Offsite Construction: Benefits of Integrated Project Delivery

The recent increase in the use of offsite construction and other modern methods of construction, or MMC, technologies across Ireland and the UK is being driven by a number of factors, including: Covid-19, Brexit, labour shortages, and of course, the urgent need for a host of new development from residential and healthcare, to education, logistics and more. According to an article recently-published on Facilities Net, the need for speed, cost, and better quality control on new building projects is increasingly making integrated project delivery – or IPD – a better option than traditional design and construction. You can read the article in full here: https://www.facilitiesnet.com/designconstruction/article/7-Benefits-of-Integrated-Project-Delivery–19369

What is Integrated Project Delivery, or IPD?

First, let us just clarify, like a lot of new industry jargon and acronyms, IPD as an approach has been used for at least two decades, as advocates of Lean Construction will be well aware. IPD at its core  refers to an approach that integrates people, systems and business structures into a single process of collaboration, designed to harness the collective talents and insights of everyone involved, in order to increase value, increase efficiencies and reduce waste across design, fabrication and construction phases.  Done well, the IPD approach also speeds up project delivery and ensures greater cost certainty. 

Benefits of IPD include: 

  1. Earlier and greater alignment 

An initial  project chartering phase, prior to design, is essential to ensure stakeholder alignment on scope, budget and schedule and helps to avoid late-stage value engineering, extensive design changes, significant cost overruns, and late delivery. 

1. Consistent focus on value

As mentioned above, IPD has lean project delivery principles at its core. This ensures a consistent, and team-wide, focus on maximising value and eliminating waste. This also helps to keep budget and schedule goals on track. When challenges arise, all stakeholders weigh in to identify a solution.

2. Early involvement of trade partners

“The most significant difference between IPD projects and typical industry delivery models is the early engagement of trade partners. Trade partners are typically selected on the best value arrangement that assesses the firm’s experience with lean construction practices, design-assist capability, safety performance, rates and markups, and willingness to engage in collaborative contracting methods. For these projects, engineers focus on higher-level activities and oversee trade partners that handle some of the modelling activities, i.e., routing ductwork and piping in the BIM Models. This eliminates the associated waste that often happens when investing time and effort in developing a separate model. It also significantly accelerates schedules by providing fabrication level drawings much earlier in the project life cycle. Additionally, early involvement of trade partners allows the project to access the intellectual capital that resides in trade partners. Most importantly, the project can attract top-tier firms rather than settle for the firm with the lowest price.”

3. Skilled labour as a strategic advantage

The construction globally is facing unprecedented labour shortages across all sectors, professions and particularly trades. In Ireland, this has been exacerbated by the pandemic. 

As the above article rightly states:  “It’s an employee’s market right now, and having skilled, well-paid, and well-cared-for staff on projects is the ultimate advantage”. 

The employee experience through offsite manufacturing facilities and other MMC setups is very different to that of a traditional construction site, with changeable commutes and unpredictable outdoor conditions. 

4. Shared risk and reward 

Construction is about risk management. The non-IPD involves each party maneuvering to minimise risk and, generally, this is achieved by transferring it to other parties. This type of positioning is not helpful for project delivery. The IPD approach is to collaboratively assess ways to mitigate project risks for all involved so that when challenges arise, they are tackled collaboratively. Again, collaboration pre-design phase is the best way to avoid such issues altogether.

5. Offsite fabrication

As articulated in the Facilities Net article above, “one of the critical factors learned from using the IPD model is the value of moving work offsite. Offsite fabrication has significant advantages in productivity, safety, and quality. It also allows for more activities to be performed in parallel, which provides for substantial schedule compression….”. This allows for interior works to be ongoing, while the core and shell are being constructed, thereby reducing fit-out times and speeding project completion. 

About Horizon Offsite

Horizon Offsite Ltd is one of Europe’s leading players in Offsite Construction and Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), providing a fully accredited structural light gauge steel system to the residential, industrial, commercial, healthcare and educational sectors. Contact the Horizon Offsite team at https://horizonoffsite.ie