Integrated Project Delivery: A Guide

Markku Allison

April 1, 2008

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has introduced Integrated Project Delivery: A Guide (The Guide). Developed jointly with the AIA California Council, The Guide was created to help define the world of integrated project delivery (IPD) as the design and construction industry continues to move toward more effective and collaborative team approaches.

Technological evolution coupled with owners’ ongoing demand for more effective processes that result in better, faster, less costly, and less adversarial construction projects are driving significant and rapid change in the construction industry. Envision a new world where:

  • facilities managers, end users, contractors, and suppliers are all involved at the start of the design process;
  • processes are outcome driven, and decisions are not made solely on a first-cost basis;
  • all communications throughout the process are clear, concise, open, transparent, and trusting;
  • designers fully understand the ramifications of their decisions at the time the decisions are made;
  • risk and reward are value based and appropriately balanced among all team members over the life of a project; and
  • the industry delivers a higher quality and sustainable built environment.

This is the world of IPD, which leverages contributions of knowledge and expertise through early collaboration and utilization of new technologies. This allows all team members to better realize their highest potential while expanding the value they provide throughout the project life cycle.

At the core of an integrated project are collaborative, integrated, and productive teams composed of key project participants. Building upon early contributions of individual expertise, these teams are guided by the following principles:

  • Trust
  • Transparent processes
  • Effective collaboration
  • Open information sharing
  • Team success tied to project success
  • Shared risk and reward
  • Value-based decision making
  • Utilization of full technological capabilities and support

The outcome is the opportunity to design, build, and operate as efficiently as possible (see Figure 1).

The Guide provides information and guidance on principles and techniques of IPD and explains how to use IPD methodologies in designing and constructing projects. A collaborative effort between The AIA National and AIA California Council, The Guide responds to forces and trends at work in the design and construction industry. It may set all who believe there is a better way to deliver projects on a path to transform the status quo of fragmented processes yielding outcomes below expectations to a collaborative, value-based process delivering high-outcome results to the entire building team.

Benefits to architects, engineers, contractors, and other end users will include but not be limited to the following:

  • Better communication on the critical issues facing practice today
  • A better process for working with clients, consultants, and builders
  • Value-based compensation models
  • Appropriate sharing of risk and reward
  • A more relevant profession that exceeds expectations, freeing architects to truly be designers again

Significant cultural change will be required to achieve these outcomes. Insurance, legal, and educational models, as well as basic practice tools and issues, will have to change. The AIA is working closely with owners and contractors to overcome these challenges.

For more information and to download a copy of The Guide or to learn more, please visit

Figure 1