Let’s Promote IPD

Mark L. Johnson / November 2015

Tim Wies, president of T.J. Wies Contracting, Inc., Lake St. Louis, Mo., has seen a lot. But the most innovative thing he has seen in our industry, he says, was a project that occurred eight or nine years ago.
    
“It was a spectacular job,” Weis says. “We put 8 percent [of budgeted expenses] back in the owner’s pocket.”
    
The project used the principles of Integrated Project Delivery.

What Is Integrated Project Delivery?
In IPD, key stakeholders meet during the design phase to share their knowledge and expertise in order to create value.
    
IPD “leverages early contributions of knowledge and expertise,” says the American Institute of Architects. Technology, such as Building Information Modeling, is usually involved. Through technology and information sharing, everyone on the team “better realize their highest potentials while expanding the value they provide throughout the project lifecycle,” AIA says.
    
IPD compensation structures reward early involvement of players, and their compensation is based on the value they contribute. The approach rewards what’s best for the project, and subcontractors seem to come out well, but IPD requires planning, shared risk and mutual trust.
    
“There’s a trust factor the owner especially has to have,” Wies says.
    
The owner, his GC and primary subcontractors all sign up with a willingness to share figures. They agree to abide by project goals and time frames.
    
“We budget the job, design the job and do the value engineering together,” Wies says. “We work out constructability issues, and then use BIM to create a production process that more or less amounts to an assembly line.”
    
Work gets done when it needs to get done. Efficiently.

Just-in-Time Delivery
True IPD leads to cost savings. This happens, at every step along the way, through meetings at which the stakeholders look for alliances and efficiencies. Wies points to a discussion that took place on his IPD job to show how info-sharing works:
    
At the meeting, the sheet metal contractor spoke first. “We think if the drywall guy doesn’t stock all the drywall on the entire floor, we can be more productive in putting up our ductwork,” he said.
    
“What would the savings be?” the GC asked.
    
“Forty thousand dollars in reduced labor costs.”
    
“Our cost to stock it every other day,” Wies said, “would involve an up-charge from our supplier of $10,000.”
    
“So, the net gain would be $30,000,” the GC said.
    
“If we also use just-in-time delivery on our sheet metal and ductwork,” the mechanical contractor said, “we could save another $20,000.”
    
“Will your supplier charge more for that?”
    
“Yes, but only a couple thousands bucks.”
    
“That’s even more savings for the team.”

Case Studies Needed
Indeed, IPD involves collaboration at all levels, and Wies says it works.
    
“When you hard bid a job and everybody is responsible for their own number, there isn’t much collaboration. The different subcontractors do not have a number to work to, so they’re not going to be as open about communication on how to save money.”
    
What can the drywall industry do to facility more IPDs? Maybe there are things to work out in the IPD process, but that doesn’t mean industry couldn’t start staring pushing it as a great way to build structures. But how?
    
“We need to team up and get some case studies out there to show the benefits of IPD,” Wies says. “It left such a mark on my mind on how well a project could run.”
    
Well, we have got a start. We have one IPD case study here with this column. Can we get some more IPD case studies, please?

Mark L. Johnson, an industry marketing consultant, thinks we should promote good things. He tweets at @markjohnsoncomm and connects at linkedin.com/in/markjohnsoncommunications.