Integrated Project Delivery for architects

Integrated Project Delivery – Explained for Architects

Integrated project delivery is one of the project delivery methods we’ve covered previously. IPD deserves a separate blog post because it’s one of the most modern and versatile methods widely adopted worldwide. 

Traditionally, Design-Bid-Build and Construction management at risk (CMAR) has been the most popular project delivery method. However, IPD was created in the 1990s to address modern challenges of construction and architecture.

Several key features of IPD need to be present in the project. First and foremost, they are:

  • A multi-party contract with a single amount, including contingency, at least three main parties (owner, architect, primary builder), and a set of determined profits and risks for all parties (based on whether the project will be delivered under or over budget).
  • Lean workflow and project management
  • A collaborative culture is a core value.

IPD was developed to maximize the talents of all participants and improve results in all project phases – from design to construction.

Saving time and reducing waste is also one of the goals of IPD adoption. More and more architecture projects nowadays are almost entirely driven by IPD.

IPD Difference from other project delivery methods

The main difference between IPD and other project delivery methods is conceptual or philosophical. In IPD, all parties are equally bound by their commitment and agreement to deliver the project. In that sense, the parties act not as clients and contractors but as partners sharing risk and reward.

This is reflected in the contract – e.g. in the Design-Build model; the owner develops a contract with the design-build contractor. In IPD, on the other hand, at least three parties sign the contract – the stakeholders of the owner, architect, and general contractor.

There is no vertical flow or silos; rather, horizontal ones where the owner, the architect, and the contractor work together as a team.

Tools for integrated project delivery

Since IPD is heavily based on collaboration, all kinds of collaborative, communication and project management tools are a must.

You will need messengers, an easy document management module, change management software, and preferably risk management & cost control tools.

PlanMan is a project management tool for architects designed to work well within the integrated project delivery method. We have the co-consultants module that lets you add all kinds of stakeholders, share project documents directly with them and give them the necessary permissions. You can have unlimited stakeholders to log in and use the platform remotely from an iPad or any other device.

Kanban methodology can also play an essential role in IPD since it adapts well to lean & agile processes. In an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) context, Kanban can coordinate communication among the various teams and stakeholders involved in a project. 

This helps maintain visibility around each team’s tasks and progress and ensures that tasks are completed in the proper order and on time. Kanban can also provide a real-time view of the project’s status and scheduling, helping identify potential problems and possible next steps.

The advantages of IPD

IPD has many pros that have been the reason for the growing model adoption. Here’s a list of the main IPD pros:

Cost efficiency

IPD facilitates better communication between the stakeholders, which lets them stay on the same page about all costs and optimize them

Better involvement of all parties

When all stakeholders share potential risks, every party is more cautious with decisions that can harm the whole project, and as a result, the quality of the project implementation grows.

Increased control

When all project stakeholders are on board with a project from the outset, they are more likely to exercise control over product quality and production costs

Reduced risk

You reduce the project-wide risk amount by sharing risk between all parties.

Less waste and idle time

Projects built along the IPD methodology are often finished before the original estimates. That happens because idle time and waste of resources get reduced.

The cons of IPD

Naturally, there are some disadvantages and challenges connected with IPD. Most of them are easily overcome when all stakeholders get used to the new system and establish a culture of collaboration and communication.

Cost Uncertainties

When a company is asked to be part of an IPD project, there is uncertainty about the project cost due to a lack of historical data. This makes it difficult to estimate the project’s cost before it is undertaken accurately.

Responsibility issues

It is often hard to pinpoint where responsibility lies. This can lead to confusion and disputes over who is responsible for fixing any problems.


Open communication and collaboration don’t mean there are no tensions – quite the opposite, all stakeholders need a certain degree of maturity and communication skills to come to common solutions.

IPD Best practices

There are some tricks you need to keep in mind if you want your IPD project to be as smooth as possible.

First and foremost, since all parties share risks and rewards in IPD, you need to establish more precise guidelines and expectations at the very start. Agree on the rules of the process, communication channels, and deadlines.

Encourage a culture of collaboration. Some of the stakeholders may not be used to non-vertical interaction.

Keep detailed records of project stages, deliverables, and outcomes. Make sure you use convenient and modern tools for project and task management.

Try PlanMan for free or give us a call if you have custom project management needs!