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]

There are eight main sequential phases to the integrated project delivery method:[2]

  • 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


The construction industry has suffered from a productivity decline since the 1960s[3][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]

IPD in practice[edit]

Integrated project delivery is a delivery system that seeks to align interests, objectives and practices, even in a single business, through a team-based approach. The primary team members include the architect, key technical consultants as well as a general contractor and key subcontractors. The IPD system is a process where all disciplines in a construction project work as one firm, creating faster delivery times, lower costs, no litigation and a more enjoyable process for the entire team – including the owner.

IPD combines ideas from integrated practice[7] and lean construction to solve several problems in contemporary construction such as low productivity and waste, time overruns, quality issues, and conflicts during construction among the key stakeholders of owner, architect and contractor. The growing use of building information modeling in the construction industry is allowing far greater information collaboration between project participants using IPD and considered an important tool to increasing productivity throughout the construction process.

Unlike the design–build project delivery method which typically places the contractor in the leading role on a building project, IPD represents a return to the "master builder" concept where the entire building team including the owner, architect, general contractor, building engineers, fabricators, and subcontractors work collaboratively throughout the construction process.

Note: Job Order Contracting, JOC is form of integrated project delivery that specifically targets repair, renovation, and minor new construction. It has proven to be capable of delivering over 90% of projects on-time, on-budget, and to the satisfaction of all participants and stakeholders. JOC Research Report.

Note: A significant criticism of IPD is the absence of any mention or effort to integrate project safety into the method. Excluding safety will likely lead to poor safety performance on projects using IPD.

Multi-Party Agreements[edit]

One common way to further the goals of IPD is through a multi-party agreement among key participants. In a multi-party agreement (MPA), the primary project participants execute a single contract specifying their respective roles, rights, obligations, and liabilities. In effect, the multi-party agreement creates a temporary virtual, and in some instances formal, organization to realize a specific project. Because a single agreement is used, each party understands its role in relationship to the other participants. Compensation structures are often open-book, so each party’s interests and contributions are similarly transparent. Multi-party agreements require trust, as compensation is tied to overall project success and individual success depends on the contributions of all team members. For an MPA to be successful, the participants must be committed to working as a team to achieve team goals.[2]

Common forms of multi-party agreements include

  • project alliances, which create a project structure where the owner guaranteed the direct costs of non-owner parties, but payment of profit, overhead and bonus depends on project outcome;
  • a single-purpose entity, which is a temporary, but formal, legal structure created to realize a specific project;
  • and relational contracts, which are similar to Project Alliances in that a virtual organization is created from individual entities, but it differs in its approach to compensation, risk sharing and decision making.

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Integrated Project Delivery – A Working Definition" (PDF). American Institute of Architects California Council May 15, 2007. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
  2. ^ a b "Integrated Project Delivery: A Guide" (PDF). American Institute of Architects 2007 version 1. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
  3. ^ "Why Construction Industry Productivity is Declining". Steven G. Allen, National Bureau of Economic Research no. 1555, Feb., 1985. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  4. ^ "Construction Productivity in Decline" (PDF). PE Magazine. 2014.
  5. ^ "Integrated Project Delivery builds a brave, new BIM world". Building Design+Construction, April 1, 2008. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
  6. ^ "Cost Analysis of Inadequate Interoperability in the U.S. Capital Facilities Industry" (PDF). U.S. Department of Commerce Technology Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Aug., 2004. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
  7. ^ "* Integrated practice in perspective: A new model for the architectural profession". Architectural Record, May, 2007. Retrieved 2008-11-17.

Selected articles on integrated project delivery[edit]

External links[edit]