrtaed Design and all it entails? See Beyond IPD: The Integrated Enterprise Challenge

64. Wondering how to market IPD for your firm? See this this or better yet this

65. Overlook the misleading title, pour yourself a cup or glass and dig into Bauman Lyons Architects highly entertaining and enlightening book on integrated design practices and outcomes, How to Be a Happy Architect

66. Or watch this video of integrated design architect Irena Bauman [of How to be a happy architect fame] taking the Guardian editor, Martin Wainwright, for a stroll around Leeds.

67. Learn ways how you can become an ENFP (you might have an easier time in IPD)

68. Read, really read, Thom Mayne’s penetrating and quite scary warning to the tribe, Change or Perish

69. Or even better, visit the AIA’s incredibly rich and rewarding site featuring this essay as well as Thom Mayne’s 2009 follow-up amongst many others: 2009 and Beyond | Revisiting the Report on Integrated Practice

70. Still skeptical? Do a comparison of IPD and other delivery methods D+B, DBB, etc – list pros and cons and to see how IPD holds up

71. Be the change you want to see – do a presentation for your firm on IPD – or organize one with outside speakers, if only to start a discussion

72. Invite a contractor into your office to speak about their experiences working in IPD, BIM, architects…

73. You still feel like IPD is just a renaming of something you’ve been doing for ages? List what is the same – and what is different – so that you have an accurate tally in your assessment

74. Look into what additional equipment, resources and facilities/space you might need to take-on an IPD project in your office – make your office IPD friendly BEFORE you need it

75. Look for ways to merge – integrate – your religious or spiritual life with IPD

76. Watch this video and learn about IPD from the perspective of an acclaimed surgeon

77. New Yorker also blogged about this event.

And a bonus suggestion: Take an online personality self-assessment or other on your communication type – to see how you relate with others, identifying areas for improvement (FYI historically most architects are ENFJ’s with 10% as ENFP’s.) Free reliable assessments are also available with a little searching.

These are my top 77 suggestions for invigorating your commitment to working collaboratively in an Integrated Design environment. Do you have other links to favorite sources or suggestions you would like to share?

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Filed under collaboration, construction industry, Integrated Design, Integrated Project Delivery, IPD, people, Uncategorized

All I Really Need to Know about BIM and IPD I Learned in Kindergarten

“The architect who combines in his being the powers of vision, of imagination, of intellect, of sympathy with human need and the power to interpret them in a language vernacular and time—is he who shall create poems in stone.”              Kindergarten Chats on Architecture, published in 1901 in which Louis Sullivan, as a master architect, teaches a fictional student his principles of architecture and philosophy. 

Maybe it’s time we have a kindergarten chat? In a recent online group discussion, I asked two questions:

            What is the right place to learn the habits, mindsets and attitudes required for design professionals and others in the construction industry to work effectively in an integrated environment?

and

            If the current generation of emerging design professionals didn’t learn the habits, mindsets and attitudes critical for working effectively in a BIM and IPD environment in kindergarten, when will they pick it up?

Responses kept coming, dozens and dozens of insightful comments in all. One thing that is clear from the comments is that we should have learned these basic habits, attitudes and mindsets such as trust, sharing and collaborating in kindergarten. But it has become apparent to many – especially to owners and contractors – that these values weren’t picked up by their design professionals in kindergarten –or any time since.

So what to do?

Before we all take crash courses to rekindle these basic – but critical – values and practices, it makes sense to address what needs learning and when best to learn it, so that we remain relevant and effective practitioners for those we work with and advise. To this point there are roughly three schools of thought.

BIM and IPD: Three Schools of Thought

            Integrated project delivery (IPD) integrates all team members–owner, architect, construction manager, engineers, and subcontractors–to form a collaborative effort, seeks input from project team members at the onset of the project, allows team members to leverage Building Information Modeling (BIM) by creating a virtual design of every element of a construction project as well as its process.

