Traditionally, the construction industry employed a design-bid-build formula for projects; but we're seeing an increasingly collaborative project delivery approach take hold of the construction world.
To get the most out of a construction operation, collaboration between different teams and departments – both onsite and off – is essential. Communication is rapidly improving between architects, contractors, procurement teams, and designers. On construction jobs, various companies often collaborate on a project. As work for multifaceted construction jobs is increasingly includes multiple companies, a single job may have four distinct organizations working on architecture, engineering, building services consulting, and building contracting. To complicate matters further, these four companies may also subcontract work out to other agencies, making communication not only more difficult, but also more imperative.
One way that collaboration during construction runs seamlessly is with the use of Integrated Project Delivery. Integrated Project Delivery, or IPD, is the process of the “collective harnessing” of each project member’s abilities. The use of IPD facilitates a smoother flow of communication during a highly collaborative construction operation.
A crucial innovation for collaborative construction work is Building Information Modeling, or BIM. Building Information Modeling allows any person or group that joins a construction project to see everything that has occurred thus far in the job, giving an eagle-eyed view of the whole operation. The big picture vision of a construction job is often one of the first casualties of collaborative methods of construction work. With BIM, companies save time, money, and resources. The importance of BIM cannot be overstated: the U.S. government requires all public sector buildings to be built with the capability to use it.
One of the reasons that communication is often stalled during collaborative construction jobs is that companies worry about weakening themselves by working too closely with other companies, some of which may be rivals or competitors.
Luckily, the popular design-build construction model is leading the charge toward a more collaborative construction industry. The design-build model involves architects working simultaneously with contractors to come up with a plan and a price that works for a project owner. This differs from the more traditional model wherein architects were hired by owners to write up a set of plans and project specifications, and owners then found contractors to offer rates for the job. With the rise of the design-build model, the entire process is more collaborative from the inception of the job. With innovations like Integrated Project Delivery and Building Information Modeling, these new developments in construction can be implemented seamlessly.