Early constructability and prefabrication efforts in cold-formed steel framing can significantly impact the financial performance and cost control measures of a project as collaboration increases between owner, design professional, contractor, and manufacturer.
What is Integrated Project Delivery?
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) defines Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) as “a project delivery approach that integrates people, systems, business structures, and practices into a process that collaboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to optimize project results, increase value to the owner, reduce waste, and maximize efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication, and construction.” IPD principles can be employed in a variety of contractual arrangements between project teams, and IPD teams may even include members outside of the traditional mix of owner, architect, and contractor.
Integrated projects are differentiated explicitly by near seamless collaboration among the owner, the prime designer, and the prime constructor. This relationship can start as early as pre-design or concept/schematic design and continues until the project is complete.
IPD, as defined in the guide to Integrated Project Delivery issued by the AIA, has two main forms and is recognized as both a delivery methodology as well as a philosophy that can be implemented on any project.
- As a Methodology, IPD fully integrates project teams, capitalizing on expertise and knowledge of an integrated project team to achieve better project outcomes. Integrated Project Delivery is the most effective form of collaboration because all three parties, Owner, Architect, and Constructor, are aligned under one multiparty contract.
- IPD as a Philosophy is often more common and follows principals of a unified project, integrated project team applied to traditional delivery approaches such as Design-Build, Design-Bid-Build, or CM-at-Risk, where the owner is not a part of a multi-party contract.
Traditional Project Delivery Phases
- Pre-Design (Conceptual)
- Schematic Design
- Design Development
- Construction Documents
- Construction Administration
Integrated Project Delivery Phases
- Conceptual Design
- Criteria Design
- Detailed Design
- Implementation Documents
- Agencies & Buyout
What are some of the benefits of utilizing IPD?
Unlike traditional project delivery methods where teams are fragmented and cobbled together as necessary, and risk is transferred as much as possible, IPD strategies leverage early contributions of experts allowing all team members to better realize their highest potential and expand the value they provide throughout the project lifecycle. The first three phases of integrated project delivery are most critical to a project’s success and include Conceptualization, Criteria Design, and Detailed Design. While these phases involve more effort and coordination than the traditional model (Pre-Design, Schematic Design and Design Development), they offer improved project outcomes.
For Owners, clear communication with the project team offers transparency that can help support design goals and constructability concerns while controlling costs and maintaining quality. For Designers, implementing IPD measures provides early support of constructor expertise during the design phase which strengthens budget estimates, informs design decisions, and provides opportunities for off-site fabrication, panelization, and resolution of design-related issues. These synergies improve quality control and financial performance. Contractor participation with the team during the design phase provides a better understanding of design strategies and expectations. IPD offers contractors the ability to anticipate and resolve design-related issues early in the process. When owners, design professionals, and contractors come together, the probability that project objectives are met increases dramatically.
With regards to project schedules, one of the most often realized benefits to IPD is the reduction of construction times by providing efficiencies in material procurement and early ordering of materials. Unlike traditional methods where materials are subject to wide-ranging change orders, value engineering, and extensive planning and changes, contractors can synchronize with the development of the design. IPD reduces the time from design completion to preparing the project site and mobilizing subcontracting teams and trades.
Both structural and interior cold-formed steel framing applications have greatly benefited from IPD by facilitating the ability to work with material suppliers to secure traceability commitments. For example, if projects are seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or Living Building Challenge (LBC) certification, framing manufacturers such as Super Stud Building Products (SSBP) may have to source their raw steel from furnaces that have higher recycled content or coil coaters that do not use hexavalent chromium in their chemical treatment.
A parallel technology that is well suited to IPD is building information modeling (BIM). Delivery methods that incorporate BIM are becoming more commonplace for large-scale projects. Like IPD, BIM helps shift design-decision-making earlier in the design process: since contractors and product manufacturers can have input into the building model: well before any physical materials are ordered or installed. Utilizing BIM and other technologies to build a virtual building in advance of the actual construction significantly reduces the risk of design omissions and construction conflicts. Redefining project phasing using IPD shifts design decision making forward and is enhanced by the integration of early input from constructors: including manufacturers, fabricators, installers, suppliers, and designers.
Detailed Design & Meeting Sustainability Standards
During Detailed Design, or a more comprehensive design development phase in traditional project delivery methods, all important design decisions are finalized. This includes choices that are typically left to be completed in the Construction Documents phase under traditional delivery methods. While the Detailed Design phase requires significantly more effort, the intrinsic benefits include continuous cost feedback using information extracted from the BIM model. All products, building product capabilities, and item quantities are provided by Trade Contractors and suppliers. Suppliers have the ability to coordinate with design professionals and provide input on material coordination, verify costs, scheduling and lead times for specific items.
The Detailed Design phase is especially important if you need material sourced for metal framing members and accessories for LEED ratings and other sustainability rating systems. All steel has 25% minimum recycled content. About 30% of steel which comes from electric arc furnaces has over 95% recycled content. If sustainability goals require higher than 25% recycled content, you can address this need during the Detailed Design phase which will provide the extra lead time for the steel coils used for your project to be made available and tracked.
The Construction Phase & Materials Coordination in IPD
Suppliers coordinate fabrication and delivery of materials, components, and equipment to ensure an efficient stream of work, and building product manufacturers are able to fulfill project material requests more effectively.
The Construction phase in IPD allows the work of the team and the benefits of the integrated process to be achieved. Traditional delivery methods place construction administration as the final stage of design for architects and construction administration professionals. But with IPD, the design and its execution are finalized during the Detailed Design and Implementation Documents phases, greatly reducing the stressors of addressing issues and achieve solutions during construction administration. Construction contract administration becomes more a function of ensuring quality control measures and monitoring cost. The effort put in earlier among the entire project team in the design phases ensures construction under IPD will be much more effective – and economical.
Key Takeaways that will help you effectively introduce IPD on your next project
To summarize, IPD is a delivery method that allows for greater project team involvement and a holistic view of the goal of a project from start to finish, involving the entire project team. Early decision-making, coordination, and collaboration make for a truly better outcome. While not every project may be suitable for IPD, there are certainly opportunities on every project for better communication, stronger relationships among project team members, utilizing technology, and guided decision-making that will support your project goals.
- Utilize BIM and other technologies as much as possible
- Communicate with the entire project team to ensure clear communication and scheduling adherence
- Do not limit the project team to only the design team and owner, but rather the engineering, contracting and product manufacturers and fabricators as early as possible
- Have higher-quality meetings less often that include the full project team
- Reduce costs by eliminating redundant efforts
About Super Stud Building Products
Since 1973, Super Stud Building Products, Inc., with its roots in the New York Tri-State area, has been a proud manufacturer of the building industry’s most diverse offerings of steel framing components and accessories for use in the construction of commercial, institutional and residential structures. With manufacturing plants in Edison, New Jersey and Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Super Stud is a multi-regional steel framing and accessories manufacturer committed to quality products, unmatched service, competitive pricing and timely deliveries across the entire East Coast and beyond. Super Stud plays an active role in the steel framing industry, participating in the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), the Association of Walls and Ceilings International (AWCI), ASTM International and the Steel Framing Alliance (SFA). To learn more, visit buysuperstud.com.