Release Date: September 27, 2013
For building owners, IPD is A-OK
Perspective - University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering
In America,” says Tom Boldt, “we revel in low price.”
It’s true, particularly in tough economic times. We’re a nation of cost- and value-conscious consumers seeking to get the biggest bang for our buck. However, in many situations, the lowest price doesn’t automatically guarantee a high-quality product or a high level of customer satisfaction.
Take, for example, the commercial construction industry. “Clients will look at a project and say, ‘We thought we had a great contract, engineer, architect, contractor—and we still had problems. Who’s at fault?’” says Boldt, who is chief executive officer of The Boldt Company. “As we look at all these things, we say, ‘How can this be improved?’”
Based in Appleton, Wisconsin, with full-service offices around the country, Boldt is among the largest professional construction services firms in the United States. The company is a national leader in using lean construction practices to deliver innovative, high-value solutions that save clients time and money. And in addition to conventional construction approaches such as design/bid/build, Boldt has added integrated lean project delivery (a term it has trademarked) to its suite of services.
Integrated project delivery, or IPD, is an emerging, collaborative approach through which clients, designers and key contractors unite to plan and construct a project. As partners, they meet regularly, tackle issues immediately, and share equally in risk and reward.
For Boldt, adding lean manufacturing philosophies also helps eliminate redundancy and waste, resulting in projects the company’s clients say exceed their expectations.
The approach sounds like a logical choice—yet it’s a choice that also comes with a culture change and some solid evidence.
That’s where Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Awad Hanna comes in. Drawing on extensive connections in the construction industry, Hanna and his collaborators collected and analyzed data about virtually every IPD project in the nation. In addition to cost of project and time to completion, they also measured factors such as quality, worker safety, ease of communication and customer satisfaction, among others.
Now, Hanna’s database is the largest IPD project database in the world and the study showed IPD outperformed other traditional project delivery approaches. “We get that from our customers, but Dr. Hanna expanded it,” says Boldt.
As a result, he says, his company is better able to help its clients understand the risks—and rewards—of an integrated lean project delivery approach.