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Hospital Construction Methods Lower Costs, Raise Benefits

Kevin Kraiss, for HealthLeaders Media, March 25, 2011

When implemented effectively, IPD replaces the often adversarial relationship between architects and contractors with an environment of shared risk and reward. When challenges arise, the focus is on finding solutions rather than assigning blame. IPD can also be tailored to the most appropriate delivery method for a given client and project, whether that is design-build, construction management at-risk, or another approach.

The most dramatic differences between IPD and traditional project delivery methods can be found during the early stages of a project. IPD requires much higher levels of team communication and collaboration. The first phases of a conventional project delivery process are pre-design, schematic design, design development and construction document preparation. Historically, much of that work has been completed by the architect with little or no input from the contractor. Conversely, the first phases of IPD are conceptualization, criteria design, and detailed design and implementation documents. The contractor is intimately involved from the start in keeping with IPD’s more holistic and inclusive approach.

During those initial phases, the IPD team works collaboratively to outline what is to be built–including specifications, costs and schedules–and how that will be accomplished. The terms for the subsequent phases of the IPD process–project buyout (subcontracting), agency review (securing governmental approvals and permits), construction and closeout (finalizing the project)–are the same as those used for a traditional project delivery process, but the actual process is again much more collaborative.

When developing new healthcare facilities, the effective implementation of IPD should result in buildings that cost less, are delivered faster and operate more efficiently than those built using traditional project delivery methods.

IPD also better supports objectives pertaining to sustainability–green building–than conventional methods, according to research studies. A 2009 report from the Design-Build Institute of America found that integrated delivery methods are superior in achieving or exceeding Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification goals. Those findings are not surprising. Maximizing sustainability requires integration of construction knowledge early in the design process–a fundamental element of IPD.

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