Dan Probst: IPD Saves Money on Green Construction

Our construction and project management teams are seeing a lot more attention paid lately to the connection between sustainability and one of the biggest trends in the construction business: Integrated Project Delivery. IPD is not specifically about sustainability, but it offers a great way for design-and-construction teams to develop the most sustainable building at the lowest cost.

The traditional development model is mostly sequential. The architect draws up plans, then the engineering firm figures out how to make HVAC work, then contractors follow the plans to construct the building, and eventually the facility manager operates the building.  The result can be missed opportunities or mistakes that add to the project cost and delay delivery. Some problems are avoided when a program manager or project manager oversees the process, but there is still relatively little opportunity for productive discussion among the parties that could lead to innovation.

In an IPD process, the architect, engineer, contractor and often the facility manager work together from the start of the process, ideally with the guidance of a project manager.  It is a collaborative process, with all the parties bringing their respective expertise to the table to discuss materials and construction processes that can affect the development cost, or ongoing operations after completion.

When it’s done right, IPD saves time and cost, and results in a better building, not to mention a greener building. Design-Build Institute of America studied the effectiveness of different methods for delivering  green buildings, and found that IPD methods—including those that involve a construction manager–to be more successful overall than traditional design-bid-build methods at achieving or exceeding anticipated LEED levels.

Our experience confirms that a LEED-compliant building created in an IPD method costs the same or less than an equivalent non-LEED building that follows a traditional method. We’ve also seen a lot of great innovative ideas brought to the table when everyone is talking.