The Benefits and Risks of Integrated Project Delivery

Knowing Integrated Project Delivery Pros and Cons before establishing the project delivery strategy, particularly how a project is developed and constructed, is one of the most important decisions to make before starting a project. The bulk of project delivery systems used today is design-bid-build (DBB) and construction management at-risk (CMAR). Design-build is an alternative to DBB that can successfully complete both horizontal and vertical building projects of any size and complexity.


However, a fourth delivery method known as integrated project delivery has recently taken the market by storm.



What is Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)?

IPD is a project management approach that incorporates people, systems, business structures, and practices into a process that cooperatively utilizes all participants’ strengths and insights. This method was created to improve project outcomes, boost owner value, eliminate waste, and maximize efficiency throughout all phases of design, fabrication, and construction. 


Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)


Due to the construction industry’s deteriorating productivity in the 1990s, numerous groups began focusing on project collaboration. In the early 2000s, the IPD model gained traction as a result of this focus.


IPD is fundamentally a three-party agreement. This is a contract between an owner/project manager, a builder, and a design professional that balances all parties’ business interests. IPD is more than a contract vehicle; it’s a collaborative method of delivery in which team members have mutual trust and inefficiencies are minimized.


Many delivery approaches might result in silos and clumsy handoffs from multiple stakeholders who are more concerned with particular objectives than with the overall project objectives. However, IPD strives to improve collaborations and promote an environment that is focused on common goals.



Integrated Project Delivery Pros and Cons


Pros of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)

While owners may prefer a collaborative team focused on project-level goals over individual ones, not every project requires a full IPD model. This approach is best suited to long-term initiatives with multimillion-dollar budgets that last more than a year. IPD has a proven track record in the healthcare, higher education, manufacturing, and mission-critical and infrastructure project sectors.


Current trends involve institutions thinking of ways to coincide process improvement and staff wellness with capital improvement projects. IPD helps organizations to produce value through new techniques and improvement measures driven by teamwork, with risk and reward sharing for effective execution.


IPD focuses on innovative ways for project teams to operate as a central core with tools to give a consistent paradigm for decision-making and management. IPD can:


  • Reduce waste in project planning
  • Boost the project’s worth
  • Improve job productivity by establishing the proper point of contact for each project assignment
  • Enhance construction techniques
  • Reduce your expenses
  • Improve production methods, which will benefit the client’s bottom line project budget ​
  • Develop new strategies for tackling fieldwork
  • Create novel approaches to achieving objectives


Collaboration is a common topic in IPD initiatives, with an emphasis on a team mindset backed by an agreement. IPD contracts are designed to bring teams together to overcome difficulties.


Although there are ways to succeed in a collaborative delivery model through trials, the IPD contract is designed to keep a team on track. The IPD structure maintains a chain of authority and encourages open communication.


The procedure eliminates waste by following a pattern that funnels decisions and discussions through a predetermined reporting structure of core teams. Barriers between traditional positions and team member expectations can be broken down through core teams. In this delivery approach, various organizations can form strong bonds and aspire to collaborate again to further their collaboration and success.


According to studies, the IPD paradigm produces better project outcomes than other models. IPD provided a “striking uniformity of success for all the teams in this study, independent of project kind, scope, geographic location, or previous experience with IPD,” according to a University of Minnesota School of Architecture IPD case study. 


This highlights the nature of the expectations set by this team method, which is backed up by a contractual model that emphasizes the value provided by the improved team environment.



Cons of Integrated Project Delivery and Challenges of IPD

IPD has a number of advantages, but it also has certain disadvantages. To improve the entire project, this delivery style requires teams to give (and take). This type of ebb and flow can present challenges to teams that will bear the brunt of the effort in order to help the project succeed overall.


Even when they are compelled to delegate routine duties to other team members, it is essential that each team member understands their contributions to the project’s overall success. 


High-functioning teams require strong partners while pursuing innovative ideas. This will necessitate team members being adaptable, knowledgeable, and ready at all times. This procedure will reveal team members’ skills and flaws while also pushing the team forward.


Unfortunately, in terms of staff time, IPD is generally not considered a lean delivery strategy. Ensuring that documentation and information are easily accessible in an open environment can take some extra effort and time from important stakeholders. 


Since open communication reduces change orders, the team is more likely to be actively engaged in the development, dialogue, and documentation than with a traditional delivery process where information is passed back and forth for design and pricing exercises.



What Type of Project is Best Suited for IPD?

IPD specializes in three sorts of projects: repeatable projects, difficult projects, and large projects.

A repeating project, like an assembly line, achieves better results by keeping a stable team with incentives to improve outcomes from project to project. Complex initiatives, regardless of size, require a dedicated team effort focused on effective planning, creativity, and outcomes. 


Large projects are the final project type that has been successful with IPD.  Since large projects require long-term collaboration, solid team relationships and processes are advantageous.


Finally, while IPD will continue to gain traction in the area of complicated projects, applying the complete IPD approach to projects with budgets under $5 million may impose more administrative effort than anticipated. 


For many firms, procurement difficulties alone may be a stumbling hurdle. IPD projects necessitate significant time and effort from team members, particularly in the early phases. Owners should first hire a competent project management team to assist them in determining the best delivery method for their projects.

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