When it comes to designing and building a healthcare facility project, the architect, contractor, and owner most often share the same end goals: to complete the job on time, within budget, and in conformance to the plans and specifications.

So if the project team members’ goals start out the same, why don’t the results always turn out that way?

While the answer can vary widely from project to project, the bottom line is this: Project participants, who may include literally hundreds of individuals (including superintendents, foreman, trades persons, and the like) from dozens of companies on a “typical” midsize project, usually don’t all have equal input to accomplish those project goals.

Trust among team members may be difficult to establish, and individual needs and priorities may trump the collective good of the project. To achieve the “end game,” everyone needs to be on the same page and work together. It sounds simple, but clearly that is easier said than done.

Enter IPD—Integrated Project Delivery.

IPD brings together the owner, architect, and contractor, and often key trade subcontractors, in a collaborative environment to achieve the greater good of the project, to share risks and rewards, and to ultimately ensure the project is built on time, within budget, and to the highest quality. If it’s not—well, everyone pays the price through a reduced shared profit pool, one hallmark of an IPD contract.

It’s a great idea that has gained a lot of momentum in recent years, and currently there are several formalized IPD agreements that can be used to contractually link key parties on a project. In this environment, decisions are made quickly based on what brings the most value and overall benefit. Individual egos stay on the sidelines, and the focus is on moving the project forward to achieve the best possible results.

But what if, for some reason, there is no IPD agreement in place? This could be for many reasons: The owner is comfortable with a more traditional approach; legal counsel may advise against pursuing the agreement; nobody has the time or effort to customize the IPD agreement for the project; and so on.

The lack of a formalized IPD agreement doesn’t mean the team can’t create the same plan or procedures as an IPD contract. It takes a little more work, but the results can still pay big dividends. Start with getting the core team in a room and inspire them—define the big picture project mission statement, the core values you will operate under, and some metrics to measure whether or not the team is succeeding.

Get these basics in place and then get the major trades involved and ask for their input. Make everyone a part of the team, and voila—you’ve got a successful project!

But be advised: This type of teambuilding requires a commitment from the top—the people that sign the contracts, and the people required to carry them out. If you give the effort, you will achieve a high-performing team, and isn’t that what IPD is all about?

It all starts with trust, and taking the time to talk about the project mission, goals, and core values to help build it. Add in regular meetings to update the metrics, adjust procedure, and improve outcomes, and you develop a team atmosphere that removes fear of disagreement and a lack of commitment. Suddenly you accept the responsibility to ensure high standards, and the project team achieves great results.

Gerry DeWulf is a project executive for DPR Construction, a forward-thinking national general contractor and construction manager that specializes in technically complex and sustainable projects for the healthcare, advanced technology, life sciences, higher education and corporate office markets. With 41 years of construction management and general contracting experience, DeWulf has extensive skill in estimating, value engineering and project supervision. As one of DPR’s healthcare specialists, DeWulf has played an instrumental role in many of DPR’s recent healthcare projects including Banner Health’s Banner Maricopa Health Center in Maricopa, Ariz., Palomar Pomerado Health Foundation’s Palomar Medical Center West in Escondido, Calif., and two new Hybrid ORs for the University of Arizona Health Network.

For more information about DPR Construction, visit www.dpr.com. Gerry DeWulf can be contacted at gerryd@dpr.com.