Integrated Project Delivery: 3 Organizational Tips

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So you’ve decided that an integrated project delivery model is right for you. Now it’s time to choose and organize your team.

The guiding principle of IPD is collaboration, so it’s crucial to choose a team that can work well together. Then, you and your team will need to come up with team-specific and overall goals, as well as set up your game plan for the project.

Tip #1: Choose the Right Team

Generally a joint effort between the owner, designer, and builder, the team selection process is one of the most important steps in a successful IPD project.

When choosing your team members, think about their specific strengths and how much experience they have with the kind of project you’re planning. Ideally, you’ll assemble a group that, together, can foresee any potential problems and help you create a plan that avoids them.

The owner and general contractor are integral to the project team. You’ll also want to include at least some of your subcontractors. Which subs you need on the team will depend on the project and its unique scope and challenges.

However you structure your project team, everyone should be involved in the planning process from the beginning. The earlier you get all teams collaborating, the more successful your project will be.

Tip #2: Establish Accountability

Now that you’ve got your team assembled, you should consider how the decision-making process will go. In IPD, that usually means creating a core group responsible for the overall management of the project.

The important thing here is to decide how that group will make decisions. Do all decisions have to be unanimous? If the core group can’t come to a unanimous decision, which project leaders will be responsible for reviewing and breaking the gridlock? How will disputes be handled?

It’s important that this committee include representatives from the major areas of the project (owner, prime contractor, key trades, etc.), but not be so big that the decision-making process gets mired down.

Tip #3: Set Specific Project Goals

Once you’ve assembled your team and mapped out how decisions will be made, it’s time to start discussing project goals. This helps get everyone on the same page: Who will need to be involved with the project at each stage? Whose expertise will be needed and when?

This is also a great time to set performance metrics — how will you measure success at each stage? Who’s going to be responsible for those successes and who will be accountable for project shortcomings?

You’ll also need to get everyone on the same page when it comes to deciding what information everyone needs from other team members in order to spot and recommend solutions. Structure your team so that everyone knows who they need to communicate with at each stage, and what information they need to be passing along.

This focus on goal-setting helps you get your interests in line with the owner’s, and sets up the collaborative environment that encourages everyone to speak up at each stage of the project — crucial for the build’s overall success.

Getting organized upfront takes time and effort that may seem like a drain. But remember that the payoff is clearer communication, results and accountability for the duration of the project.