A construction project going wrong comes as no surprise to anyone. It’s so common for construction projects to suffer from systematic delays and budget overruns that even people who don’t work in this sector know it.
When capital projects – the ones that have the capacity to improve our lives – hit the news as severely delayed or over budget, no one acts surprised. It’s just business as usual.
Why does this happen?
One of the root causes is the lack of collaboration. And behind that lies misaligned incentives.
- The Architect will want to deliver a meaningful, aesthetically pleasing work. Something remarkable. It’s not uncommon for a design to lose one of its fundamental properties: to serve production.
- The Structural Engineer wants to deliver a structurally stable project.
- The Services Engineer wants to ensure there’s no power shortages nor that anyone is uncomfortable.
These teams don’t share the same incentives with each other or the Contractor – who has, unquestionably, the most skin in the game. The Contractor wants to meet their contractual budget and deadline.
Finally, it’s common for all of these teams to be misaligned with the Client, their paying customer. The Client wants speed and quality at the lowest cost. But priorities are many times unclear.
So, most of us working in this industry can relate to this:
How to save a Construction Project from the wrong path?
Making the pie larger
In most projects, each team is trying to take a piece of the pie. Each team is looking at it from their own perspective. This makes the pie inevitably fixed-sized and fixed-valued.
If the pie is a £75m office development, there is no reason why it must have a fixed value (note: value and cost are not the same things).
If everyone benefits from delivering more value with fewer resources, the pie’s size – the £75m office value – increases.
Delivering better through Integrated Project Delivery
Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is a delivery method that shares benefits and losses, rewards and risks. The main project stakeholders (Client, Design teams, Construction companies) collaborate by entering a common agreement.
If everyone meets the objectives, everyone reaps the rewards. And if not, everyone loses. Each stakeholder has a proportional incentive to increase the pie’s size while maintaining individual responsibilities.
To implement such an ambitious framework, transparency and fairness are key. To achieve this, Data Analytics and BIM-driven methodologies are IPD best friends.
The only way of ensuring transparency in such a framework is to have the rules of the game clearly set:
- What are the objectives?
- How is the data being generated and transformed it into relevant information?
- How are we going to track progress against the commonly agreed objectives?
4 steps for a thriving project
- Define the leanest way to extract the most value from BIM methodologies.
- Integrate the project team, and then support and empower them to use the right tools and the right processes.
- Ensure the generated data is clear, accessible, and stakeholder-specific (tailor-made).
- Guarantee the information reaches both decision-makers and the teams delivering the work.
Once information flow is consistent, transparent, and aligned to everyone’s objectives, productivity will increase.