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Why Integrated Project Delivery is Essential in Healthcare Projects

Posted by E-I Engineering on May 23, 2017 3:33:00 PM

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) has altered the way in which the healthcare industry has engaged with new development projects. The collaborative method has replaced the traditional approach of ‘Design. Bid. Build’. IPD has successfully lowered the number of change orders and the time and resources spent altering the original contract scope. With teamwork encouraged, healthcare facilities can benefit from the collective effort and knowledge of each of the project’s teams.

Does IPD hold the key to unlocking further streamlined projects in the healthcare industry?

First off, let’s take a closer look at IPD. 


What is Integrated Project Delivery?

In simple terms, Integrated project delivery involves all project team members working together, including the owner, architect, consultant and contractors. The responsibility, risk and rewards are collectively shared between members, with each division accountable for the cost, schedule and quality of the project. This collaborative approach is a fundamental change from the isolated structure of older methods, where communication was scarce and members failed to strive towards the shared goal of project success. With IPD, each team is motivated to do whatever is needed for the greater good of the development.

Integrated project delivery frequently uses BIM – Building Information Modelling. BIM improves the design and construction of healthcare facilities by using a digital database to combine the work of all project team members into 2D and 3D models. BIM positively impacts communication, encouraging teamwork and reducing conflicts as well as lowering design and construction errors.

There is no single definition or set way to carry out a healthcare development by IPD, but it is typically made up of the following elements:

  1. One joint agreement: The primary project team members, usually the owner, architect/engineer and contractor, all enter a single contract. This approach greatly differs to traditional methods such as ‘Design. Bid. Build’, where each stakeholder enters separate contracts.
  2. Risk and rewards: The primary project team members share the responsibility of the overall outcome of the project, including the overall cost, quality and completion date.
  3. Collaboration: IPD requires all team members to get involved in all aspects of planning, schedules and any other information from the beginning of the project.
  4. Decision making: With IPD, decision making tends to take a team approach, however the owner can reserve the right to the final say.
  5. Disputes and liabilities: IPD greatly reduces the likelihood of disputes, liability and litigation occurring. With this risk decreased, the project can instead focus on achieving a collaborative working environment, in which open communication is encouraged. Rather than using an external method such as arbitration or litigation as a first step to solving a dispute, IPD attempts to resolve the issue internally. 


Here are three benefits of adopting the IPD approach in the healthcare industry:

1. Less conflict 

All project members are compelled to work together to complete an optimum, high-quality project. With each team member aware of their role and focused on their collective values, the project is built with less conflict, lower risks and at a higher quality.


2. Fast-track delivery

In traditional project delivery approaches, each phase of the project was segregated to the team responsible. With IPD however, teams spend a large portion of time on the front end of the project, amalgamating the design and construction stages. With this continuous approach, construction can start before design is finished, reducing change orders, delays and speeding up project completion.

The combined approach required for IPD helps identify problematic areas and rectify them, with little or no interruption to the project.


3. Motivates improvement

The IPD team must work closely to approach any unexpected issues that the project presents. By identifying and analyzing these challenges, team members can collectively propose solutions to prevent the same problems cropping up in the future. By encouraging improvement, each member remains focused on the project goals with emphasis on delivering a high value project to the owner.


IPD: Overcoming Major Healthcare Project Challenges

Arguably, successful project delivery can be a complex task in the healthcare industry due the divergent demands of the facility. Nevertheless, this was intensified by the traditional, disconnected approach of ‘Design. Bid. Build’, which tended to be a slower process, with problems often arising mid-project, requiring change orders to the original scope.


Integrated Project Delivery has alleviated these issues, focusing on a collaborative effort and shared knowledge approach. Utilizing mutual communication and co-operation to streamline project costs, schedules, staff, performance and end facility structures, IPD helps stakeholders produce a higher caliber project.


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