Moving both parties to the same side of the table, it’s the long-awaited answer to D-B project delivery problems.

I’ve been involved in the design-build (D-B) of building infrastructure for more then 20 years and have had the opportunity to be part of numerous D-B teams, including one quite challenging project, Pentagon Wedges 2 through 5. When done correctly, D-B provides the following benefits:
  •  A single-team solution to an owner’s building program
  •  Project ownership by the team (no fingerpointing)
  •  Creative solutions based on input and experience from each team members
  •  A building program that can be delivered within the program’s budget
  •  No changeorders for the owner
  •  The results are responsible and sustainable.
Unfortunately, D-B has never achieved the success predicted back in the 1980s, probably because there needed to be trust between the building program owner and the D-B team, and that trust has always been a real challenge for the owner. Owners need multiple prices on almost everything because they don’t trust that first price they receive. As a result, they struggle with accepting one D-B team’s proposal.

Sometimes the problem can be resolved via an owner representative who facilitates the process. Although the owner is more than likely to be skeptical, many so-called D-B firms have given the project delivery process a bad name for a wide range of reasons that defy the intent of D-B. This behavior is the cornerstone of why owners don’t trust the project scope and cost estimate.

IPD To The Rescue

Fortunately, this is all changing with the introduction of the integrated project delivery (IPD) process. It takes the owner, sitting across the table from the single-source solution firm, and moves the two together on the same side of the table. Instead of the owner producing a building program and identifying a project soft-cost/hard-cost budget, followed by a designer interpreting the owner’s project requirements, and the builder putting a construction cost together, the IPD team (owner, designer, and builder) work together to draft the building program and program cost. They agree to share the risk and not to sue each other in the process, and “agreement via consensus” is the rule.

With this project delivery method set to take hold in 2009, I believe the process is going to need an IPD Facilitator to navigate the owner, designer, and builder through uncharted waters.

Not to change the subject, but there has been a big push in recent years to establish certification programs for various specialty skills, such as commissioning and health care HVAC design. While I’m not an advocate of certified commissioning professional status because there are at least five certification programs and yet there are no industry standards for commissioning, I do think a “Certified IPD Facilitator” is needed to navigate the broad range of tasks and activities associated with the IPD process. Without the IPD Facilitator, who will be leader, captain, and/or chairman of the board for an IPD project? Before the job even gets started, I can envision the designer and the builder both positioning themselves to be facilitator.

So in 2009, I’m thinking about developing an IPD Facilitator Certification program with the first certified IPD Facilitator being, well, me. Heck, to run the program you need to be certified, right? My goal is to focus on infrastructure upgrades, chiller and boiler plant expansion, and energy retrofits. Based on lessons learned, we can move on to building construction projects.

To get my certification programming in place, I have come up with 15 important categories requiring IFP Facilitator proficiency. Here is my certification program outline:
  •  Contracts
  •  Communication
  •  Goal setting
  •  Quality control process
  •  Writing owner’s project requirements (OPR)
  •  Writing basis of design documents (BofD)
  •  Risk management
  •  Scheduling (project and occupants)
  •  Smart/sustainable software
  •  Asset management
  •  Document management
  •  LEED®
  •  BIM design-construct-operate-maintain CAD documents
  •  Estimating (hard costs and soft costs)
  •  Commissioning
I’m really excited about this long-overdue building program method that joins the owner with all the other equally skilled professional who come together to fulfill a IPD project as a team - sharing experience, skills, risks, and rewards as a true single-source solution, working toward “One Project – One Goal – One Result.” ES

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