Workflow 2010: Designing Industry


Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation Scott Marble, instructor, with Julie Jira

Theme 4: Integrated Project Delivery and Guest Speaker Phil Bernstein of Autodesk

Does a structure that legally predetermines the boundaries between the team members of a project undermine the most productive relationships that form the basis of collaboration? What are alternative structures for organizing collaboration?

Negotiating an IDP Agreement

Experiences in Collaboration

AIA Document A295 copy

Image Credit: Negotiating an IDP Agreement


Filed under: BIM, Collaboration, Communication, IDP, Industry, Themes/Readings/Discussions, Workflow

20 Responses

  1. Adam Hanau says:

    1) Both articles (“Negotiating an Integrated Project Delivery Agreement” & “Experiences in Collaboration: On the Path to IPD”) that discuss successful ways to implement IPD highlight the importance of placing individual egos aside, and ensuring that all team members are primarily focused on team pride. These articles acknowledge, however, that making such stipulations in contracts isn’t feasible. How can a guarantee be set forth that the correct people will be selected, if each party involved selects its own team? Is it actually plausible to refrain from working with conceited, non-team oriented individuals, if it means rejecting the most talented individuals in the field?

    2) In the article “Negotiating an Integrated Project Delivery Agreement”, a claim is made that negotiating an IDP agreement solely based on past experiences will not work, as each project will unavoidably lead its own distinct path. With this in mind, the A295 document given seems to have an extremely rigid protocol with little flexibility. This does, however, provide a proper balance of power (between Architect, Contractor and Owner) and promotes fairness and responsibility. Is it possible to make the terms of the agreement more fluid, while still maintaining these positive intended results?

    3) “Some IDP agreements prefer to follow traditional risk management approaches, with each party fully responsible for its own failing” (“Negotiating an Integrated Project Delivery Agreement” page 22). This seems completely inconsistent with the ethos of IPD:
    a) Won’t pointing figures, and not agreeing to joint blame, completely undermine the collaborative effort (and hinder creativity)?
    b) If successful collaboration results in group genius, doesn’t group failure by definition come about by shared failure?

    • Adam Hanau says:

      The presence of Phil Bernstein provided a new outlook on the industry, and an authoritative perspective on the Independent Project Delivery model. The slides diagramming the benefits of IPD, made the system itself quite clear. The model is based on the notion that in an ideal arrangement, all parties involved should be working for one boss with a joint goal. This being unrealistic, the next best option is one in which profits are pooled amongst all of the key project participants (placed in the ICL), who are placed in charge of the project as equals. These ICL members are not paid or rewarded for their individual contributions, but are compensated by sharing the money saved by the project’s efficiency. This promotes cooperation, and removes the inefficiencies inherent in the classical model. In an IPD model, the owner becomes more involved, and the industry turns into a network of ideas rather than a hierarchy. There is less challenging, more acting, and no fear of accountability. Inefficient formal processes are dropped, and everyone can stick to what they do best. Phil provided a few examples, such as the worker paid to solely sweep as well as the engineer reviewing floor plans, to demonstrate how a few small changes can make the project that much more efficient.

      So what are some of the issues that are holding back an IPD? One important obstacle to overcome is the fact that the model removes the “hero” in a project, something architects often aspire to become. Additionally, preconceived notions about the interaction among workers in the industry need to be surmounted. An educational push of the importance of collaboration can solve both of these problems, and is crucial to the development of the industry. Another obstacle preventing the spread of the IPD model is the high transaction costs of such a model, especially problematic for smaller companies that can’t pay the high set up costs. This problem would be solved with the spread of IPD, as written contracts to address the model (like the one published by the AIA) become familiar. The spread of the model is also important, as clients will be more inclined to use a model that has had proven success. Finally, consensus upon the definition of an integrated industry is necessary, so that a clear model can be outlined (in addition, no one can claim to use the model, when they clearly do not, like a recent AIA poll indicated). It is especially important to spread this model nowadays, as Architects are facing difficult times, and could use the model to redefine their value proposition.

