Integrated Project Delivery: A History of Leadership, Advocacy, and Commitment

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During my time in Sacramento as California State Architect, we embarked along with the AIA California Council (AIACC) on an effort to improve state building design and construction through the development of the Excellence in Public Buildings Program. This initiative was not simply an effort focused on improving design. It encompassed the entire arc of the delivery process, as well as maintenance and operations, as well as end user satisfaction, including a focus on sustainability.

What became very clear, very quickly was the fractured nature of the design and construction industry. Information was not shared in a way that reduced effort and improved outcomes. Technology had not penetrated the marketplace in a way that allowed for improved productivity. Statistics show that building construction is the only non-farm industry that has actually decreased in productivity since 1964. Slow to adopt new technology and mired in traditional delivery methods that are often inefficient and can become antagonistic, construction projects too often come in late and over budget. In addition, architects were seen as being incapable of producing workable construction documents, and the nature of the industry added to schedules and costs for owners.

Historically, building projects were a collaborative effort shared by owners, designers, and builders. This system began to change in the early 20th century, when states and private enterprise began to implement “competitive bidding” regulations requiring interested contractors to lump sum bid from “complete” design documents. Insurers convinced design professionals to shed risk by not actively participating in the craft of constructing their buildings. Eventually, trust among the major project stakeholders was eroded, often resulting in litigation over responsibilities and liabilities. Adversarial relationships among the stakeholders have impacted their ability to communicate effectively throughout project delivery. The results are cost and time overruns, dissatisfied owners and users, and billions of dollars of waste within the industry.

What was to be done? In 2002, the AIACC began to explore issues associated with project delivery and determine ways to improve efficiencies and better respond to client and community needs. 2002 AIACC President Carl Meyer, FAIA, convened a task force to encourage discussion within the design and construction industry about the market forces at work that would revolutionize project delivery.

In 2004, the Construction Users Roundtable also responded. This group of significant clients threw down a challenge to the industry that AIACC picked up in a way that leads the movement toward real change. Clients were demanding improvement. By implementing global communication, continuous process improvement, and integrated decision making into their own businesses, they sought to increase productivity and profitability and expected the same of their partners.

The AIACC learned early on that, to be successful, we could not solely be a committee of architects. In order to break down the silos that exist between members of the team and be truly effective advocates for the issue, we had to expand the efforts to include a variety of design and construction professionals, as well as owners and members of the academic community. With subcommittees and programs focused on providing resources in the areas of education, policy, and practice, the AIACC has defined the issue and added significantly to the IPD “vocabulary,” as demonstrated by the following timeline of accomplishments:

May 2006 – AIACC publishes AEC Integration White Paper
August 2006 – AIACC publishes IPD Frequently Asked Questions
August 2006 – AIACC co-sponsors with McGraw-Hill Construction a survey of over 14,000 construction industry participants about IPD issues
May 2007 – AIACC publishes Integrated Project Delivery: A Working Definition
June 2007 – AIACC co-sponsors IPD “Change Conference” with McGraw-Hill Construction and launches the IPD website at
Nov 2007 – AIACC collaborates with National AIA to create IPD: A Guide
June 2008 – AIACC hosts the first “IPD Lessons Learned Symposium”
Aug 2008 – AIACC publishes the Model Progression Specifications
Nov 2009 – AIACC publishes IPD Frequently Asked Questions #2
May 2009 – AIACC publishes IPD: Experiences in Collaboration
Aug 2009 – AIACC co-sponsors the “IPD Seminar Series” with McGraw-Hill and Hanson Bridgett
Jan 2010 – AIACC collaborates with National AIA to create IPD: Case Studies

In addition to this list of items already completed—and hundreds of articles and presentations produced throughout the country—efforts continue with additional case studies, policy standards, regulatory requirements, publications on implementing IPD, and client advocacy efforts. All of which are important components in making a dramatic change in the way our industry constructs our built environment. The AIACC continues a steadfast commitment to this issue.


Stephan Castellanos

Stephan Castellanos, FAIA, is Chief Operating Officer of Derivi Castellanos Architects Inc. in Stockton. He served previously as California State Architect and President of the AIA California Council.

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