IPD and Collaboration

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) focuses on a collaborative decision-making process, which means that coordinating documents is a key task in keeping the project moving ahead smoothly. Using IPD, no longer do a small handful of key stakeholders drive all the decisions. Team integration and a high level of coordination govern nearly every aspect of the project - doccumentation. materials, process, knowledge, communication and collaboration - not to mention LEED certification and sustainability

At Rhodes Architecture, this even involves unanimous decision-making among the stakeholders - for church architect projects and church design projects as well as commercial. Therefore, more forethought is essential in terms of how information is shared and exchanged. The result is more satisfying for owners, contractors, and designers because conflict has been minimized, or even eliminated. That means lower costs for everyone, and a better finished product. This process also insures that downstream value for end users also improves dramatically.

Authorship and document ownership need to be established and planned at the very beginning. Designers need to have hard stop dates to allow the other stakeholders to react to new, changing conditions. In an IPD setting, formats, standards, and error checking become more important than ever. 

Design documents for all deliverables should be defined at the outset. In this way, there's no question as to how to proceed as the project moves forward and milestones are reached. This also saves effort in creating closeout documents. Everyone is, quite literally, on the same page. 

Strong definitions also provide more regular communication among working teams, and the key stakeholders. Working this way, we avoid collisions that might otherwise result if the working teams were to proceed without sufficient coordination and scheduling.

While all key stakeholders are involved in making decisions in the project, documentation needs to be assigned to specific team members, as not all the stakeholders will necessarily be equipped with BIM or be literate with it. Authorship of BIM input must be clearly defined, as well as document ownership to prevent collision and ensure accountability across each of the working teams, regardless of their specific roles. 

The nature of document output needs to be defined. That is, it should be clear who gets what documents and in what format, be it with BIM, Autocad, layering, object placement, or title blocks. This kind of coordination is crucial to scheduling and team integration, not to mention permitting and satisfying regulations for all deliverables.

Infrastructure and the coordination of virtual mock-ups must also be defined early on. Estimating, modeling, and scheduling are all tasks that the whole integrated team should be aware of, with key stakeholders making unanimous decisions based on documents that everyone has agreed on.

The distribution of all this information is a task in and of itself for our projects. In fact, some companies choose to hire a third party company to handle information exchange systems. In that event, there needs to be a clearly defined protocol, delineating which files should be active, and which should be archived, and how both should be handled respectively. The buck has to stop somewhere, and document ownership, authorship, and decision making needs to be outlined from the beginning.

Working with all our building documents in this way, we've found that the effort is well worth while. Our projects move ahead smoothly, and with the full cooperation of our partners because systems are in place that need only be implemented. With careful attention to the details manifested in functional documents, project organization almost takes care of itself.

If you have any questions, or if you’d like more information, please contact us today. We can be reached by phone at 206.465.2021, or you can submit to the right and we’ll get right back to you.

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