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IPD Vs. Lump Sum From The New Kid On The Block

As a co-op student and having very little experience in the construction management world the concept of IPD was extremely hard to comprehend. With no knowledge of the basic contracts used in construction it seemed like no one would ever be able to explain what IPD actually meant. I kept hearing the words “teamwork” and “collaboration” being used and then after seeing the PIT meetings in action the mud from the water started to clear. IPD to me was like a team of individuals all coming together to form a super team.

My first stint with a construction job was last summer where I was a project coordinator for the government on a lump sum job. As a coordinator I served as a representative for the owner to ensure that the owner got what they wanted. Unfortunately, in lump sum jobs, I learned quickly that the owner and contractor can often have a difference of opinions which can lead to big arguments. Not only did the owner and contractor not see eye to eye, consultants often came to site and complained about everything they could see which made all parties involved at odds. It seemed like no matter what happened on site one side was always unhappy and feeling cheated.

Now after seeing the IPD process I am amazed at how the owner, contractor and consultants can work together in harmony with all parties working towards a common goal. In the lump sum process I see three individual parties all trying to achieve different goals that set the direction of the project off course. In weekly site meetings I observe all parties conversing and thinking critically together to overcome problems that come up on the projects where as in my last job there were often big arguments, raised voices and high tension in weekly meetings.

When all parties are correctly aligned and “playing the same movie in their head” jobs will likely be a success. With the IPD process the chances that everyone sees the same end goal is much higher than in a typical job. In sports I believe that a team of players working towards a common goal is much stronger than a team of individuals working for themselves, the same applies for construction.

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