The term IPD (integrated project delivery) has been thrown around quite a bit as of late in the construction industry, but what exactly is IPD and how can it be incorporated into a construction project? And, chiefly, how are technologies used to enable IPD? These are the top questions circling the topic of IPD today—ones AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) teams are seeking out answers.

Take the recent example of Southern Diversified Technologies, www.sdt-1.com, Brookhaven, Miss., a provider of construction, maintenance, and installation infrastructure services including large-scale fiber optic deployments for carriers. The projects need to be rolled out very quickly, and in order to do so the organization has moved to an IPD method.

The more traditional way of doing business is bidding the work, designing the project, applying for permits, bidding construction, and then building the project—which is a sequential way of doing business.

Through an IPD approach, the entire team collaborates throughout the project. This approach significantly reduces extraneous time in the schedule, resulting in a project being delivered to the owner faster.

Technically, IPD consists of a contract in which key project participants share risks and rewards. While contractual IPD is not necessarily common today, many teams are doing an ‘IPD-like’ project, meaning while the contract requirements might not be there the team members are committed to the collaboration and methods of delivering IPD.

For Southern Diversified Technologies, being able to complete a recent project on an accelerated schedule was vital. The owner was awarded a grant as part of the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) to build a fiber network to connect hundreds of schools and hospitals, but the project needed to be delivered quickly and effectively.

But what role does technology play in an IPD project? Construction technology allows teams to collaborate in such a way that is required for IPD. Enhancements to existing technology and brand new systems are being created to allow the AEC industry to work in such a way that is more collaborative.

For example, last month, Buric Global, www.buric.com, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, a company that provides services for CPM (critical-path method) scheduling, 4D BIM (building information modeling), construction project management, and more, came to market with a Web-based construction project dashboard for information sharing and project-management functionality.

The company says the system builds on the foundation of IPD and 4D BIM, allowing owners to create and control contracts, create integrated teams, exchange information, assign responsibility, and evaluate performance.

The software was developed and tested in a real-world lab on $1.4 billion worth of construction projects. The big value: the facilities were delivered on time, on budget, and with no claims or litigation.

New methods for delivery could help propel construction forward, allowing the industry to finish projects faster and more effectively. While the contractual IPD project hasn’t seen widespread adoption quite yet, the methods and strategies behind an IPD project are becoming more common in construction.