Integrated project delivery, or IPD, has earned a place among the most buzz-worthy topics in the industry these days. Some love it, some hate it. But few are using it.

While the early collaboration of team members has become more and more visible on projects, not many are taking the deep-dive into contractually shared risk among partners.

This blog kicks off a series we’ll be running here at HEALTHCARE DESIGN to track the progress of one team that’s taking IPD all the way to build Lawrence + Memorial (L+M) Hospital’s new cancer center in Waterford, Connecticut.

L+M, construction manager Suffolk Construction, and architect TRO Jung|Brannen (TROJB)—as well as the mechanical/plumbing/controls, electrical, and site work contractors—are sharing risk on the project and have also agreed to share with all of us the IPD lessons they learn along the way. 

When I last spoke with the team in mid-September, they were fully engaged in site work, rock processing, and concrete installation. And already the collaboration of team members had been tested.

Because the cancer center was being built on a virgin site, it was unknown quite how much rock would be found below the surface—and it turned out to be about 50% more than anticipated, or thousands of cubic yards.

On a standard design-bid-build project, the issue may have likely been resolved with a quick change order to compensate for the additional expense to clear the rock. However, in this case, the site contractor was among the partners on the project and came to the team with a few solutions to avoid the extra cost. The result was to first find a way to process the material and sell it to the market as well as to use it onsite as stone backfill.

“It was additional work and team effort over weeks of meetings and discussions, and in the end we were able to reuse 100% of the rocks found on the site,” says Joshua DiGloria, senior project manager, Suffolk Construction.

“And they did it without grumbling about it, which from an owner’s perspective, is a very different experience being out on the job site,” says Brenda Bullied, facilities project manager, L+M.

And while contractually obligated to put the project—as well as the owner’s budget— first, the team advises that choosing the right team members to carry out that goal isn’t something to take lightly on an IPD project.

For example, subcontractors are interviewed by the project management team, as well as Suffolk's superintendents and TROJB’s experts, who are all on hand to gauge not only subs’ knowledge of and experience in their trade, but their willingness to take part in the overall process … to dive right in when there’s a suggestion to do a quick mock-up or to give their advice on a certain design decision.

“You have to harness that as early as you can, the problem avoidance. Each sub knows how to build what they know how to build, but how do they all come together?” DiGloria says.

Just one example of this can be found in the team’s selection of a mason. During the interview process, each sub was asked what it would do to reduce what had grown to be a large price tag for brickwork. Each one noted the high cost of the brick specified in the design. The masonry contract was awarded, alternate bricks were explored, and the result was a 6% to 7% savings to the overall budget.

To read more about the project, please see "True Integration: Using IPD at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital." Stay tuned for more on how the L+M project team’s IPD contract influences how the cancer center unfolds and decisions that are made as it progresses toward a projected completion in September 2013.