Evidence Based Design and the Future of the Profession

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Evidence Based Design and the Future of the Profession

Integrated Project Delivery





In today’s industry, construction projects are vulnerable to adversarial relationships, low rates of productivity, inefficiency and rework, disputes, and lack of innovation, resulting in too many projects that cost too much and/or take too long to build. Also, owners and clientele are not always pleased by the final product. IPD has been executed and structured to address these basic problems in the today’s 21st century building and design processes and methodologies.

All project delivery systems have three basic domains within which they operate including: early project organization, the project’s organization of stakeholders, investors, operators, role players, and the terms binding the project participants. In order for the delivery system to be coherent, the structure in each of these domains must be aligned or in balance. Traditional project delivery systems offer a set of solutions in each of these domains. They have produced results that continue to disappoint owners and frustrate much of the construction industry. Traditional projects involve “siloed” structures with fairly rigid hierarchies. Traditional project organizations result in waste, increased cost and time, and more adversarial relationships. IPD seeks to systematically attack the deficiencies in each of these domains.

The Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is a collaborative project delivery approach that involves a more deliberate form of integration among project participants, including the owner, architect, engineers, contractor, and subcontractors. Although IPD, in concept, is not new, the current approach to formalizing the operating parameters through multi-party agreements, pooled risk and reward structures, and trust-based relations contracting are all new applications to IPD. These new applications, along with many of the tools being used in the industry are changing, not eliminating, the risk profile of projects delivered using IPD.

This study will take a look into the evolving risk profiles of the different types of stakeholders and players within IPD, as well as the intertwining, interrelated roles, responsibilities, and contractual agreements taken on by these players. The traditional project delivery method is without a doubt a thing of the past. Traditional design will not remain a lucrative way to practice the profession of architecture given the increasing necessity for sustainable, innovative design. Therefore, there is an impeding need for the acceptance and standardization of IPD.

The goal of this study is to begin the forward thinking about how we may standardize IPD. The need for a system of categorization may facilitate an action plan that owners, designers, and constructors alike may use in the pre-design/conception phase of a project for create better efficiency in the project, start to finish. This categorization will be based on project type, scale, schedule, complexity, budget/funding, market, etc. The idea behind standardizing IPD is in the effort to begin to phase out the traditional, segregated, delivery process. By analyzing a number of projects that have executed IPD, this study will take a look at the different variables involved in each project, the major roles and responsibilities of each player, problems they faced, the overall success of IPD, and where improvements, or a lack of standardization, could have made the process run more efficiently.


Traditional Design Processes vs. Integrated Project Delivery

The construction industry includes a myriad of building types and building owners. The approach an owner chooses to use will vary because projects are not all the same. Predominately, in the U.S. Public Sector, methods are Design-Bid-Build (DBB) and Construction Manager-Agent (CM-Agent). DBB is considered the traditional method in the construction industry and is used more often than CM-Agent. One downside to using DBB, as expressed by O’Connor is that “Traditional construction contracting improperly presumes a high degree of clairvoyance when allocating risk. More often than not risk flows down the contracting tiers to those least able to bear or control the risk. Not surprisingly, classical contracts combined with traditional delivery methods often produce suboptimal results” (O’Connor 2009).

This statement indicates a need to move from traditional to more integrated delivery methods that will help the participants control risk. Risk is a large factor in the construction industry amongst other variables that can affect a project. Even the amount of waste produced from a jobsite can amount to 30%; and the construction industry has the second worst return on investment behind the airline industry (O’Connor 2009). It has long been recognized that DBB (as the most traditional method of project delivery) has numerous flaws and may not be the most appropriate delivery mechanism for every construction project. Because of this there are now various methods in the construction industry that an owner can choose from, either Construction Manager-Agent, Construction Manager at Risk, Design Build, or Integrated Project Delivery (IPD).

IPD, as the latest delivery method to evolve, is based upon the ideal that collaboration amongst the parties will benefit the project. IPD has proven beneficial to most projects when it comes to reducing the amount of Requests for Information and Change Orders an architect may receive on a project. All these waste time and money, and cut back on the profitability of the owner. With higher education facilities, the owner is the university that typically does not have self-derived funds for its capital projects. The projects are typically funded through public sources (e.g., taxes) or donations. When a university plans to expand or renovate a building on campus, a lot of time goes into developing and securing funding for that project.

  • Common problems, waste, inefficiency, contractual agreements, separation, lack of innovation, design and collaboration, contingency, etc.
  • Types of contracts being used in IPD, agreements, types of connections based on variables (public sector vs. private sector, stakeholders, roles, responsibilities, etc.), problems faced with IPD, how to improve them?

IPD in the Public Sector

CASE STUDY: (1-4) (2-Private/2-Public)


-VARIABLES invloved?

-Who were the major PLAYERS / ROLES?


-Possible IMPROVEMENTS to delivery?



Project Categorization Matrix

  • What does an organization need to do to prepare for IPD based on project type?
  • How do we create a type of categorization for different types of organizations and projects to execute IPD more successfully and efficiently?
  • What issues should be considered in determining an IPD approach?
  • What are the risks and challenges in establishing an IPD model?
  • How can we create standardized IPD delivery models?
  • What are the tools and methodologies currently used to help facilitate successful IPD?


How can this study serve as a lesson plan for IPD and its successful execution in the future as a way of becoming standard practice?


The current form of IPD was began from the general belief that traditional contracting approaches creates barriers to collaboration, transparency, and the trust needed to truly collaborate; hence the rise of the multi-party agreement. The intent of the multi-party agreement is to create a contractual vehicle that removes these barriers to collaboration such as protecting profit, blaming others, hiding contingency and the mentality of every company for itself. There are many IPD proponents in the industry who believe this environment can only be created through the use of a multi-party agreement in which there is a shared risk and reward pool and no traditional financial cost guarantees. However, after researching and analyzing numerous IPD approaches, we have seen projects succeed and fail with and without multi-party agreements.

With this new categorization of project types based on variables within the project, a new standardized method of IPD will facilitate better efficiency throughout a project. More time and effort spent in the planning in the pre-design/conceptualization phase of a project will increase this efficient and lessen these common problems faced with collaboration in IPD.