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Survey Shows Growing Awareness of IPD, But Barriers to Wide Adoption Remain
Eighty-four percent of AIA members are familiar with IPD, a game-changing collaborative delivery method
By Matthew Welker, Assoc. AIA
Despite emerging shortly before the economic downturn that saw the building sector dive into a prolonged tailspin, Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) appears to have weathered the storm. Forty percent of AIA members demonstrate understanding of this emerging collaborative delivery method, and 84 percent are aware of its market presence, according to a recent survey commissioned by the AIA Center for Integrated Practice. [Figure 1]
The survey, sent to nearly 10,000 AIA members, offers some of the earliest metrics on collaborative delivery methods in rapidly transforming architectural practices. Designed to gauge AIA members’ understanding and attitudes towards IPD, preliminary findings underscore the sea change affecting the whole building industry, characterized by demands for high-performing buildings, building information modeling (BIM), increasingly complex projects, and pressure for innovative business practices.
Member interest in alternative delivery methods is high. More than half of respondents have engaged in some degree of collaborative project delivery. Although IPD is the least commonly used (13 percent) alternative delivery method, it is also the most recent. [Figure 2] By comparison, 51 percent of respondents indicated that they have completed a project within the last two years using design-build, a contract type popular for more than 15 years. Forty-two percent reported using Construction Manager as Constructor (also known as CMc or CM at Risk).
IPD, design-build, and CMc processes were all viewed as encouraging collaborations between team members. However, the perceived responsibilities remain divided in both design-build and CMc. IPD, by comparison, was viewed as more structured in terms of involving all team members, and provided for shared performance incentives—a positive for risk-savvy architects.
Findings from the membership survey support the assertion that using IPD improved a firm’s ability to achieve increased industry expectations. Respondents were asked to evaluate the appropriateness of IPD to satisfy eight common owner motivations, expanded from the IPD Case Studies produced by the AIA Center for Integrated Practice in collaboration with AIA Minnesota and the University of Minnesota School of Architecture.
Overall, participants identified cost predictability (70 percent), schedule predictability (62 percent), construction efficiency (59 percent), and risk management (55 percent) as motivations likely to be satisfied through collaborative delivery methods. These motivations are often touted in association with IPD, which is characterized, in part, by shared financial risk and reward, liability waivers, fiscal transparency, and early involvement of key participants.
Across the board, respondents who completed projects with IPD reported the methodology as more likely to satisfy project goals, with double-digit leads in cost predictability, high-performance design, and long-term efficiency of building operations. [Figure 3] According to participants engaged in collaborative project delivery, IPD offers both short- and long-term project benefits. IPD allows construction teams to increase the quality of design in high-performing buildings, and brings them in on (or under) budget. This survey also suggests that the full possibility of IPD to deliver high-performance projects has yet to be realized.
Although BIM is a valuable tool in sharing information on collaborative projects, survey participants indicate that it isn’t a key driver in selecting IPD. Instead, increased practice and construction efficiencies are the primary reasons for selecting collaborative delivery methods.
IPD beyond healthcare
Healthcare facilities are the most common projects where IPD is applied, with 24 percent of respondents working in this sector. [Figure 4] High-profile projects like NBBJ’s Seattle Children’s Bellevue Clinic have emphasized IPD’s ability to maximize design value while fast-tracking construction and minimizing costs, making it an appealing option for healthcare owners.
Interestingly, the second most common construction type delivered by respondents that use IPD are single-family homes, at 14 percent. Although these numbers do not necessarily mean single-family residential projects are explicitly being delivered through IPD, they do run counter to two commonly perceived barriers to adopting collaborative delivery: that a firm is too small or its projects lack complexity.
Rounding out the top five project types delivered by respondents using IPD are government buildings (12 percent), education facilities (12 percent), and office space (10 percent).
Barriers to IPD
One perennial challenge for architects interested in adopting collaborative delivery methods is their inability to require contractual collaboration and multiparty contracts. Although architects can implement behavioral transformations themselves, and make recommendations to owners, the responsibility of selecting a delivery method is ultimately held by the client. Indeed, “Owner does not see advantages” and “Owner resistant to change” were (respectively) the first and third most significant barriers to engaging in integrated practice. “General lack of precedent” was identified as the second most significant barrier. [Figure 5]
Among respondents who had completed IPD projects, owner issues remained the most significant barriers to pursuing IPD. Likewise, other external considerations, including “procurement method limitations/restraints,” “general lack of available, appropriate insurance,” and “general lack of insurance support” remained barriers, and saw the slimmest decreases from those unengaged in IPD.
The more significant difference in perceived barriers by respondents engaged in IPD and those not engaged highlights the capabilities of architects to thrive in a collaborative environment. “General lack of precedent,” the second most significant barrier overall, sees the most substantial drop between the two demographics, followed by “my firm lacks the necessary skills/ knowledge,” “licensing and liability concerns,” and “uncertain about risk management in IPD.” Less than 12 percent of respondents who have completed an IPD project considered any of these to be a major barrier to adopting IPD.
Inroads to collaborative practice
Although IPD may not be widely practiced now, AIA members appear well positioned to support the building industry in this transformation. For instance:
• One in five respondents state that they use one of the three different AIA Contract Document IPD Agreements, making them the most widely used industry agreement for IPD. Custom agreements drawn up between parties are the second most common.
• The AIA Center for Integrated Practice Integrated Project Delivery: A Guide (co-authored with AIA California Council) is one of the most understood and recognized documents on collaborative practice. The AIA Center for Integrated Practice is a clearinghouse that contains useful reports, relevant industry events, contractual information, podcasts, and discussion forums.
• According to the 2011 AIA component survey, 5 percent of components offer an active integrated practice member group, and 54 percent offer continuing education programming which covers IPD.
Visit the Center for Integrated Practice website.
View the updated IPD Case Studies.