March 25, 2013
More integrated project delivery coming to construction soon
More Canadian construction projects will shift to Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) in the future, predicted one expert at the Canadian Construction Association's (CCA) recent 95th annual conference.
“It’s just a better way to deliver projects. It is less stressful, it is less risky to the owner and to the people involved so it just makes a lot of sense,” said Dave Hagan, director of process development for The Boldt Company.
“I never really did understand why we gave the job to the guy with the lowest price. It’s like, ‘let’s give the job to the guy that made the biggest mistake in his estimate.’”
During his presentation on an IPD panel at the conference, Hagan said that the construction industry typically thinks in silos.
“We tend to think about our own little world, ‘I don’t really think about what benefits the architect’, when we should be thinking about what benefits the architect,” he said.
IPD only works with the right environment and mix of people.
“We do really act as a team. The architects and designers, we all look at this as if we’re one virtual company because if any of us makes a mistake, it damages the good of the entire project,” said Hagan.
IPD brings all stakeholders together at the beginning of the project to set timelines, risk, responsibilities and costs, among other issues.
“The real sweet spot is controlling the cost of building the project, the hard costs, labour, materials,” said Hagan.
In order to have IPD, you need to have a willing owner.
“Usually you’ll find that an owner has been burned so many times that they’re looking for anything else,” said Hagan.
Other elements needed for IPD are a strong team, commitment to education, trust, courage and patience, he said.
Standard contracts can have elements of IPD.
“You can have your standard contract, but you can behave differently as long as you don’t violate the terms of that contract in essence,” he said.
“You can do all sorts of integrated things and never have an integrated form of agreement.”
Art Winslow of Graham Construction and Engineering has been involved with IPD for the past year.
He said it was like learning a new language that took about six months to truly grasp.
The company had to learn about several new tools, such as choosing by advantages and pull planning.
“We’ve learned that no matter what tools we have, it
all rolls around to the people you have in the room with you,” he said.
“How cooperative they’re going to be, how collaborative they’re going to be and how much knowledge they have and are willing to share with the collective?”
Winslow said working in a collaborative IPD environment has been the most fun he has had in his 27 years in the industry.
“It’s a lot of work, but certainly a lot of fun to be collaborating with people at almost an intimate level,” he said.
Using IPD, Graham Construction as a general contractor knows its profit before starting a project.
“We’ve actually identified that in our RFP. We’re content with the amount of money we’re going to make,” said Winslow.
“It doesn’t become about how much more money we can make, it becomes about how much more value we can drive into the project for the owner,” he said.
“(The owners) don’t want the money, they want value so they reinvest it into the project and we make an extra percentage based on what they reinvest back into the project.”
Winslow said, though he has been involved with IPD for a year, he predicts he has another 10 or 15 more years of learning in the IPD environment.
“It’s an ongoing process,” he said.
“You don’t learn it and then move on from it, you actually continue to build from it.”
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