Initially trademarked by the Boldt Group, the Integrated Lean Project Delivery (ILPD) method strives to eliminate waste in construction. The process begins before design even starts. By introducing constructability efforts and lean tools early on in the project, team members can evaluate historical data and how waste can be mitigated through an integrated and collaborative design effort. This method, coupled with the Integrated Form of Agreement (IFOA), truly introduces a new working environment that many team members have never witnessed. In typical design and construction, the contractual agreements create what is known as “silos.” The owner hires an architectural lead and a general contractor or construction manager. The architect will hire all applicable engineering disciplines and the general contractor or construction manager will hire all of the construction trades. This creates a divide among design, construction, and the owners. In the hopes of a quick answer, requests for information (RFIs), change orders, etc. are constantly “thrown over the wall,” although it typically takes weeks, or even months to get an answer to an RFI or a signed change order. The ILPD method breaks down these silos in an effort to receive immediate responses and coordination, thus increasing productivity and reducing cost.
In an effort to break down these silos, the UHS Henderson Hospital project team created “Cluster Groups” to tackle difficult tasks and ensure a sustainable workflow. These groups are composed of a diverse group of team members reaching across many disciplines and can dissolve or emerge based on the project’s needs.
The real difference in an ILPD method is that the entire project team, across the board, has the same mentality. With the UHS Henderson project, design leads and constructability experts kicked off the project with a goal to design the building and draw it once. Was the team successful in drawing it once? No. There were areas of improvement that could have reduced the time spent physically drawing and coordinating the project, but the team has identified those areas to share with future projects.
Southland, specifically, had a lot of success based on previous design-build experience, which resulted in the design model being not only coordinated, but also constructible. The design engineers redlined drawings and delivered them to the detailing department to create a constructible, coordinated design model. On a typical plan-spec project, the design engineer would deliver the engineering prints to the contractor, who would essentially re-draw the entire design in an effort to make it constructible. The design drawings produced by Southland on the Henderson Hospital were, essentially, shop drawings without the spool tags.
An essential part of the ILPD method is that the owner is part of the team. The owner is present during all facets of the project from conceptual design through construction and commissioning. The other project team members are challenged with increasing profitability, because if the enhanced profit goal is reached and exceeded, the owner now gets to reap the benefits. There may become times where the team grows complacent with where they sit and the owner has to pull out his cattle prod and give the team some motivation to continue down the path of maximizing profitability. This system creates a world of checks and balances where no big decision goes unchallenged or unchecked. Everything is contingent upon trust—without trust, none of these benefits or enhanced profits can be had.
The following diagram from Steven M.R. Covey’s The Speed of Trust,which the management team on the Henderson Hospital project read as a Study Action Team, depicts what is typically seen in a traditional delivery method versus what can be seen through the combination of IFOA and ILPD.
Traditional delivery method contract styles require each performer of work to cover their own bottom line, driving trust down and in turn, reducing speed and increasing cost. However, what the team has witnessed on this project is that trust was built (increased), and in turn, productivities (speed) increased and collaborative efforts reduced the cost across the board.
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