Integrated Project Delivery featured

Integrated Project Delivery

Buildings 06 May 2010 | 10.00am

IPD workshop 9 June at Victorian Space Science Education Centre

The University of Melbourne and Arup embarked on an exploration of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) under a Research Collaboration Grant beginning in September 2009. We were interested in the success of IPD in the US construction market and wanted to learn more about this new method of procurement.

IPD ˜ Alliance Projects

We quickly learned that IPD was originally inspired by the Australian Alliance model, which is responsible for 29% of large infrastructure projects in Australia today (Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance 2009). Arup was a part of the first Alliance project in Australia for the development of Wandoo Offshore Oil Platform, a high-risk oil platform off the Northwest shore in 1994. Fifteen years later, in the office where I was conducting embedded research, a team of engineers were finishing an Alliance project for the delivery of the Springvale Road Rail Separation Project, a transportation infrastructure in Melbourne. The diagrams below (from the Dept of Treasury and Finance document) illustrate the distribution of Alliance projects by State and Sector .

Integrated Project Delivery 1

Over the last 12 years, $65 Billion of Alliance Projects have been successfully delivered in Australia (Department of Treasury and Finance 2009). With this in mind, I sat down with the suite of IPD legal documents created by the American Institute of Architects’ California Council and learned that there are some striking similarities. Both models focus on collaborative team behaviours, consensus driven decision making, and a pain-share/gain-share model for sharing risk and reward between project teams.

Both contracting structures view the ‘Project as a Collective Enterprise,’ meaning that the entire team (including builder) is selected at the beginning of the project, and is brought together as an independent company in the business of delivering the building project. Like a small company, there is a Board of Directors, a management team, and a technical staff to carry the project through implementation. A Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) is agreed upon by the integrated team that covers direct overhead and project costs – while profit, contingencies, and insurance are set in an incentive pool to be collected only if the project meets or exceeds the expectations of the owner.

New forms of technology

The difference between these models is evidenced by the era in which they emerged. Alliance contracting was developed in the early 1990′s, when computer-aided design was not an industry standard. Alliance contracts, while flexible, do not mandate the use of technology among project team members. IPD, on the other hand, emerged in 2008 and requires that all team members are capable of developing detailed 3D models in the process of building design. If a firm is not capable of building a 3D model and collaborating with other design teams throughout the building process, they do not meet the minimum qualifications for responding to the owners Request for Qualifications (RFQ).

Integrated Project Delivery 2

This discovery made us realise that a new era of project delivery was emerging. Building Information Modelling (BIM) which was once a fancy add-on to a project, was now becoming a core tool for collaboration. Functionality such as clash detection add significant value, where models from multiple disciplines such as Architecture, Structures, MEP and Civil engineering are integrated to reveal conflicts in building services. One Arup team in San Francisco working on the UCSF Medical Center – Mission Bay said they had clash detection meetings every Friday to work out detailed problems in the building design, and to collaborate as one integrated team.

In addition to team building, this process provides value to the Building Owner. Research conducted by the American Institute of Architects has shown that the cost of making changes in design grows exponentially as the process progresses (indicated in by the blue line below). Intuitively, it is more sensible to perfect a model in the digital world, before a team is on site trying to build it in the real world.

Integrated Project Delivery 3

So what will digital collaboration look like in the future?

For this, we drew inspiration from outside the construction sector. The aerospace industry has been using tools of technology for complex design projects long before BIM. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory created a team of interdisciplinary engineers called Team X that has conducted 2 week feasibility studies for potential aerospace missions since 1990. Team X convenes in a facility near Los Angeles, where engineers representing 22 different disciplines collaborate using linked spreadsheets and common design tools. At the conclusion of a two week study, the team is able to resolve questions regarding technical feasibility. More importantly, a cost estimator from Team X is able to provide budgetary data for the proposed project, which differentiates Team X from other collaborative design programs.

We believe the construction sector could benefit from a similar type of facility. Imagine if a suite of analysis tools were synthesised for rapid conceptualisation and the potential savings (first in bid costs and then on the project) if teams came together in a specialist facility. This is one of the areas we intend to extend our research and test some scenarios.

Our research consisted of a number of case studies comparing technology, contracts and behaviours. Three were IPD projects in the US and two projects in this office. We are currently writing a journal article that will be posted on this blog.


University of Melbourne
Peter Raisbeck & Ramsay Millie

Peter Bowtell & Andrew Maher

  • QS Olanipekun Ayokunle

    Hi, please has any project been completed in Australia using IPD?