Integrated Project Delivery: It’s Common Sense
IPD is the simple, common sense way to build.
But there’s one method I haven’t written about yet, which is crazy because it’s my favorite. It’s called…drumroll please…
INTEGRATED PROJECT DELIVERY!
Doesn’t that sound fun!?
Most homeowners don’t even know IPD exists but it’s quickly gaining popularity with building industry pros.
*project delivery method= the process (system) by which you get your house (or other structure) built!
Like I explained in “The BEST Way To Build Your House,” there are serious issues with the most common building delivery methods. For your convenience (and because I love you), I’m going to copy/paste them here.
1) Architect and Homeowner design what the client wants but not what they can afford.
2) Architect and Homeowner ask a few Contractors to bid the project.
3) Multiple contractors spend a huge amount of time compiling their bid. They really want the job so they cut their contingencies too thin and plan for the bronze level materials and fixtures when you really wanted silver level. You can’t blame them, they know they’re in competition with other contractors.
4) Construction begins and the change orders are flying. The Contractor didn’t have all the information and now they need more money to build your project properly.
5) The Contractor, Architect, and Homeowner go on the defensive, protecting their position and financial interests.
6) The Homeowner gets disappointed. They have to cut back on some of the coolest aspects of their new home.
Blarg. What a crappy situation.
But fear not! Some smart people have found a better way and holy bajolies, it’s simple. I’m SO on board.
(Again, this is very similar to Collaborative Construction but is slightly better for people on a tight budget.)
The Solution: Integrated Project Delivery!
1. Find a building professional you like. It’s best if it’s one of the major players like the Architect (hey there!) or Contractor. Hold on, let me say that again: find a building professional you LIKE. This is not about who’s the cheapest or most popular. It’s about finding someone you get along with and can trust. Someone who aligns with your priorities. Once you find that person, they’ll open the door to the rest of your team.
2. Build the rest of your team. Ask your first person for referrals and start interviewing. Again, choose people you LIKE. It’s not about being cheapest or most popular. You should feel comfortable that each person on the team understands your vision and goals. You don’t need a fully developed plan to start interviewing. In fact, it’s better to just have a basic outline. The number of team members depends on the location and complexity of your project. An example of a solid team is: Architect/ designer, Contractor/ builder, Structural Engineer, Mechanical Engineer/ Designer, Lighting Designer, and Civil Engineer.
3. Get everyone on the same page. It may be that the team slowly comes together in a piecemeal way. That’s ok. Just make sure that, as people are brought on board, they are introduced to the rest of the team and are clear on the project’s priorities. Including the budget and timeline!
If you have decided not to hire a project manager, you should expect to spend a lot of time fulfilling project management duties.
4. Create a design. Now that you have your team, use them. Architects are cool (duh) but they certainly aren’t experts in everything. Lean on your team to provide feedback through each phase of design. (Schematics, Design Docs, Construction Docs, etc.) They know your budget and your timeline. They know that if this design doesn’t meet your criteria, it’s back to the drawing board. You’ll need your team to figure out everything from construction budget to structural strategy to making sure there’s enough space for ductwork. It’s all important.
5. Build that shiz! The major players have been involved from the beginning. They can help you make informed decisions and can come from a place of trust rather than fear. This results in fewer delays and a greater likelihood of staying on budget and on time. The team members are less likely to place blame on others because communication has been a priority and no one is left in the dark.
Some things to remember:
1. Team members will need to be involved on a regular basis. It’s respectful and fair to pay them for their time. For example, don’t expect the contractor to attend schematic design meetings and provide their expertise for free. Their role is time-consuming. And trust me, if you pay them for their opinion early on, you’ll save money in the long run.
2. Consider contracts. You should have a contract with each team member that lays out responsibilities and expectations.
3. Prioritize communication. Your team is useless unless they’re all informed. Establish a process of communication and put yourself in charge of sticking to it. There is some amazing software created for this purpose but I love a combo of email, phone calls, video chats, and Dropbox. DO NOT text message. Texts get deleted after a while and it becomes impossible to recall conversations or decisions.
And voile! That’s it! Told you it’s simple. :)
If you want to read more. Check out this extensive guide from AIA.