  2. Luc Wilson says:

    One possible way to keep the legal boundaries between the members of a project from undermining the collaboration is through engagement with the BIM model(s). While the contract “. . . requires the Owner, Architect, and Contractor to meet and delineate the types of software to be used, standards and tolerances required, and the permitted uses for all such digital information,” it doesn’t provide a framework determining this system or specifically relating it to project phases. Perhaps requiring specific types of information and functionality in the BIM model at predetermined stages would facilitate collaboration and productive relationships between contract lines since the only way to produce the model would be to collaborate across legal boundaries. (A BIM with explicit requirements for information and deadlines for completion, would have a complexity that no single team member could successfully manage on their own.) This would also mean that at the end of each phase there exists a clearly defined product; an intelligent model containing program, material, concept, cost, etc. To achieve this collaborative BIM model, the party that controls the follow of information and monitors what (contractually) needs to be in the BIM model at each phase should to be contractually determined. This could be the architect, contractor, owners rep, or a new third discipline.

    Additionally, the three parties involved in the contract are Owner, Architect, and Contractor. Perhaps, the contract needs to be able to include other disciplines in a direct legal engagement based on the requirements for a specific project. For example, if the structural engineer was part of the contract, they would be legally obligated to collaborate with the Contractor and Owner instead of just the architect.

    • lucbwilson says:

      The incentives and outcomes of IPD as sold by Phil sound fantastic. Shared risk and shared reward, result in better, cheaper, and faster design. There are a couple problems with this model. First, legally defining the the shared relationship between contractor and architect, eliminates their independence and the productive tension that results. Firms that already work productively together to produce a better, cheaper, and faster building, don’t need this relationship put in a contract. In fact, putting it in a contract would ruin it. Second, IPD relies on the single BIM model (most likely Revit), unified theory that is software specific and excludes the flexible and software agnostic approach that the most innovative firms practice. I think if we can to codify (or at least define a strategy for), the flexible software agnostic approach, we can set up a system where all parties involved in the building process can interact and collaborate at all times through out the process, achieving intended results of IPD, without the legal straight jacket. (For my speculation on how this might manifest, see my post for Adam Modesitt.

  3. awgerber says:

    IDP seems like a structure that doesn’t rely on BIM technology necessarily, more of an organizational structure for project decision making and project organization. IDP could operate at a very lo-tech level as long as everybody uses the same documentation methods and information is well codified and organized.

    While IDP defines the legal structure of the participants and incentivizes decision making with project goals in mind, it leaves the key players free to determine the way in which specific collaborative acts are structured. In this way, I suspect that IDP may allow for the best collaborative processes to emerge. IDP is a new collaborative process and project organization method derived from successful projects and meant to facilitate making design decisions in a more efficient way… I think that it is too early to start asking if the structure is confining collaboration. We should be asking if architects can extract the type of collaborative design decisions that we desire out of this organization.

    I get a sense that the driving force of a successful IDP project is in the incentives. Incentivize the key players such that they make decisions that are “good for the project.” This makes a lot of sense as the current system of incentives prompts a lot of covering you’re a** type behavior.

    Does IDP mean making the depressing decisions earlier? If more emphasis is placed on the early design phases, does that mean that parties for whom the majority of their work is “downstream” (contractors, subs, project managers) will push for conventional/comfortable solutions earlier? Does this help or hurt innovative solutions to design problems?

    In both of the readings, IDP is reliant on a few things that are not well defined and which I suspect will be major obstacles to the successful implementation of this process. Here in, list form I present, hurdles:
    1. negating/ignoring past experience
    2. forming “trusting” relationships
    3. adding more cooks to the design kitchen
    4. suppressing ego

    • adam gerber says:

      I think that IPD has been packaged in too much.
      Collaboration, Incentives, Flat Heirachy, One Big Legal Entity…

      I think the real success of IPD could be in being able to choose certain components as they apply to a job. Incentives to align all party’s goals to project speed and quality make the most sense to me personally. Maybe they can be written into a new or existing contract on traditional jobs. IPD feels like a big jump for most firms. It requires buying into a lot of processes that are unfamiliar to the average firm. In petri-dish situations like the Waltham Office Building for Autodesk, this may be totally reasonable. I think champions of IPD should hold it up as an idealized model for a business structure, but make it easy for people to adopt it piece-meal as it fits into their existing business.

