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Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)

Around ten years ago, a new project delivery process began to develop in the United States: Integrated Project Delivery (IPD). IPD draws upon decades of building processes and combines them to deliver the best possible product for clients. 

This process is different from other construction methods as it involves the client simultaneously hiring a design firm and lead contractor to put the process into motion. After the lead contractor is located, the team finds other members to round out the group and create one working contract. The creation of one working contract makes all team members accountable for one another meaning; every-one contractor in the group can reap the rewards if collaboration goes well, however all share the collective risk if something goes against the plan.   

Once an IPD mindset is created, the design of the project begins. Through complete physical and philosophical integration of the design and construction teams, the project is designed collaboratively with ownership, construction, engineering, and design at one time in one place, which makes for a much smoother overall process. This smoothness is best depicted in a decrease in requests for information (RFI’s) and change orders due to this collaborative design and mutual agreement; which allows for potential issues to be rectified in the planning, not construction stage. F.A. Wilhelm (Wilhelm) is a true partner in this endeavor as they work with clients to create seamless IPD projects as well as IPD-like projects that specifically cater to the needs of the user, collaboratively creating solutions for all involved. 

Once an IPD project begins, the pre-construction planning’s implementation is incredible; making for very precise plans, an accurate budget with little surprise, and a timeline that is sped up. This timeliness of the project is due in part to the fact that through integrated planning and design, there is a coordination of trades built into the schedule, and wasted time cut down. Also, through integration there is a result of less waste as everyone is in agreement with the integrated schedule.   

A misunderstood principle behind IPD delivery is that it is only for large and or complex projects. This is simply not true.  According to  Wilhelm preconstruction manager Jim Kramer, “An IPD project can be new construction or a renovation, and its size does not necessarily have to be large, it can actually work well on any project if the right team is assembled.” 

 This need for a skilled team cannot be stressed enough as a major factor of IPD is a profit sharing agreement made with all partners included. If one stumbles, all are affected. Therefore, it is in the best interest of all partners on the project to make sure to minimalize issues and create a structure that is timely and causes little delay as every potential misstep can affect the bottom line for all involved. 

A key feature of IPD is the ability to customize the process for a specific project and or client. In fact, over the past few years, potential IPD owners cater their Request for Proposals (RFP’s) and IPD scope towards what works best for them, and discard parts that do not work for their organizations. This construction process can best be described as “IPD light.” 

From the outside, IPD can be seen as similar to design-build, and in fact they do share similarities. However, there are clear differences: for starters, design-build usually only includes a general contractor and designer in design, so the integration of all partners is lacking. Also, in design-build there is a lack of shared incentives to work collaboratively.  

One aspect that sets Wilhelm apart from many contractor managers is the capability to complete an IPD project completely within the Wilhelm family of companies and according to Wilhelm President Phil Kenney,” This sets us apart as a contractor, and brings tremendous additional value in terms of collaboration, integration and cooperation.”  

Barriers to this type of managed project include a steep learning curve and the legalities of setting up the governing agreement between IPD partners, both of which lead many contractors to shy away from this work.  

However, Integrated Project Delivery offers near limitless project benefits creating a stellar product for the owner with collaboration at the forefront. Owners who are interested in being a part of an IPD project should consult construction and design firms with IPD delivery experience.  Wilhelm  is a construction firm that has the knowledge, the people and the resources to help an owner through the IPD process. 

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