Advertisement

Advertisement

All Together Now

By Darlene Bremer and Stephen Carr | Dec 15, 2015
01_All Together.jpg

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

While researching last month’s column, I realized integrated project delivery (IPD) deserved an entire article to itself. Traditional delivery methods, in particular design/bid/build (DBB), often devolve into antagonistic relationships among the owner, designer, general contractor and subcontractors. The continuing decline in construction-document quality adds more fuel to the fire. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, construction is the only nonfarm industry to show a decrease in productivity since 1964. Some people hail IPD as the solution to these problems.


How does IPD work?


IPD’s hallmark feature is collaboration. Early in the process, key participants work together on the design. The theory is this team will solve all design issues before arriving at a contract price. The IPD approach should dramatically reduce the number of problems, change orders and claims on a project. This new approach—everyone working together for the project’s benefit instead of working separately for their own benefit—requires a major shift in participant behavior, which may be the biggest challenge of the entire concept.


As you can imagine, there are many opinions regarding the promised effectiveness of IPD. At the forefront of the discussion is the opinion that the delivery system has little to do with the outcome of the project and that the expertise and cooperative talents of the team is what matters. Many industry experts agree. Creating a team of talented designers and builders that can put the good of the project in front of their personal gain is an absolute requirement of the successful use of IPD.


Leadership roles


Every team needs a leader, and IPD is no different. A leader capable of getting people to work together and guiding their efforts determines the project’s outcome. Traditionally, architects have been in the driver’s seat when it comes to coordinating the design team. It is possible, but not necessarily true, that their leadership position could diminish in IPD projects. 


Recent developments in technology make IPD possible. Collaboration software and the cloud enable all participants to have access to the same documents and models.


I have several concerns about IPD contract implementation. First is the contract itself. Almost every paper I read mentioned the multiparty contract’s complexity. It is definitely a contract that a lawyer with expertise in this area should review. Another concern was the availability of insurance to cover IPD contracts.


Perhaps my biggest concern is compensation, since one of IPD’s main features is shared risks and rewards among all parties. I have read many paragraphs full of vague language regarding compensation, such as “Collectively defined project goals and metrics to measure performance, along with compensation models that align individual success with project success … .” Obviously, it is important for the contract to define your compensation for all facets of your involvement, including design fees and construction costs.


How are estimators involved?


Estimating is an essential part of the IPD process. The overall project cost is set in the beginning of the design. It is then modified as required and tracked to the end of the project. As electrical estimators, we are very involved in the process. IPD projects often use a target price, and the design is done to meet that target. Estimators must be quick on their feet and have experience in several different types of estimating. 


In the beginning, the estimator’s experience, historical data and square-foot pricing will help determine if the target price is realistic. The next phase could be preliminary estimates based on other assumptions, such as number of outlets per office, or square-foot lighting costs based on more specific area requirements. Then, as elements of the electrical design are solidified, detailed line-item estimates can start replacing the preliminary estimates.


A highly compartmentalized estimate serves this kind of estimating well. Breaking the estimate down into small pieces enables the estimator to easily replace parts of the estimate when the design changes. It is also important to keep a log and written narrative of the changes made to each version of your estimate.


This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the complexities of IPD. It is essential that you learn everything you can about the process before jumping in.

About The Author

Darlene Bremer, a freelance writer based in Solomons, Md., contributed frequently to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR until the end of 2015.

CARR has been in the electrical construction business since 1971. He started Carr Consulting Services—which provides electrical estimating and educational services—in 1994. Contact him at 805.523.1575 or [email protected], and read his blog at electricalestimator.wordpress.com.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

featured Video

;

New from Lutron: Lumaris tape light

Want an easier way to do tunable white tape light?

Advertisement

Related Articles

Advertisement