      • adam gerber says:

        accidentally posted the above without editing it. this is slightly more legible:

        I think that IPD has packaged too much into one contract.
        Collaboration, Incentives, Flat Heirachy, One Big Legal Entity…
        I think the real success of IPD could be in choosing certain components as they apply to a job. Incentives to align each firm’s goals make the most sense to me personally. Maybe they can be written into new or existing contracts on traditional jobs. IPD feels like a big jump for most firms. It requires buying into a lot of processes that are unfamiliar to the average firm. In petri-dish situations like the Waltham Office Building for Autodesk, this may be totally reasonable, but ultimately it slows down the widespread adoption of IPD. Champions of IPD should hold it up as an idealized model for a business structure, but make it easy for people to adopt it piece-meal as it fits into their existing business.

  4. Sam Olsen says:

    and a train of thought line of questions.

    How does the IPD encourage collaboration?
    How does the IPD encourage flexibility, or does it just ossify the process?

    How do architects re-structure their own firms in response to IPD? The book mentions that many contractors may have sweetheart deals with their own employees, but I’ve also seen that with architects, how do you work this out?

    How do you measure sucesss aside from Economic Sucess, for instance “maximize creativity”?

    Are the AIA documents just a Harsh Reality we all have to deal with?

    The whole system seems to be predicated on trust and transparency, but you seem to be playing some sort of prisioners dillema type of game unless you have a 3rd party or “escrow” type of character to check out the other parties books.

    Why is there a discrepancy in the IPD manual’s text between the % of At Risk Profit entitled to the Architect (43%) vs that of the Contractor (57%)?

    It seems as though the IPD contract “triangle” attempts to simplify the process down to 3 parties, Where does the independant designer/fabricator enter the legal conversation, in a project such as Atlantic Yards.

    This whole process speaks of the “Just In Time” method of production, the critique of which is a limited number of instances in which this can apply, without it getting too complicated.

    Whatever happened to business being just about the numbers? Design, albiet, is not just about numbers, but it seems rather clear that an IPD contract is very much close to getting in bed with the other parties, if not actually having a one night stand.

    Why is the AIA contract not on the side of archtioects? We need to form the IAI, Institute of Allied Architects, specifically for furthering our own goals!

    Who determines what documents will be required from the BIM model in order to construct the project, above the documents prepared for permits?

    How does IPD deal with competitive bidding? Do you need to partner with a construction manager, and then a contractor beneath him?

    Performance Trumps Process. . . .
    So what the hell does that mean?

  5. Kassandra Scheve says:

    Trust was a topic that came up very often in the Experiences in Collaboration article. Has there been a great trust issue in the past to cause this? Or is it that in helping collaboration become easier it is becoming more necessary that people work in teams that they trust? This seems key to any collaboration, however in the article it seems to be something new that hasn’t been emphasized before.

    How important are contracts to a team and what role do they play? In the Experiences in Collaboration article, it mentions how you need a contract to inspire collaboration by balancing risk and reward. Are contracts the initial way the project is proposed or outlined? Or are they given when the team is awarded the job, which by then aren’t they already working on it? Or does this refer to the entire duration that the team is working?

    In the Experience in Collaboration article the main team is the owner, the architect, and the general contractor. However in the past, while the owner is discussed, we have not discussed their role very much. I understand that the owner hires an architect to get the job done, however are they reluctant to join the collaboration process, do architects not like them being as involved in the process, or do they in fact play a large role that we just haven’t brought up yet?

    • Kassandra Scheve says:

      I think what impressed me most from our discussion is that when utilized, IPD is able to coordinate so well that a job can be completed without complications. When Marty talked about the ceiling design and how using IPD made it so that there were no conflicts during the building process I was able to truly see the value of IPD. Up until now it was an idealized idea that I thought could work but wasn’t sure if it would, however now it is something that can actually work and prove itself to be valuable.

      Another interesting topic was that I never realized how you could put incentives into a contract. I always thought it was how the project was laid out and how the client wanted it done, I didn’t think about how you could put in conditions like if it is done well and under budget, the contractor gets a bonus. This makes a lot of sense and in turn insures quality work in a way I never thought about. It seems like a brilliant insurance policy when it comes to getting the job done well.

