Beyond the Build

Customer Relationships

BIM, IPD and Project Efficiency Lessons Learned

We are about to start a project that has been in the pre-construction stages for two years. We’ve used of a couple of relatively new tools during this planning period: BIM (building information modeling) and IPD (integrated project delivery). It seems both initiatives are slowly working their way into real estate, design, and construction in one way or another. The idea is reduced waste, less litigation, increased efficiencies and better ROI.

Here’s what we found important, using a proactive approach in the early stages of this job:

Earned Partnerships. The designers, consultants and construction team were selected based upon our individual experience, technical expertise and ability to communicate.

Trust. While a true IPD project is bound by a single contract specifying roles, rights, obligations and liabilities, our situation was different. We felt we were like-minded and had enough of a character and cultural fit to avoid signing a single contract. We had a handshake agreement to solidify what we believed we had already between us.

Teamwork. The owner, designers/consultants and our team to came together early to discuss shared risk, make decisions and place project goals ahead of individual goals. We wanted to work collaboratively to find solutions, not blame and to get a project out of these efforts. It became evident our individual successes were tied to the performance of the other team members.

Involvement. Routine meetings involved as many as 15 different entities in the same room. We all felt comfortable enough to make comments at various milestone stages of the design. We tried to look at the project as a whole, not just from our individual silos.

Transparency. We all tried to be transparent with each other and this helped tremendously. We all felt respected.

BIM. The project was complicated. Without the use of three-dimensional modeling (BIM) we would not have been as effective or efficient. We “flew” around and through the model with ease as the design was developed.

The success? The established budget was maintained–actually slightly less–along with the start date 2 years out from our initial meeting. Communication was the oil that kept all the moving parts headed in the same direction.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.