Architecture | Interiors | Construction Management | Landscape Architecture | Land Planning & Development | Historic Preservation

WMF Builds…INSIGHTS #1   |   Decidedly Different

by D. Richard Fox, AIA

Silos of risk in a construction project does not limit risk, so why not embrace it. Integrated Project Delivery delivers VALUE through Design and Construction Collaboration from the start.

Risk aversion is rampant…a recent search on using the term “Risk Management Textbooks” encountered 5,895 choices. Couple that with the litigious nature of the construction industry and you can understand why all parties want to shed risk.

However, in an effort to push risk to other parties involved in a construction project the result was silos of communication and a “not my responsibility” attitude. This practice has been the catalyst for a growth in claims, lengthening of the construction period and probably most importantly, resentment and mistrust of all parties involved; Owners, design professionals, constructors, and subcontractors.

Most of the 1980’s wisdom offered by advisors to Architects (attorneys, accountants, and professional liability insurers) pushed architectural firms to try to contractually pass off the liabilities inherent with construction projects. Of course this did not work, but rather simply created more legal disputes, higher PLI premiums and almost complete loss of control over the end product.

The resulting design-bid-build methodology was not good value for most building owners. The lack of any effective way to manage the project budget during the design phases led to very expensive rebids and cost over-runs. “Value engineering” meant, reducing quality and/or reducing scope.

In addition to budget control, design-bid-build was especially ineffective for


those who were required to bid separate prime contracts and ended up with no one coordinating the project. The in-fighting and cross claims made the process unnecessarily expensive and clearly “not fun.”

This condition is clearly not where we came from as an industry. And there are firms that balked at this approach. The benefits of collaboration are well understood in the industry and can be clearly demonstrated through examples of improved cost estimating, constructability, condensed schedules, reductions in field conflicts and increased value to the owner. After working within the constraints of design-bid-build, the “balkers” decided it was time to
bring more value to their clients by embracing and managing the risks associated with building projects. But there were and still are many naysayers that feel that separation among the parties (Owner, designers and constructors) was the best approach and spread the risk around equitably.

The approach that brings best value to the Owners is to treat the project delivery process, including construction, as a professional service, dealing with all of the steps and all of the costs (including all fees) in a totally open, transparent way. By involving a construction professional as part of the design team right from the very beginning, and openly discussing options as they affect the cost, schedule, and design intent, we are able to guide our clients through a process that is as lean as possible; and one in which decisions are made within the context of the Owner’s goals, aspirations, and priorities.

It is a completely different paradigm and way of thinking about delivering high-quality facilities.

For more information please see “The Guild Master” white paper

For More Information on Integrated Project Delivery Please Contact
Dick Fox  |  814.490.6096  |