      A final note that I thought was interesting was that I never realized contracts go both ways. Whenever we talk about an architect being awarded the contract I assumed that was the only way the contract went. I never thought the architect or contractor was able to give a contract to the client. I feel like this gives more control to the architect and contractor then I thought they had, however it also seems like a good plan because they know what they are capable of therefore will be able to make the best presentation on what they are able to accomplish.

  6. Muchan Park says:

    Earlier collaboration between architects and contractors seems critical to optimize the various issues such as cost of construction and even appropriate design solution. One of powerful principles of IPD is “early involvement of key participants” and “early goal definition”. Even though how to codify or envision clearly the specific behavioral regulations or culture for the early collaboration is still issue, I think this principle is the most critical one that allows the other principle to exist or be intensified.

    In order to promote this earlier collaboration and goal definition, IPD provides a set of mental principles like “mutual respect & trust” or “mutual benefit & reward which is desirable. Also we can recognize that as the effort to integrate the collaboration, IPD recommends “appropriate technology” that seems to imply BIM which is believed to ensure “collaborative innovation and decision making” through “open communication”.

    Now the inherent danger here or the chance to promote architectural industry is the flexibility of “organization & leadership”. BIM is multi-direction-accessible system which means that if you have relatively higher position in terms of leadership or power, you can change the total model under the name of “efficiency”. This is because the authorship is totally diffused in this system and constructors can change BIM as architects can do. This might happen in different way in different contract situations. But this is also huge potential chance to architects to enhance architectural performance beyond aesthetics.

    Finally, the issue here is that even though IDP is great step toward collaboration that conventional model could guarantee, in order to fulfill the ideal goal of IDP we need flexible tactics whenever facing new contract because IDP will expose us to the diffused boundary of work scope where we ourselves define our designing contract and process that is as important as designing building.

  7. Julie says:

    There seems to be an emphasis on picking the right people to work within the IPD contract. In a way, designing the team can be seen as the initial measure of success to the design process itself. The principles outlined in these readings depend on the idea that relationships will be formed, and democratic processes will help make decisions for any issues and concerns.

    The IPD process focuses on motivating all parties involved to give a mutual respect to the project. The formulation of the contract outlines the principles to be followed throughout the collaboration process. Rewards, discouragement of partnerships, group settings of equal trust allow for democratic procedures to maintain agreements.

    The teams generally rely on each other like a mutually symbiotic network. If you change this balance by hybridizing or conglomerating power, you lose foundation of trust that was agreed upon from the start, and the whole basis of the agreement becomes null. Therefore, the legal structure is important in helping the social structure bind together through shared liability.

    Emphasis on face to face interactions allow for a more direct relationship to evolve through personal communication. On-site, co-location helps reinforce the idea of direct relationships being successful at problem solving and executing the projects.

    Technology standards also involve a democratic decision-making process. Rapid-prototyping, performance and visual mock-ups allow for all parties to meet and agree upon the quantitative and qualitative issues of the building. Greater engagement which emphasizes the notion of interpersonal skills in a collaboration, allow for the idea of trust to be maintained throughout a project, and thus for IPD to work successfully.

    I think the IPD relationship can help innovation in the built environment. As architects, we need to think about the language which we use to communicate our desires/ideas however, and ask ourselves if our intent is to communicate or confuse other parties involved. The idea of language – verbal, graphic and legal – needs to be clear but I don’t think all constituent members will understand a common language as a tool for working towards generating something new or innovative. Is this perhaps another value that architect’s can hone to help push the way industry works? Should architect’s creativity stem towards a desire to take a leap to the other side and discuss issues in terms of the other, or should an IPD only look for members who can speak the same language from the onset? Is IPD an opportunity to help the industry work towards models of working together that have already been tested in other industries?

