I'm writing this post in front of a campfire in grand rapids michigan and I can't help but relate the contractual methods of project delivery discussed at our last session to the connectedness of our group campfire conversation, about best ideas to plan for the following day. We didn't go as far as all holding hands and singing Kumbaya but that's the analogy that comes to mind.
Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) tries to take the campfire to the business room, bringing together all parties at the same table mapping out the way to accomplish project goals from conceptual design to bricks and mortar, resolving problems as a group along the way. For me it is hard to believe it works, as I envision the collective problem solving akin to a bar brawl, but the method is proven.
One facet of the method that interests me, is the constant connection the Architect has with all segments of the project, and specifically how this method redefines the role of construction administration.
I think one of best ways to become a great Architect is to understand how buildings are put together, and to physically watch how the lines we draw become built form. When the interface with Developers, GC's, Subcontractors, and Fabricators occurs over a much longer overall period of time (though a shortened total project schedule), this gives the Architect more exposure to direct practical information from the people who build our ideas, and by default accelerates our growth more rapidly than traditional design-bid-build project delivery methods. All examples we talked about were on a large project scale, but I wonder how small you can go with IPD?
In a typical design process it seems that everyone designs in a bubble. We come together once every couple of weeks to compare notes. We redesign and then point the finger across the table when things fall apart. There seems to be no trust between parties in this environment. Trust is crucial in an IPD environment. So is that trust need to be in place before you embark on an IPD journey? It seems to me that a certain level of trust is needed, but it also seems that the IPD process fosters trust. It has been my experience that when you ask someone their opinion and show that you truly value that opinion a level of trust is created. IPD is essentially that. You are bringing more players in to the process at the beginning. This illustrates to them that in order for the project to be successful their input and expertise is crucial. Not only does IPD create far more efficient project processes, it also seems to create better relationships among those involved.
Aaron Buirley, AIA, LEED AP
SHP Leading Design
Waste. Is it necessary? Perhaps some waste can’t be avoided, but do architects consider waste when designing buildings? Most building products are based on their manufacturing limits and the rest on standard building modules of 2, 4, or 8. And while this is common knowledge, we too often see architectural expression take first priority and economics & environmental impacts slide down the list. I believe that architects have the responsibility to understand how materials are made, shipped and installed… and assembled on site, so that we can make the most responsible decisions throughout design & construction. Zero waste facilities exist all over the U.S. from Toyota to General Motors and even here in town with P&G. With 40% of our landfill full of building debris, I believe we should be making the effort to push our building projects to zero waste – from manufacturing through the time the owner walks through the door. Cincinnati only needs one Mt. Rumpke.
Andrew Plogsted, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Changing the Paradigm
In residential architecture, there are far too many new homes that are built and designed today the same way they were 20 years ago. The architect has the responsibility to not only educate their clients and contractors but also to inspire them to start build more sustainably. We (architects) have the most control over how a building is put together and therefore are in a position to make the biggest impact.
Ryan Duebber, AIA NCARB LEED AP
Ryan Duebber Architect, LLC
Sustainability is great – there is no doubt that it is a growing demand from a more educated. What is an architect’s appropriate response? Is it to research which carpet has the highest recycled content this month? Is it to be the guy who carries the new specs over to the engineer? Is it to promote how efficient the ERV that someone else specified is? Is it to keep track of how where the cardboard packaging of light fixtures gets recycled? Architects need to be very careful of how we create our role in sustainability, lest we be relegated to an even lower rung on the ladder of the “green decorator.”
The 2030 Challenge is more of an opportunity than it is a challenge. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, by the year 2035, about three-quarters of the building stock will be either new or renovated. Herein lies the great opportunity of the 2030 Challenge. As architects, we have the unique ability to make a major positive affect on global climate change and overall energy efficiency. As members of the AIA, who were one of the first to adopt the 2030 Challenge back in 2006, we have a responsibility to follow the percentage reductions identified. There is no time to deliberate about why… or what will this mean to me…. we know we can make a positive difference, the AIA is behind it, and quite frankly its not that hard to achieve. We need to take advantage of this unique opportunity to lead. Recall the intro from the popular late 70’s TV show “Six Million Dollar Man”… “we can rebuild him”… “we have the technology”… “we can make him better than he was”… all holds true for the built environment around us to which we hold so many of the cards.
The legacy of a building can be defined and successfully argued for in many different ways. The initial concept is important. The design process is important. The execution is important. But much of what building’s legacy ends up being could simply be defined as the experiences and stories that are told by the users and visitors. Each individual that walks through any piece of architecture, globally know or not, will without a doubt perceive and feel something different and will then in turn go on to tell the story of their experience. There is not right or wrong here. And even if not what the architect intended, these stories over time help to shape the final (and longest) chapter of building’s legacy.