Monday, 2 May 2016


Integrated project delivery (IPD) is a work-flow philosophy that streamlines the delivery of a project. Whilst it can apply to most types of projects, it has proven itself particularly useful at the design stages of a construction project.


The traditional way of designing a house or small building has consisted of an architect and various engineering disciplines

working separately, often one after the other.

At the conclusion of the design stage, the fabricator is engaged and that is often when steel detailing is done.


Whilst this work-flow has obviously worked in the past, the question is, how efficiently?


What often happens is that the engineers often re-cycle drawings supplied by the architect, often introducing small errors or discrepancies. These will inevitable re-surface later at the shop drawing stage, possibly creating a bottle-neck when the project is on a critical path.


Once the detailer is engaged, it will almost always begin by creating a 3D model of the structure. This is effectively the third time the building is being modelled - first by the architect, then by the engineer, and now by the detailer.


IPD on the other hand would have had the architect, the engineer and the detailer collaborating together on the same platform, at much the same time.


In addition to shortening the design phase of the project, it would also result in greatly reduced RFI's as everything is ironed out on the same model.



"Processes like BIM, but also lean construction, Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) ... have been proven to produce better results." Mark Forrest, BuildingPoint Australia (Quote from article in Eye for Detail Issue 30)



Whilst this mode of working has been widely adopted in the UK (for example), here we are seeing a lukewarm and slow adoption.




Firstly, this type of collaboration requires that the various design teams use a 3D modelling software. This class of software has been around for many years now - it is not new or exotic. Most software packages can 'talk' to each other through standardised formats, so compatibility is rarely a real issue.

But it does involve a learning curve, which is often seen as an unjustified expense. Also, there is a popular misconception that drawings will not be as 'pretty' using 3D software, and this is (rightly so) a concern to architects especially.


Secondly, IPD also requires the use of cloud-based collaboration platforms such as Autodesk's A360 (to name but one), especially where the design teams are physically remote to each other.

Many firms are squeamish about storing their files 'on the cloud', and consider it a security or IP issue. Interestingly however, the same firm will happily send sensitive documents via email, and conduct most of its financial transactions online without batting an eyelid.


We'd like to hear your opinion on this topic and encourage you to write in.

Quality shop drawings 

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Applied Steel Design