  8. Solar says:

    The IPD is very much about incentives and rewards. The emphasis on Mutual Respect & Trust becomes less relevant when creating Mutual Benefit & Reward. Setting up a structure of reward kind of implies you don’t have to incorporate as much trust so I think there are two different things going on here. Respect and trust stems from how we will be educating each other, our needs, goals, knowing each other’s skill sets, shared vision, expectations, etc. Any participant that would agree to the IPD contract is already entering the process with a more open mind. Benefit and Reward arises out of how the process is structured. If the IPD is focused on “what’s best for the project,” it must be very clear how each team member will benefit. While I’d love to think all architecture is vision-driven, the majority of the projects affected by this will be profit-driven; so it still seems like that will be the incentive that’s best for the project.

    In our readings, there is more emphasis on the owners now than there has been before. If “IPD requires a sophisticated and capable client,” how are clients hearing about it? How are clients becoming educated?

    When it says that “joint control creates ownership,” how much more control does a contractor have by participating earlier in the process? If shared control/risk/reward is the intention how will flexibility come out of more control? I think control and flexibility are key issues. They almost seem to contradict each other. If the idea is creating a contract that will honor the intersection of all the parties involved, control can’t mean control over the project itself, but control over each member’s goals. If the IPD allows each team member to get the most out of their time/energy/resources, then it will allow for more flexibility overall, since individual needs will be met.

  9. Questions for this week:

    1. The article “Negotiating an Integrated Project Delivery Agreement” notes that “flexibility not specificity” is required of the parties involved in a successful IPD arrangement; however, those of us that have this type of desire and dexterity are usually of a younger generation and have little to do or say in the every day administrative goings-on of an office, especially when it comes to contracts. How can we position ourselves within our future jobs (if they are not our own firms) to take on these more managerial tasks while establishing a more collaborative way of working in our daily projects?

    2. I have to admit: When I saw that the AIA had produced a document spelling out the conditions for Integrated Project Delivery, I got excited. I thought that it if the AIA had embraced it, it must have proven its worth in the industry and begun to address the complexities of this new way of working. I got more and more disappointed as I got into it, however, because the language and structure seemed almost identical to the old “AIA Document A201 – 1997 General Conditions of the Contract for Construction” forms I used to fill out for clients at my old job. The only difference was that the “A295 – 2008” defined what IPD was (albeit, in a very general way) within the “Basic Definitions (1.3).” Using the same logics of the typical Contract for Construction has its flaws. The most damaging flaw, in my mind, with the way the document was structured is that so much contractual weight is placed on the physical drawings. If one of the ideas of IPD and BIM is to coordinate the industry into a (nearly) paperless state, why is the bedrock of the contract still rooted in two-dimensional drawings? Should this not be rooted in the IPD team instead?

    3. I agree that the input of contractors and subcontractors is paramount in the early stages of design; however, cost estimating is something that does take time, and it’s even noted in the “Experiences in Collaboration on the Path to IPD” that, while BIM allows us to do material take-offs in real time, it is not a substitute for an estimator with real-world knowledge of inflation, site-specific difficulties, and other factors that would affect a design iteration’s overall cost. How can IPD maintain design flexibility and quality (without resorting to preemptive value engineering) while addressing the inherent lag time that naturally exists with cost estimation?

    • In discussing the differences between IPD and the traditional method of practice over these past few weeks, I’ve begun to realize how the smaller architectural practices that I’ve been a part of in the past actually lean surprisingly closer to the IPD model than toward the traditional. But this isn’t usually done with any sort of thought or consideration into what this modified workflow actually is. It is usually just a matter of both the designer and the contractor wanting to maintain the highest level of quality for the client. For example, on a townhouse job I worked on a few years ago, I was called upon to help lay out structural steel heights with the contractor because they needed to be accurate, I was the one that knew the most about both the architectural and structural drawings and could identify conflicts in the field, and it would ultimately save time. The collapsing of our two fields in this regard allowed us to ensure accuracy and cut time out of the schedule. Legally, I knew it was outside of my scope; however, pragmatically, it seemed to be the right thing to do for us, for the contractor, and for the client. I think a lot of young designers more and more work in this sort of “ad-hoc” IPD way, but we don’t even think about getting compensated for our extra risk, exposure, and role or that this is completely antithetical to the traditional architect-contractor workflow. If IPD is flexible enough to handle more than just the most theoretically perfect mega-projects, we could see micro versions of this system being widely adopted in the industry just because, nowadays, it seems to make the most logical sense.

