Integrated project delivery

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Integrated project delivery (IPD), is a collaborative alliance of people, systems, business structures and practices into a process that harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to optimize project results, increase value to the owner, reduce waste, and maximize efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication, and construction.[1][2]

There are eight main sequential phases to the integrated project delivery method:[3]

  • conceptualization phase [expanded programming]
  • criteria design phase [expanded schematic design]
  • detailed design phase [expanded design development]
  • implementation documents phase [construction documents]
  • agency review phase
  • buyout phase
  • construction phase
  • closeout phase
  • facilities management


The construction industry has suffered from a productivity decline since the 1960s[4] while all other non-farm industries have seen large boosts in productivity. The problems in contemporary construction include buildings that are behind schedule and over budget as well as adverse relations among the owner, general contractor, and architect. Using ideas developed by Toyota in their Toyota Production System and computer technology advances,[5] the integrated project delivery method is designed to solve these key construction problems. The new focus in IPD is the final value created for the owner, the finished building. Rather than each participant focusing exclusively on their part of construction without considering the implications on the whole process, the IPD method brings all participants together early with collaborative incentives to maximize value for the owner. This collaborative approach allows informed decision making early in the project where the most value can be created. The close collaboration eliminates a great deal of waste in the design, and allows data sharing directly between the design and construction team eliminating a large barrier to increased productivity in construction.[6]

The role of technology in IPD[edit]

The adoption of IPD as a standard for collaborative good practice on construction projects presents its own problems. As most construction projects involve disparate stakeholders, traditional IT solutions are not conducive to collaborative working. Sharing files behind IT firewalls, large email attachment sizes and the ability to view all manner of file types without the native software all make IPD difficult.

The need to overcome collaborative IT challenges has been one of the drivers behind the growth of online construction collaboration technology. Since 2000, a new generation of technology companies evolved using SaaS to facilitate IPD in a smooth and efficient manner.

This collaboration software streamlines the flow of documentation, communications and workflows ensuring everyone is working from 'one version of the truth'. Collaboration software allows users from disparate locations to keep all communications, documents & drawings, forms and data, amongst other types of electronic file, in one place. Version control is assured and users are able to view and mark up files online without the need for native software. The technology also enables project confidence and mitigates risk thanks to inbuilt audit trails.

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