Are You Down With IPD?


Sometimes I get so excited about an idea that I want to share it with anyone who will listen. That’s how I feel about Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), which I noted in a previous column as one of the five trends to watch for 2015. Given the buzz surrounding the topic generated by attorneys, insurance agents, and building owners we work with, it seems IPD is worth closer inspection.

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So what is IPD? Basically it’s a highly efficient project delivery system that many in the construction industry are beginning to adopt to help them streamline complex projects. The idea behind it is to have one central reporting system to integrate input from various parties so that they can collaborate more effectively. They share in both the glory and in the liability. It’s the ultimate team approach.

While we’ve only just begun to use IPD, we’ve already noticed how beneficial it is, particularly as we extend our reach and increasingly work on international projects. IPD helps us maintain constant, up-to-the-minute contact with overseas partners, despite the challenges created by distance and multiple time zones.

IPD makes just as much sense in the United States, where many parties–think a general contractor, electrician, HVAC specialist, structural engineer, architect and interior designer– need to be continually updated in real time.

IPD requires additional work up front to build out the system, but what follows is a much smoother construction and logistical process. The pay-off  is two-fold: the ability to share information seamlessly, and greater control over several moving parts.

At a time when a rise in construction costs have made it more difficult to deliver cost projections, the additional due diligence that comes with IPD provides brokers with more precise figures, which allows them to better advise clients in negotiations and site selection. Effective communication preserves resources and saves dollars. The delivery of the commercial space itself is designed and executed in a smarter way, which can lead to a better use of square footage or a quicker completion schedule. With so many benefits, IPD could become standard protocol before long.

Scott E. Spector, AIA, is a principal at Spector Group, one of New York’s premier architecture and interior design firms and a leader in corporate tenant and building owner-based design. The award-winning company has affiliate offices nationally and internationally. To date, it has completed more than 2,000 projects.