  10. Kelly Danz says:

    IPD is defined as a methodology to foster collaboration, improve efficiency and productivity, provide flexibility, as well as being an ideal working process. It seems that Integrated Project Delivery emphasizes placing flexibility, collaboration, the project, and project team above all, which conclusively creates the most efficient and creative environment. This type of alternate project structure seems to create the most productive organized collaboration, rather than limit working boundaries such as other types of working agreements would. By placing the project goals and project team first, this redistributes risk into mutual responsibility, which I think is one of the most effective points of IPD. However, how does this create new roles in the project team? How important is choosing the members of the team? It seems that becoming the key team members may be a much more selective process. Additionally, this equal partaking in the project works well with project successes, but what about when there is a failure?

    The nine principles of IPD, mutual trust and respect, mutual benefit and reward, collaborative innovation and decision making, early involvement of key participants, early goal definition, intensified planning, open communication, appropriate technology, and organization and leadership, clearly outline the important aspects of the method. However many of these principles seem already inherent to the idea of collaboration, I think the principle of appropriate technology is unique and extremely important to the method. With communication and data integration as an important part of IPD, appropriate technology use is key, and also how BIM fits into the method. Through BIM and other web based / collaboration software all other aspects of the IPD method can be most effectively and easily achieved. Are there instances of IPD where BIM is not used? What other technologies would further the effectiveness of the IPD method?

    Since the gains of the IPD method are so great for so many different project situations, I wonder if this method could be transposed to other industries? How could other industries and disciplines also benefit from this strong collaborative environment? Do other industries already have similar models in practice?

    • Kelly Danz says:

      IPD as a model for collaboration, efficiency and productivity, flexibility, as well as a seamless process is sold well by Phil Bernstein. This is a new outlook and workflow in the industry. This model is based on achieving an ideal arrangement where all involved work for one goal and key participants are created to streamline this and eliminate inefficiency. To be able to create better and more successful buildings the process to do so should be better and more successful as well. The idea that one IPD contract binds the owner, architect, and contractor, and this single contract moves involved parties by mandating the sharing of information, risks, and rewards through penalizing a lack of teamwork and rewarding collaboration with incentive compensation. Team members become partners committed to achieving the same high standard of results, and work in an innovative way to do so.

  11. padams20 says:

    1. “Mutual Respect and Trust” – this is the paramount principle of IPD. “Mutual Benefit and Reward” is its teeth.

    2. As liberating as this new legal structure may be, there are still aspects of it that are clunky, at least in some contexts. For instance, when one of the parties is not as financially flexible as the others, say a small design firm in partnership with Arup and Rockwell, undue strain can be put on the smaller firm. They could effectively get crushed or left behind by the long-term financial abilities of partners with large capital reserves, or their inability to co-locate with the contractor.

    3. I think that IPD only works at certain scales, or certain mutual scales. I would like to consider the extremem cases. How small can an IPD partnership be? A home owner, a country architect, a neighborhood contractor? How large? Arup, Gensler, and Trump? Even if the parties are ‘big’, it think the project size matters as well. I think the smaller the project, the less necessary IPD would become.

    4. What if?: What if, instead of, or in supplement to, actually being separate entities who come together for a limited time only under a special legal contract (three silos bunched together), one entity could be more like an IPD process – internally. An equal partnership of an architect, real-estate professional, an engineer, and a contractor, etc. could form the head of a nimble design? firm. This would bring in necessary respect and trust for the issues associated with each field. It would also guarantee the early involvement of key participants and early goal definition. Maybe the axiom is that solely architects running an design firm is not sufficient.

    • padams20 says:

      The pitch for IPD seems picture perfect, but it still needs to prove itself in a high-design, realistic context. Phil’s example was a kind of inbred fairy tale context where everyone was already great friends and the “client” had a more interest than the average client in in making the process work. I think that greater flexibility or at least plasticity for the IPD contracts will be necessary, that is, half breeds and hybrids should be further encouraged to wean the AEC industry away from it’s high-tension legal status quo.

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