As a school of thought is a collection or group of people who share common characteristics of opinion or outlook, this might be an effective way of categorizing the range of attitudes we carry about what’s important for design professionals to know – and when they need to know it.

BIM/IPD School of Thought 1: All I Really Need to Know about BIM and IPD I Learned in Kindergarten

My 14 year old son is learning BIM software this year at his high school. He and his peers find the software intuitive and pick it up quite readily.

With IPD, the focus is usually on Early Goal Definition, Intensified Planning, Appropriate Technology, Organization and Leadership. While these are important, as a process IPD is based on some very basic values and principles that unless mastered by all involved, the project will fail. These include: Mutual Respect and Trust, Mutual Benefits and Rewards, Collaborative Innovation and Decisions, Open Communication and Sharing of information.

An early reviewer of my in-progress book on BIM and Integrated Design summed it up this way: “Perhaps one of the most important benefits wouldn’t even cross your mind, and this book attempts to explain it succinctly: Integrated Design and BIM require a much different mindset, and this mindset requires collaboration, coordination, team work, and knowledge sharing in order to succeed. This is not an option, this is a prerequisite.” 

Some feel we should have picked-up these principles and values in kindergarten but either didn’t or weren’t paying attention. More likely, we did learn – but unlearned them in the years since – especially once we left the cocoon of school and embarked on the hard knocks of a career in architecture and construction. There we learned to be mistrustful, skeptical, competitive, secretive, working independently out of silos. In other words – we unlearned all of the critical habits, attitudes and mindsets necessary to work on an integrated team – and be effective practitioners today for those who need us most.

This line of thinking is perhaps best exemplified by this comment from a recent discussion:

            “Modeling/BIM as a craft/technical skill should be taught freshman year, just as pre-arch curricula traditionally taught drafting and rendering. As far as integration/collaboration goes, however, that’s a skill students (and professionals) should have picked up by         Kindergarten…”

BIM/IPD School of Thought 2: All I Really Need to Know about BIM and IPD I Learned in College

For others, college is the best time to address these work habits and attitudes. One commenter put it like thus:

            “This whole ‘change’ which is coming in our world has to be based on a foundation of trust, respect and a willingness to let one’s ego take a back seat to the ‘team’, the project and the client. If you can get the students & future architects to embrace this new way of working and thinking, early, I feel that they would be starting out on the right foot towards this new way of working.”

BIM/IPD School of Thought 3: All I Really Need to Know about BIM and IPD I Learned in the Workforce

While many comments stated that school was the ideal place to learn the technology and work processes to work together in an integrated fashion, others thought that this scenario was at best unrealistic, opting for this learning to take place after school – as summarized by this comment:

            “As a 50 year-old returning to school for a Master’s in Architecture, I would hope that the program exposes me to the core principles and concept being used today. It is important for students to have an understanding of IPD/BIM and the role they play in our profession. But, the true training will come as they enter the workforce. As mentioned in an earlier comment, many students are still graduating with little to no understanding of the business side of architecture, but, are well versed in the latest computer programs. I think the student should be exposed to what is currently being used in the profession. And then, allow their employment and progression toward licensure to hone those core principles that were taught in school.”

Whatever school of thought you belong to, I am not suggesting here that we return to school to relearn what some of us have unlearned – the hard way – in the midst of our careers during heated discussions, presentations and negotiations.

The hard truth is that owners need more commitment to collaboration – and with that trust and respect – from their architects and general contractors.

Perhaps it is time for a kindergarten chat – starting with one that we have with ourselves and then perhaps branching out to chats with our colleagues – where we refresh our memory and recommit ourselves to the basic but all-important values and principles that IPD is based on: mutual respect and trust, sharing, open communication and cooperation. Perhaps this is one all-critical commitment we can keep in what promises to be a pivotal year for our industry and profession. 

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Filed under BIM, collaboration, education, Integrated Design, Integrated Project Delivery, IPD, people, process, Uncategorized